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Kabale municipality defies UNRA directive on demolishing lock-ups in reserve

Some of the Lock-Ups constructed in a road reserve

Kabale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Kabale Municipality Authorities have failed to implement a directive by Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to demolish permanent lockups along the Kabale-Mbarara Highway reserve.

Traders from Kabale Central market have already occupied the newly built lockups at Kabale Police Barracks playgrounds and Kabale-Mbarara Highway reserve to pave way for the planned reconstruction of Kabale Central Market under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement program – MATIP III.

Early this month, Reuben Byaruhanga Tumwebaze, the Director Road Infrastructure Protection in UNRA, faulted Kabale Municipal council authorities for illegally approving the construction of permanent lockups on the road reserve.   Byaruhanga said the Authority had planned to pave the road reserve to provide parking space for trucks and outdoor advertising.

The UNRA ED, Catherine Kagina wrote to Kabale Municipal Mayor on September 3rd, 2019 directing the municipality to halt further developments in the road reserve. Kagina also directed Municipality Authorities to clear the existing encroachments.

Kagina noted that all the activities in the road reserve were not sanctioned by UNRA as provided for in the Uganda National Roads Authority Regulations 2017.   To date, the municipality is yet to act on Kagina’s directive.  The municipality has continued giving traders ago ahead to complete their incomplete lockups.

The Kabale Municipal Mayor, Emmanuel Sentaro Byamugisha told URN on Tuesday that there is no cause for alarm, saying the UNRA directive came very late.

“No cause for alarm, UNRA is for government and the market to be constructed is for government. When did that letter come? I know destructors are celebrating but they will end up reading the letter get excited and the rest is history. Government is so huge and proud not to embarrass its self”, said Byamugisha.

Byamugisha says that the existence of lockups in the road reserve isn’t interring with traffic. “If you try to be objective, you will understand the reason and the circumstances. Is it interfering with any traffic flow? People learn to appreciate sometimes, no regrets,” he said.

Mid this month, Wilson Mbabazi, a concerned resident of Kigongi ward in Central Division and former Kabale Municipality Mayoral candidate sued the Municipality and UNRA over the same matter.

Through his lawyer, Timothy Twikirize of M/S Twikirize & Co. Advocates, Mbabazi argued that the decision of Kabale Municipality and UNRA to authorize construction of permanent lockups in a road reserve contravenes the law.

Mbabazi said UNRA’s decision to authorize the construction of permanent structure in a road reserve contravenes Section 5 of Uganda National Roads Authority Act of 2006, which mandates the authority of managing and maintaining road reserves.

Mbabazi also wants court to direct Kabale Municipality and UNRA to demolish the lockups and pay punitive damages for tempering with the road reserve.  Kabale Municipality is yet to submit its defense before court.

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