The chances of Uganda National Roads Authority to meet the set target of handing over the Kampala –Entebbe expressway come 5th may 2018 to the government are limited, owing to the failure to acquire land in some areas where it is mapped to pass.
Matovu William, the head land acquisition at UNRA says that unless cases of land disputes among families and absentee land lords in some areas are resolved, it is becoming impossible to complete the road.
With the clock ticking away and less than six months to the proposed completion date, UNRA has been thrown in panic over the 49.5km Kampala –Entebbe express highway.
Although it boasts of completing the biggest part of the road, the Authority says the completion is thwarted by eight families who have land in the designated areas of passage. This is prolonging the construction work.
“They have failed to determine who should be given the compensation money whereas others have wrangles with the neighbours on who is the rightful owner. Now cases are in courts of law and usually it’s a lengthy process” Mr Matovu said.
Although Over Shs 329 billion were put aside to cater for compensating land owners it hasn’t come to pass, only 281billions have used to do the compensation.
With it being a toll road, 3 toll plazas along the road have been already constructed; one at Busega, the other in Kajjansi and the other in Mpala.
The proceed is meant to pay off a 453 billion shillings’ loan that was acquired from Exim bank of china.
“Even after paying off the 453 billion loan, users will continue paying because government need the money to construct other roads, all developed countries use the same system of having road tolls and have been successful” Janet Birungi, the project manager said.
Despite the road being incomplete, some Ugandans are reportedly illegally using it.
Birungi says numerous accidents have been reported attributing it to incomplete demarcation.
“Even police got tired of the cases we report since even after reading the notice that the road is still under construction the continue using it,” she says.
Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, is the latest ultra state of the state infrastructure that is meant to solve the heavy traffic with connection to most Kampala suburbs.
The land issue brings to mind the controversy that was sparked by the Constitution Amendment Bill that was tabled before Parliament, seeking to amend Article 26 of the Constitution relating to the acquisition of private property by government.
The amendment proposes that where the owner of property or any person having interest in or right over property objects to the compensation awarded under the law made under clause (2)(b), the government or local government shall deposit with court for the property owner or any person having an interest in or right over the property, the compensation awarded for the property, and the government or local government shall take possession of the property pending determination by the court of any dispute relating to compensation.
President Museveni in his radio talk show tours around the country argued that the amendment is meant to hasten the process of completing government construction projects for the development of the country.
However, critics insist that the government aims at grabbing people’s land through the Bill.