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Kampala Floods: MPs want encroachers evicted

Heavy rains swept three cars at a washing bay in Kampala. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – Legislators have called on Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to stop lamenting about people that have encroached on wetlands that have left the city flooded each time it rains with demands to have all these buildings erased.

The MPs’ remarks were in response to a statement by the Minister of State for Kampala Capital City Authority, Benny Namugwanya on the state of flooding in Kampala City and its suburbs.

In her statement, the Minister said that eight people are believed to have lost their lives in the areas of Kikajjo, Lubowa and Lufuka all located in Masajja and Bunamwaya divisions and over 500 households were severely affected by the floods on May 26, 2019.

Hon. Namugwanya, however, said that a new Kampala Drainage Master Plan was completed in Dec 2017 and it entails details of all flow construction in the Kampala drainage system and the master plan recommends structural measures such as the construction of new drains and crossings.

The Minister pointed out that the major causes of flooding in Kampala are; Illegal developments and encroachments on drainage reserves, filling of wetlands and low-lying areas of flood plains with soil, poor solid waste management practices by communities and inadequate drainage infrastructure:

She blamed flooding in some parts of Kampala and its suburbs on blockage of drainage channels by encroachers who put up structures along the channels thereby redirecting water and listed flood-prone areas including; Ntinda Industrial Area, Kyambogo, Banda Moil Petrol Station, Banda Petrol, Nabweru the road next to Kawempe division, Lumas Road Kanyanya and Kawaala.

Kawempe Souths MP Latiff Ssebagala has warned that the day Kampala will experience three straight days of rain, no one will be able to access the city because all entry points to the city are flooded.

He called for compensation of all encroachers so as to save Kampala.

He said; “If we look at the issue of compensation so we expand drainage areas, the better. Until KCCA addresses the issue of garbage collection, other methods will be dropped.”

Andrew Kaluya warned that floods in Kampala can’t be looked at on levels of drainage alone but the whole physical plan of the city.

“Kampala is growing at fast rate, but we are doing it the wrong way.

We need to look at Kampala beyond 30-50years if everyone is building how they want.

We were told Meera Investment de-silted drainage channels in Banda and nobody has come out to revoke that license” argued Kaluya.

Another MP, Waira Majegere also weighed into the debate arguing: “When they’re (KCCA) giving away these wetlands they don’t call us. Now they are seeking for political help. NEMA leaves wetland in Banda and goes to villages. NEMA can’t give total acreage of wetlands in Uganda because they want to use that to give out wetlands.”

Elijah Okupa(Kasilo County) argued that Parliament wouldn’t be discussing Kampala floods if those responsible had done the work and when former KCCA Executive Director, Jeniffer Musisi wanted to organise the city, there are those who thought they’re untouchable and know which button to press and fought her.

He also mocked residents in Mbale, Soroti and Masaka who have protested missing out on city status bonanza noting; “I pity people who have been crying they want cities yet they have even failed to organise the main city.”

Bunyole West’s James Waluswaka protested the proposal to have wetland encroachers compensated and blamed the failure by authorities to seek the expertise of hydraulic engineers when designing drainage systems noting;

“I  propose that all these illegal structures be demolished let NEMA and KCCA officials be arrested. There is a scandal where people are involved. UPDF and Police should come and evict these people. The issue of compensation, why do you compensate those who encroached. We are tired of this foolery.”

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