Charles Kalinaki, the UNRA Project Manager for the road construction however says the majority of the affected persons have already been compensated. He says it’s quite strange that even those who have already been paid have joined the protest in solidarity with a few individuals whose payments are pending.
A section of
landowners in the villages of Wii Layibi and Go down in Bardege-Layibi Division
in Gulu City have blocked a Chinese contractor from constructing an access road
in their area.
Zhongmei Engineering Group Ltd embarked on constructing a 2.2-kilometer access
road linking to the Multi-billion Shillings Gulu Logistic Hub last week. The
road construction is being supervised by Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA
and connects from Gulu-Kampala Highway to the Gulu-Juba Highway, passing
through the two villages of Wii Layibi and Go down.
But 20 people whose pieces of land were attached for the road construction say they
were surprised to see construction works kicking off last week without notification
Mildred Aol, the chairperson of the affected landowners whose half plot of land
was attached says the commencement of road construction on her land came as a
surprise since the government hadn’t fulfilled its commitment on
Aol says her land along with other affected persons were surveyed in 2018
adding that government valuers conducted valuation and validation on the
affected lands in September this year.
She however says they were shocked that the contractor commenced works last
week without their notice adding that they even have nowhere to relocate to in case their houses are demolished.
they have now unanimously decided as landowners to block the construction works
until their money is paid to pave way for their relocation. She also notes that
they demand to be given ample time to relocate from their land to a convenient
//cue in: “so we made…
Joyce Akello, another affected resident says she cannot relocate away from her
homestead without getting compensated. According to Akello, they have
graveyards within their compounds that require traditional ceremonies before
they are exhumed for reburial in a different location which requires money.
She equally reiterates that unless the government compensates her, she won’t
leave the land.
//cue in: “ilok ada joni…
Cue out:… tamo iye ningo.”//
Charles Kalinaki, the UNRA Project Manager for the road construction however
says the majority of the affected persons have already been compensated. He says it’s quite strange that even those
who have already been paid have joined the protest in solidarity with a few
individuals whose payments are pending.
//cue in: “Many people have…
Cue out:…Some more sensitization.”//
Kalinaki acknowledges that the payment for the aggrieved individuals will be
effected in the third quarter by January next year.
however says he is worried about the timeline of the project completion which
has already been affected by nearly two months out of the nine months contract
//cue in: “When government releases…
Cue out:…you to access.”//
UNRA officials have however remained cagey on the numbers of people compensated
and the amount being demanded by the affected landowners.
the Gulu City Mayor Alfred Okwonga who visited the construction site tasked the
UNRA officials to fast track the compensation of the affected landowners to
pave way for the road construction. For now, the affected residents have only
allowed the contractor to proceed with construction works on a proposed bridge,
outside their land boundaries.
Construction of the Gulu Logistics hub began in October 2020 and is expected to
link up the region for trade with South Sudan. The107.3 Billion Shillings hub
designed as a dry port with both rail and truck terminal is funded by European
Union together with UK’s Department for International Development (DFID)
through TradeMark East Africa (TMEA).