Lira, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The occupants of Ireda Housing Estate located in Lira City Central Division are protesting a directive by the district asking them to vacate.
It follows a July 21st, 2020 letter authored by Lira Deputy Chief Administrative Officer directing all non- local government staffs occupying the houses to remove their property and vacate the estate not later than August 21st, 2020.
“A number of staffs have applied to occupy the staff quarters but we cannot allocate them houses since you are still occupying them,” the letter reads in part.
Adding that, “Take note that the district will not hesitate to throw out all your properties from the house if found still occupying the house by the date indicated above.”
The estate is home to 42 households including staffs of Lira district, retired staff and ordinary residents. The occupants pay between Shillings 80,000 and 150,000 in rental fees to Lira district depending on the size of the house they occupy.
However, Musa Odur, the chairperson of the tenants in the estate, says the notice doesn’t meet the requirement of their tenancy agreement, which requires the landlord to give them a grace period to vacate the houses.
He says they have petitioned High court to establish the ownership of the estate.
Amos Ongony, another tenant accuses Lira District officials of forcing his five-year-old son to acknowledge receipt of the eviction notice in his absence.
However, Alex Oremo Alot, the Lira LC V chairperson insists that the Estate belongs to Lira District Local Government and all occupants are squatters.
He says the occupants will be asked to vacate the estate with time depending on the master plan developed by Lira city authorities.
Sec 5. 1 (a) of the guidelines operationalizing the cities says assets of a district which include vacant land, markets, administrative buildings, stadia, bus parks, community halls and recreation centers among others falling within the territorial boundaries of the city shall be the property of the city.
Mike Ogwang Olwa Veve, the Interim Lira City Mayor under whose jurisdiction the said property falls, says they are not aware of any plans to evict the occupants of the estate.
He advises the occupants to remain in the houses as the city settles the issue with the district leadership.
Francis Okello Olwa, the Lira District spokesperson castigates the statement by the mayor, saying Lira District as a corporate body can own property anywhere.
He says the district can only lose the estate if it decides to dispose of it. “Lira can only lose that land if it chooses to sell it or give it as a gift to Lira city,” he argued.
He advised the tenants to cooperate with the district for proper management of the estate.