Uganda: Residents Demand Pay for Destroyed Houses, Crops

Kakumiro — Residents of Kisojo Village in Kyabasaija Sub-county, Kakumiro District are demanding compensation from a Chinese company for destroying their houses and crops during stone blasting.

China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) was contracted to construct the 104-kilometre Mubende-Kakumiro-Kagadi road.

During a meeting with the Minister of State for Economic Monitoring in the Office of the President, Dr Kasirivu Atwooki, at the weekend, the project affected persons, said their open water sources have also been contaminated.

"All houses have developed cracks because of the stone blasting and we were never compensated. The Chinese also promised us two boreholes but we have not received any positive response. Our open surface water sources were contaminated by dust and rock particles from the exercise," Mr Jackson Murokozi, the leader of the affected residents, said.

Mr Colonelius Sebintu, the village chairperson, said the contractor assessed residents staying within a radius of 500 metres from the blasting for compensation before starting the exercise, but they have not yet been paid.

He also said the company violated the terms of engagement with them.

"We agreed with them that they should not work for the whole night and not blast stones before informing us, but they never respected the agreement. We have heard that they want to go and we fear that they might go without compensating us," Mr Sebintu said. Dr Kasirivu demanded a list of those affected before taking action.

"I want you to compile a full list of all affected persons so that we can help you, especially those whose houses were damaged. I want the report before Tuesday next week," the minister, also the Bugangaizi West MP, said.

Response

Mr Wang Sen, the project manager, said they provided a provisional piped water to the residents.

He also inspected the affected houses with Mr Kasirivu.

The company has also been accused of destroying four community boreholes in Kihumuro, Busesa and Ngangi trading centres.

UNRA warning

In a recent meeting with affected residents, Ms Allen Kagina, the Uganda National Roads Authority executive director, warned the contractor against acts which infringe on people's rights.

"It is not right to mistreat our people. Access to water is a human right and covering peoples' wells is not good," Ms Kagina said.

She attributed some of the challenges to lack of community sensitisation.

The project, which had been set for completion by February, has been pushed to next year because of lack of compensation funds.

The completion rate stands at 55 per cent with already 45 kilometres tamacked.

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