Fort Portal, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The absence of a fully-fledged physical plan is responsible for the mushrooming illegal structures in Fort Portal tourism city, the authorities have revealed. Several developers are rushing to erect unapproved structures in the city whereas others are degrading wetlands.
Samuel Musana, the senior physical planner of Fort Portal tourism city, says that they are facing a huge challenge due to the absence of a blueprint, which is supposed to guide the development of the city. He says that some developers have taken the advantage of the gap to construct houses in wetlands and other protected areas.
“Fort Portal became a city and like any other place with a growing population, we expect people to build structures without approved plans. As authorities, we have to be up to the task not to allow illegalities to thrive because we have a law that is supposed to guide development and that’s the Physical Planning Act,” Musana stated.
He explains that to tame the vice, they have dispatched a team of agents to register all new developments and ascertain whether they have approved plans or not to help the council to make a decision.
Musana says that it is ashaming that a section of councillors and technocrats in the city who are supposed to give guidance to the population are also engaging in illegal activities particularly degrading wetlands and building illegal structures.
Nasuru Mwesigwa, the roads engineer in Fort Portal city, says that developers are supposed to consult with relevant city authorities before they embark on any development projects. Mwesigwa says that they are waiting for the physical plan of the city, which is nearing completion to start opening roads and work on the proper drainage management system.
Richard Muhumuza, the Fort Portal city central division mayor, says that his council is conflicted. He confirmed that the Kijanju female ward councillor in the central division had dumped soil in Nyakaseke wetland to pave way for development. He however says that the council has halted the activities and commenced inquiries into her claims.
Ivan Mwangaguhya, a resident of Fort Portal city central division is optimistic that council members caught in illegalities will not be punished, adding that technocrats are corrupt and work hand in hand with councillors to break rules.