Growing Fear among Residents as Uganda Railways Plans Demolitions in Kasese Municipality

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A sense of anxiety and panic has gripped residents, particularly those squatting on railway land, as Uganda Railways Corporation officials begin the process of identifying and marking houses for imminent demolition.

The move is part of the government's broader effort to revamp the railway line across the country.

The affected parties, some of whom claim to have purchased the land, are now pleading for leniency from the authorities requesting either to be allowed to remain on the land or for the railway line to be rerouted to a less populated area.

The issue has sparked concern as over 200 houses in Kasese Municipality have been marked for demolition by Uganda Railways Corporation due to being allegedly illegally constructed on railway land.

Bishop Kisembo, one of the affected residents, expressed his fears: "Losing our houses would be a devastating blow after investing so much in purchasing land and constructing homes."

Kirindiro Johnstone, another resident facing the threat of eviction, stated: "We are pleading with the government to reconsider their plans. Either shift the railway line to a less populated area or allow us to continue living on this land."

Local leaders in Kasese Municipality, however, have expressed concerns that the residents' proposals may not be feasible due to logistical and safety considerations.

Chance Kahindo, the Mayor of Kasese Municipality, expressed his reservations: "While we understand the concerns of the affected residents, we must also prioritize safety and proper urban planning."

Bomera Richard, Chairperson of the Lc3 Bulembia division, echoed the sentiment, saying, "It's a complex situation. We need to find a solution that respects the rights of residents while adhering to development guidelines."

Amidst the impending demolitions, some leaders are calling for understanding, pointing out that the sale of these plots of land might have been facilitated by conmen in collaboration with certain railway officials.

Chance Kahindo reiterated this point: "We have to consider that these land transactions might have involved fraudulent activities. It's crucial to address the issue from both sides."

In response to the growing tension, Lt Joe Walusimbi, the Resident District Commissioner, has stepped in as a mediator between the affected residents and the government. He pledged to facilitate a dialogue to find a solution that balances the interests of both parties without causing harm.

The plight of these residents highlights the complex challenges that arise during urban development and infrastructure improvement efforts. As the situation unfolds, the hope remains that a fair and just resolution will be reached that considers the well-being and rights of all stakeholders involved.

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