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Kabarole Leaders Allocate ZARDI Land for Construction of Stadium :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Kabarole Leaders Allocate ZARDI Land for Construction of Stadium

On Tuesday, Kabarole district leaders including the LCV Chairperson Richard Rwabuhinga, Woman Member of Parliament Sylvia Rwabwogo and Fort Portal Municipality MP Alex Ruhunda met with the State Minister for Sports, Hamson Denis Obua and allocated 18.2 acres of land for a regional stadium.
Alex Ruhunda, the member of parliament for Fort Portal municipality that is now a toursim city, speaking to journalists about the piece of land that has been allocated for stadium construction.

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The allocation of part of Kyembogo Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute – ZARDI land for the construction of a stadium has drawn a mixed reaction.  

In 2012, NARO took over management of Kyembogo and it became a ZARDI. Kyembogo located in Busoro Sub County was formerly the District Agricultural Training and Information Centre (DATIC). Currently, NARO is using part of the land for research and technology dissemination in livestock, crop, fisheries and forestry.

On Tuesday, Kabarole district leaders including the LCV Chairperson Richard Rwabuhinga, Woman Member of Parliament Sylvia Rwabwogo and Fort Portal Municipality MP Alex Ruhunda met with the State Minister for Sports, Hamson Denis Obua and allocated 18.2 acres of land for a regional stadium.   

According to Rwabuhinga, President Yoweri Museveni in 2018 pledged assistance for the construction of a State of the Art stadium in the district. He adds that the President also tasked the leaders to find suitable land where the stadium will be constructed.    

Rwabuhinga says that efforts to get land from Tooro Kingdom and the Catholic Church did not yield positive results.

Marjorie Kansiime, a resident in the area, says the people of Tooro should have been consulted because the area is demarcated for agricultural activities.  

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Prof Edward Rugumayo, the Chairperson of the Tooro Elders Forum, notes that the leaders should have found another location for the stadium and not on a prime land like Kyembogo.  

“I am not happy with this decision. Government or Kabarole can secure land along Saka road or Harugongo. How can we take acres of prime land and give it for a stadium? What about Bukwali stadium? What happens to the industrial park?” Rugumayo wonders.  

Nicholas Mujuni, a resident says Kyembogo land should have been reserved to cater for the looming scarcity of land for farming.  

“Imagine if Covid-19 hit us in the middle of a famine. Fortunately, majority Ugandans had a relatively cheap source of food provided from their small farms or gardens. If we are hit by harsh climatic conditions subsequently causing famine, l do not imagine our government feeding majority of Ugandans for one year,” he says.  

But Rwabuhinga says that the Uganda Land Commission has already allowed them to use the land. He also adds that the stadium will have at least 60,000 seats and is hopeful that it will equally spur development in the area.

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However, it should be noted that several planned projects have in the past years been allocated land in Kyembogo, but they are either behind schedule or no activity is taking place.  

For instance, Gen Salim Saleh, the coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation – OWC, launched the Kabarole Agro-industrial Park in 2018, but to date, there is no visible work taking place on the land measuring 500 acres.  

Buhinga stadium construction started in March 2018 but to date, only a perimeter wall is completed. In an interview with URN recently, the head of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces- UPDF Engineering Brigade, Besigye Bekunda, said they had only been contracted to construct the perimeter wall.   

In 2017, the then Local Government Minister Tom Butime intervened in a land row involving NARO, Kabarole district and Mountains of the Moon University.

The dispute stemmed from a 2014 presidential directive to Uganda Land Commission to allocate 200 acres of Kyembogo land to Mountains of the Moon University to set up a Dairy research centre. On the same land, which measures 503 acres, Kabarole district acquired 100 acres for the establishment of an industrial park.

However, NARO contested the acreage given to the two institutions. It argued that the remaining 200 acres were not enough for it to carry out research. Following NARO's protest, Mountains of the Moon University and Kabarole district local government halted activities on the land.