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Tenants in Kitgum Municipality Count Losses as Authorities Close Buildings

Since Monday, the authorities have been closing buildings that have defaulted ground rent, temporary occupational permits and property rates.
Kitgum Municipality mayor His Worship Walter Livingst Tooroma in his offices at the Municipal headquaters. Photo By Dan M Komakech

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Traders in Pandwong division, Kitgum Municipality are stranded after law enforcement officers locked several buildings for non-payment of taxes.

Since Monday, the authorities have been closing buildings that have defaulted ground rent, temporary occupational permits and property rates.

Teddy Akot, a landlady at Mon Bunyu cell whose shops were all closed on Monday says her tenants are counting losses since they have failed to access their businesses. She says her repeated plea to make payments in instalments has been denied by the authorities.

Richard Obur a resident of Bar Dege Cell says he spent the night in the cold after his rental apartments were all locked up by enforcement officers on Tuesday. 

Obur wants the operation halted and ample time given to landlords since the division authorities had never issued them with prior demand notices.

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Winnie Abalo, a program officer at the Human Rights Monitor Uganda advises the municipal authorities to consider other measures of compelling the property owners to pay revenue obligations other than closing their houses. 

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Richard Komakech, another trader says that it is unfair for the authorities to target tenants since the burden of paying the revenue lies on the landlords.

Pandwong division town clerk Patrick Ouma says that property owners whose buildings were closed have been evading taxes for the past two years.

 “The crackdown is being carried out in accordance with a recent resolution by council that has faulted the authority for failure to adequately collect taxes which should help in implementing council’s business and obligations which residents are complaining of like garbage collection and other council business”

Ouma wants the property owners to pay revenues and desist against attacking division and municipal officials while on duty. 

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