3 May 2018

Uganda: Landslides - Bududa Residents Pitch Camp At Politicians' Homes

Photo: The Observer
One of the homes destroyed by landslides in Bududa.

Politicians' homes in Bududa district have turned into settlement camps after residents pitched camp as landslides continue ravaging their houses.

Some of the residents say that their leaders' residences were safer while others argued that they were protesting their leaders' delay to demand government to resettle them in Bulambuli district where government bought land for them.

Lutseshe MP Godfrey Watenga Nabutanyi confirmed in a telephone interview that homes of politicians are now accommodation of several voters while some are residing in churches and schools in fear of more landslides.

"As I talk, we [politicians] have several people that have pitched camp at our homes after their food and household properties were destroyed in last weekend's heavy down power," Watenga said.

He added that while people in Bududa are willing to relocate to Bunambutye in Bulambuli district where government bought land for settlement of people living in landslide prone areas in Bududa, there hasn't been any preparations to settle them.

One person was reported dead due to floods and the landslide while several houses, crops and cattle were destroyed. Several people were also displaced when landslides occurred in Busae, Bukirimwa and Bukibino parishes of Bududa sub-county last Friday.

Watenga said the area leaders' attempts to have government respond to the plight of the Bududa landslides by resettling their people have on several occasions hit a snag as government has kept telling them that money is not available.

Using funds worth Shs 8 billion, government acquired about 2,800 acres of land in Bunambutye sub-county, Bulambuli district in 2003 to resettle people living in landslide prone areas in Bududa and those already displaced in Bugisu sub-region. However since then, no further steps have been taken to relocate the residents.

"My people of Lutseshe are willing to move to Bulambuli but we can't take them on the bare ground. Up to now, government has not handed over the land to the community of Bududa. The acres they bought, we don't know because they have not handed over that land to the community of Bududa," Watenga said.

"There is nothing on ground. Be it a school, toilet or water. We don't know how that money [Shs 8bn] was spent although our local government was involved and we don't have any records regarding Bunambutye land settlement," he added.

Some residents accuse their leaders of not coming out to pronounce themselves on the Bulambuli resettlement plans, arguing that their politicians owe the communities an explanation.

"The truth is that political leaders in Bududa are traitors to their own population. Disasters have continued to claim people's lives, property and destabilized businesses in several places within the district but the million dollar question is, as disaster prone district, do we have a disaster management committee, plan or budget?" Richard Nekoye, a resident of Bubiita sub-county said.

"If so, what are the functions of the said committee in relation to the current happenings in Bunanzushi, Bukirimwa, Busae and Bukibino. Let political authorities pronounce themselves on this catastrophic state of Bududa," Nekoye added.

In 2010, landslides buried an estimated 350 residents Nametsi parish, about 28 people in Bulambuliwere killed in 2011.

In March 2012, landslides again killed six people in Sironko district while in the same year, in the month of June 2012, landslides in Bududa district buried 18 more people.

Last year, 10 people were again buried in Sironko landslide.

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