Uganda: Gulu Municipal Authorities Demolish Grass Thatched Huts

Gulu — Gulu Municipality leaders have begun demolishing mud and wattle grass thatched huts in a bid to re-organise the town.

The leaders say the structures undermine the beauty of the municipality and shelter criminals.

Gulu municipality is among three other urban centers within the country that the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development intends to elevate to city status but the poor infrastructures among other requirements have delayed the process.

Arua, Mbale and Mbarara municipalities are some of the urban centres to be elevated to a city status.

In November last year, Lands minister Betty Amongi said the presence of dilapidated buildings and poor drainage systems are hindering granting the town city status.

Last week, officials from Pece Division destroyed more than ten grass thatched huts in Tegwana Parish.

The Pece Division chairperson, Mr Kelly Komakech, told Daily Monitor on Saturday that the decision was reached at during a council meeting early this month.

"How can we have good roads near "ugly" grass thatched huts? We want to attain city status but with such buildings, we won't be granted the city status we are tirelessly lobbying for," Mr Komakech said.

Mr Komakech added that they also carried out surveys and found that the grass thatched huts are cheap and are being rented by thugs.

"The grass thatched huts are a security threat in our area; many of them are being occupied by thugs. We want to reduce the rate of crime in our area," Mr Komakech said.

He said during the demolition they arrested more than six suspected thugs.

The Municipality Town clerk, Mr Francis Barabanawe, said the move will help scale down crimes and restore beauty in the municipality. This has, however, not gone well with some of the residents who say the leaders are pushing them against the wall since they can't afford to rent iron roofed houses.

Mr Moses Lubangakene, a hawker and resident of Tegwana parish in Pece Division, said: "I pay Shs15,000 for the hut. The money I make from selling bags is not much. If they demolish all the grass thatched huts, how will I survive with my family?"

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