About 9, 989 people face eviction as the Uganda Railway Corporation (URC) embarks on an operation to demolish what it described as unpermitted structures on the railway line.
On Wednesday, URC enforcers, accompanied by the army and police moved from their station in Kampala through Namuwongo towards Kireka as part of a four-day countrywide operation to clear the land that belongs to the corporation.
With the eviction the affected individuals claim that URC did not provide them with adequate warning and compensation.
Mr Lennon Ssengendo, the URC senior communication officer, said the corporation launched a resettlement action plan in 2021 to register everyone who was living on the property for an undisclosed period of time and reached an agreement with the local authorities not to permit any new settlers.
“We are currently demolishing all the newly constructed structures whether wooden or concrete that have been built after the 2021 plan. It is unfortunate that this directive has been disregarded and new structures are cropping up daily,” Mr Ssengendo said.
The URC had a plan of renovating the rail lines from Malaba to Kampala, the organization issued a directive in April, 2021 ordering all squatters to leave its property.
According to information from the Works ministry, the settlement process would cost Shs40b to compensate all the squatters with legitimate land titles.
Last year, the matter was tabled before Parliament for debate to determine whether the people who were illegally occupying URC land should be compensated. The matter was passed in favor of the squatters.
Mr Denis Festo, the URC head of valuation, declined to reveal the amount of money that the corporation had to pay the squatters but said they have all it takes to kick-start the process with immediate effect.
“The people have been here for some time and they deserve to be given some money since they have their whole livelihoods on this land. We have this money and we are only being delayed by some people who are erecting new structures,” Mr Festo said.
Some of the leaders in the affected areas told Daily Monitor yesterday that URC has yet to pay some of the affected persons.
“We are pleading to the government to get involved since people have nowhere to go. The URC demolished a neighbor’s house yesterday yet she comes from Mubende (which is under lockdown to curb the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease) so she can’t go back to her home since there is lockdown,” Mr Richard Iragena, the secretary of information at the Kanyogoga LCI office.