Kampala — About 4,000 police officers who have been residing in Naguru Police Barracks are stranded with nowhere to go after they were asked to vacate the 60-acre land that was parcelled out to a Chinese investor.
The desperate officers, who were in the company of their families, have sought refuge in the neighbouring slums as they await to be resettled.
Others were yesterday seen around Ntinda-Nakawa road asking for means from well-wishers to transport their families to Kikandwa Police Barracks near Kakiri in Wakiso District.
But the police officers say the new place cannot accommodate more than 1,000 of their colleagues.
Some of the officers in the affected category said they have been told to relocate to Nsambya Police Barracks and other city police stations, which are also congested.
One officer, who is supposed to reside in the police barracks, said he is going to rent outside because he has not been able to get a house.
Police gave a Chinese firm, Tip Top Investments Limited the police land for a 49-year lease subject to automatic renewal.
In exchange, the Chinese firm will construct a forensic laboratory, which is expected to cost Shs174b, and also provide training for officers.
The lab will be built on a separate site, which is about 200 metres away from where the police barracks sits.
However, Mr Samuel Lubega, the spokesperson of the police directorate of administration, said yesterday: "What is happening isn't an eviction but a relocation. The officers are being relocated to Kikandwa near Kakiri. They have to leave the area to allow the development of the place."
Mr Lubega said they will relocate the officers in phases.
"We can't leave our officers without accommodation. All those who are entitled to houses will get them."
"Those who claim they haven't got should bring it to the attention of their superiors other than running to the press," he said.
Housing deficit. Police have a strength of 43,000 officers, but have a shortage of 30,000 housing units.
Initially, British investor Ahadi Consortium had been given the green light by the Ministry of Finance to build houses for police officers on the same land and use part of it to construct commercial buildings, which it would own for at least 50 years and hand over ownership of all the property to police.
Besides, the investor was to redevelop Nsambya barracks, Naguru-Ntinda barracks, Kira Police Station, Wandegeya Police Station, and two other plots on Mabuwa and Acacia roads in Kampala.
The project stalled.