Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Hundreds of residents of Kireka Zone B are spending sleepless nights over their pending eviction as the UPDF Engineering Brigade nears the completion of the construction of the perimeter wall around Mandela National stadium.
The government kicked off the renovation of Mandela National Stadium with the construction of the perimeter wall as one of the requirements from CAF. But Anne Beja, a member of the Mandela National stadium board, says that the perimeter wall will also protect the land from encroachers.
The perimeter wall has converted almost the entire population of Kireka Zone B throwing residents into panic. Several houses have already been demolished to create space for the wall. Betty Nansubuga, one of the affected residents, says that she has been residing in their area for the last 26 years and was shocked to see a sudden wall covering her home. According to Nansubuga, she has neither received any communication nor warning from those behind the construction.
Speaking to our reporter, Nansubuga revealed that one of the residents she identifies as Mubiru Kekete attempted to commit suicide when the builders told him that his house would be demolished.
The 60-year-old Nansubuga says that she barely sleeps for fear of eviction at the night. Her only request to the stadium management is to give them some time to find where to go with her family.
Maama Nabbanja, another resident says that she has been a resident for thirteen years. She says that the perimeter wall came as a shock that left them wondering what to do to next.
Godfrey Kawooya, the Vice Chairman of Kireka Zone B said there are about 550 residents who are living in fear of eviction. He says that they have often time tried to engage the stadium management on the matter in vain.
“Our case is in the high court and the case will be heard in September. It is very sad that these people just came and demolished people’s houses without any warning. Many people have lost their properties in that kind of manner,” he said.
Kawooya insists that block 232 on which his local council is situated, belongs to Kabaka Ronald Mutebi’s uncle known as Kisosonkole.
Jamil Sewanyana, the managing director of Mandela National stadium declined to comment, saying they will invite journalists at a later date. “There is nothing that can be said, when we start the renovation we shall invite the press, that is the mode of operation,” he told URN.
But earlier in 2019, Sewanyana petitioned the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire land Commission to help them evict individuals and companies that had grabbed half of the 120 acres of land belonging to Namboole. In his petition, Sewanyana said that the Government bought 103 plots on Kyadondo Block 232 and Block 234 to build a stadium and several people were compensated but many denied that they were ever compensated.
The construction of the perimeter is still underway as part of the first phase of the stadium’s renovation. The renovation works will also cover the dressing rooms, playing surface, running track, installation of desks and air conditioners in the media and VIP sections, seats in the general public stands, and upgrading floodlights as directed by CAF.