The Minister for Local Government, Raphael Magyezi has revealed that the ministry is no longer in charge of the contested Naguru-Nakawa Housing project.
While appearing before the Adhoc Committee of Parliament instituted to investigate the Naguru-Nakawa land row, Magyezi said that the Ministry of Local Government ceased to be in control of the project in 2014 after it was taken over by the Office of the Presidency under the Ministry of Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs.
“We ceased to be in charge of the project from the time Kampala City Council became Kampala Capital City Authority managed under its own law, minister and departments under the Office of the President. So it’s the city council which is responsible, but we retained membership of the technical committee,” Magyezi said.
According to Chris Niwandinda, the Principal Inspector at the Ministry of Local Government, the technical committee is still functional and is responsible for providing technical support and reports to the political leadership on the progress of the project. He added that it also acts as a channel linking the tenants to the developer.
In 2007, Government signed a Public Private Partnership Agreement with an investor, Opec Prime Properties to redevelop the Naguru-Nakawa housing estates into two ultra modern sustainable satellite towns.
According to the Memorandum of Understanding, the developer was supposed to construct 1,971 low cost residential units in the first four years and other commercial developments in the remaining six years.
However, this obligation was not met, prompting cabinet in 2018 to terminate the contract and land repossessed by Uganda Land Commission (ULC) awaiting reallocation to new developers. Part of the land was later in 2016 handed over to Aga Khan for the construction of a hospital complex.
Magyezi said that by the time the ministry handed over the project to the Office of the President in 2014, the developer had submitted a work programme that delineated the activities that would lead into the commencement of the construction of the first 1,971 housing units, conducted groundbreaking for phase one of the construction of 900 apartments and submitted detailed structural plans and project master plan.
Dicksons Kateshumbwa (NRM, Sheema Municipality) tasked the minister to explain the fate of the sitting tenants who have been inconvenienced by the project which they are yet to benefit them.
Magyezi added that there is a standing commitment of over Shs34 billion from government to pay the sitting tenants who were supposed to benefit from this housing project after cabinet in 2018 resolved that each sitting tenant gets Shs17.7 million as a ‘token’ for the inconveniences caused.
However, the Ministry of Finance has not released the funds up to date.
Asuman Basalirwa (Jeema, Bugiri Municipality) wondered whether it was right for government to reallocate part of the contested land to Aga Khan even before the matter is properly disposed of with the previous developer.
The adhoc committee chairperson, Dan Kimosho asked the ministry to furnish the committee with a copy of the public private partnership agreement that government signed with Opec Prime Properties and other vital documents including the addendums of the agreement.