By Jeff Andrew Lule and John Ssemakula
AFTER its plans to redevelop Kasokoso land in Wakiso District were temporarily halted by Parliament recently, National Housing and Construction Company (NHCC) is looking for a fresh opportunity to engage the tenants.
NHCC executive director, Parity Twinomujuni told New Vision that the company wants to sit with the tenants and other stakeholder for talks to come out with a better solution.
“We want to involve all the stakeholders to come up with a better strategy for redeveloping Kasokoso," Twinomujuni added.
NHCC’s new move comes almost two weeks after Parliament blocked thecompany from continuing with its earlier plans of redeveloping the land until after the fate of tenants is determined.
Parliament allowed NHCC to go on with its plans after the Ministry of Lands and local authorities have ensured proper verification of occupants and compensation.
Twinomujuni said that the 7-year redevelopment plan for Kasokoso will now only kick off after negotiations with all the stakeholders. "We want to do this in phases without affecting anyone once we agree," he added.
The spokesperson of Ministry of Lands Denis Obo said that they are planning to roll out a mass sensitization programme on encroachment and physical planning for Kasokoso and other parts of the country before such anything can go on.
Obo added that to tackle the Kasokoso problem, the ministry was also planning to operationalize the Physical Planning Act 2010. He said the Act had never been operationalized because of lack of funds.
Kira Town Council Mayor, Mamerito Mugwerwa who was once battered by a mob in Kasokoso on suspicion that he supported NHCC’s plans told New Vision that he still supported the project and asked his constituents to rally behind it.
“This is not an eviction but redevelopment. The residents of Kasokoso will in the near future appreciate the project. Its fine those who want compensation should be paid. Those who don’t will get shares in the apartments soon to be constructed,” Mamerito said.
When the news of blocking NHCC from developing Kasokoso by Parliament started circulating, some residents jubilated and even organized a party a party on Thursday. Animals were slaughtered and drums of beer sipped.
One of the residents, Joseph Sewankambu said he bought his piece of land and will therefore not allow to be evicted. "This is my home, my family is here and I work here. Where can I go when land elsewhere is very expensive," he added.
However, some tenants believe that compensation can help them start a new life.
Andrew Kwizera 43, is one of those who want to be compensated to leave.
Kwizera a resident of Kiganda claims he has been here for over 30-years.
"I am willing to leave if compensated genuinely. My wife and four children are here. I am just carpenter who can't afford to buy those houses be constructed by NHCC," he noted.
Kwizera says he needs a sh30million to go and buy land and start a new life.
Some residents here admit leaving miserable lives because given the conditions of the area. Xavier Odong, said the conditions are not very good, but have no option. "I have been leaving here throughout my life with my mother and sister. We can leave if compensated," he said.
NHCC lays new strategy
Kasokoso is just one of the areas covering about 292 acres of land which NHCC wants to develop. Twinomujuni said the land is valued at sh56bn which makes it a wrong decision to abandon it.
Twinomujuni said: "We are going to provide land titles to some of the owners after paying a fee that shall be determined by the chief government valuer."
He said residents who want decent houses will have their properties valued and the value incorporate as an equity contribution to the project that will develop the area.
They also intend to compensate those who want to leave after valuing their property. Twinomujuni said they intend to put up 5,000 modern units.