Uganda: Delayed Relocation of Landslide Victims Angers Bududa District Leaders

Kampala, Uganda — Bududa district authorities are bitter with the office of the Prime Minister over the delayed relocation of the people from landslide prone areas. They argue that the Disaster Preparedness Ministry hasn't done enough to ensure the safety of their people.

After the 2011 Nametsi landslides, government set up an inter-ministerial committee and Cabinet subcommittee chaired by the 1st Deputy Prime Minister, Gen. Moses Ali to establish the population at high risk of landslides in Bududa, Sironko, Manafwa and Bulambuli districts.

The committee resolved to relocate 100,000 people believed to be at high risk of landslides and launched a 10 year resettlement plan dubbed "Resettlement of landless persons and persons at risk of landslides." The plan was supposed to be implemented in a phased manner with 10,000 people being relocated every year.

John Baptist Nambeshe, the Manjiya MP, says the committee agreed that the affected people resettled within the district. He says the committees identified places within the low lying areas like Bududa Town council, Bukigai Town council, Bunangaka town council, Bubunji, Bunamubi, Busanza, Bulucheke, Bukali, Bukibobolo, Kuushu and Bushilibo among others for the resettlement, a thing they unanimously agreed upon.

Nambeshe however, says the Office of the Prime Minister abandoned the plan and procured land in Bunambutye sub county in Bulambuli district to construct houses for the resettlement of the landslide victims.

Early this year, the OPM relocated 98 families from landslide prone areas in Bugisu and 50 from Bududa in particular to Bunambutye in the first phase.

Another 120 families will be resettled in the next phase. It is unclear how long it will take to relocate the more than 10,000 people who are at risk in Bududa district given the recurrent disasters.

Nambeshe says they advised them to compensate the affected people to allow them move like it has happened in other areas in vain.

He says the relocation plan by the OPM is very slow yet the number they are supposed to relocate is bigger.

Wilson Watira, the Bududa district LC V chairperson, says the landslides have become regular in the area, which requires government to use other methods to resettle the affected people as opposed to the resettlement plan.

He said the approach of giving people money to find themselves is cheap, more effective and will expedite the relocation to save people's lives.

Geoffrey Natubu, the Bududa district speaker told URN that the district council passed a resolution to relocate people through urbanization but OPM didn't listen and went ahead to implement their own plan, which has stalled.

The Bududa Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Samson Natsambu, says that over 40,000 people in Bududa district are on the verge of experiencing landslides as many hills have developed cracks.

Efforts to talk to the OPM Spokesperson, Julius Muchunguzi were futile as his known mobile phone number was unavailable.

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