1 November 2008

Uganda: Kampala's Poor Physical Planning - Who is Responsible for the Mess?

Kampala — As city councillors demand for City Council's quick investigations and demolition of the mushrooming illegal structures in Kampala, they are concerned that the problem will not be solved unless corruption in KCC is brought to an end.

The problem of illegal structures in the city according to the councillors can be traced to corruption, lack of nationalism and political meddling in the management of Kampala city.

The residents of Kisenyi have already petitioned KCC over a commercial structure commonly known as E- complex and Kobil petrol station along Namirembe Road that were constructed in a road reserve and access lane respectively.

This contravenes KCC policy that bars people from erecting structures in any road reserve or service lane. Councillors also insist that its plan was approved in error. "The structure adjacent to the new bus park [E - Complex] in Kisenyi central zone was built in an access lane parallel to Namirembe Road. The lane is meant to divert the increasing traffic congestion around the new taxi park and Kisenyi areas," Councillor Zachary Mberaze said during a council session recently.

Councillors blame the city works committee for the mess saying it has not done enough to ensure order in the city. The works committee is headed by Ms Florence Namayanja, who doubles as the deputy mayor.

The deputy Chief Town Planner, Mr John Mpambala, recently called for immediate demolishing of all illegal structures in Kampala citing gross abuse of the city's master structural plan. He says the technical staff has always advised developers but they ignore the advice.

"We have always warned them but they turn a death ear forgetting that our master plan clearly indicates where roads and access lanes are supposed to be. They [developers] instead go ahead to set up permanent structures. Their days are numbered," Mr Mpambala said. "All illegal structures will be demolished at one time."

Sources in KCC who declined to be named for fear of losing their jobs said construction of the controversial E-Complex structure in Kisenyi was approved by the works committee under suspicious circumstances.

The approval, the sources said, was obtained in total disregard of an earlier warning by the Urban Planning and Land Management department that the land was reserved as a planned access road.

But Ms Namayanja blames the technical wing, saying the Chief Town Planner, Mr Charles Kyamanywa, did not advise the committee accordingly. "That's not our fault. As politicians, my committee's recommendations are subjected to technical advice," Ms Namayanja said.

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