The acting Permanent Secretary, in the Office of the Prime Minister Joel Wanjala, today told Parliaments Public Accounts Committee PAC that whereas there have been shortcomings on the side of the government to resettle survivors earlier; the project implementation had been derailed by strong cultural attachments.
The planned resettlement of people in the Bududa landslide-prone areas was delayed due to the strong cultural attachments they had for their ancestral land.
The acting Permanent Secretary, in the Office of the Prime Minister Joel Wanjala, on Tuesday, told Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that whereas there have been shortcomings on the side of the government to resettle survivors earlier; the project implementation had been derailed by strong cultural attachments.
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Wanjala's explanation followed concerns from MPs who queried why the resettlement had delayed and yet government had acquired 2,860 acres of land Bulambuli district.
PAC Chairperson Angelina Osege wondered what took government long to provide money to re-settle people.
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Wanjala said that OPM had no option since funds had not been provided in time to ensure proper resettlement of the survivors. He, however, told the MPs that survivors of the Bududa mudslide are to be re-settled starting next week following a cabinet decision.
According to Wanjala, the land was acquired at 8 billion shillings and every household is to get two and a half acres for crop cultivation and a plot of 50 X 50 for a homestead.
Over 850 persons have been affected with the mudslides including those displaced. Wanjala said that the recently displaced people are currently not settled in any central place with some housed at relatives and friends on the lower lands.
“Originally, we just established a camp or command center where we were delivering food. But they are with their relatives and friends but they are known. Although we have cases where some families were completely wiped out,” said Wanjala.
Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga said that the committee was to have a substantive season in regard to the land procurement and resettlement plan. The Committee Lead Counsel, however, questioned the OPM officials on whether the mudslide survivors have been provided with adequate relief.
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Wanjala said that the Ministry of Health delivered an assortment of drugs and promised to replenish as soon as they are finished.
Asked about the water crisis in the area, Wanjala said that they are currently having a water problem and only got partners who availed bottled water which is not sustainable.
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Whereas Wanjala says the disaster took them by surprise, he decried negative attitude and slow public response to early warning systems in the area.