Construction of the road linking to Gulu Logistics Hub has stalled for close to two weeks now after landowners in Wii Layibi village blocked the road works over the government’s failure to compensate them. They also claim that the boundary surveyed and pegged for the road works doesn’t clearly define the road reserve.
Officials from the Uganda National Roads Authority - UNRA have pleaded with landowners in Wii Layibi village in Bardege-Layibi
Division, Gulu Municipality to allow a Chinese contractor to start construction
of a 2.2 Kilometer access road.
Construction of the road linking
to Gulu Logistics Hub has stalled for close to two weeks now after landowners
in Wii Layibi village blocked the road works over the government’s failure to
compensate them. They also claim that the boundary surveyed and pegged for the road
works doesn’t clearly define the road reserve.
The road works to be undertaken
by Zhongmei Engineering Group Ltd have affected a total of 135 landowners in
the two villages but by early this month, only 85 project-affected persons had
been fully compensated.
However, during a meeting with the project-affected
persons on Sunday afternoon, UNRA officials requested that the landowners allow
the contractor to kick off road works to beat the project dateline of July 18,
Annet Gloria Nambusi, UNRA’s Environment
and Social officer for the road project says the protest has delayed road construction by two months. She asked the aggrieved residents to allow the contractor to kick off bush
clearing on one side of the road where the project-affected persons had already
been compensated to beat the project dateline.
Nambusi noted that compensation for the last group of the project-affected persons is slated for the third
quarter in January 2022 when the government has released cash for the
compensation. Uganda Radio Network-URN understands that a total of shillings 3
billion is expected to be paid out to the affected landowners.
Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the Bardege-Layibi Division Legislator in Gulu City, however, says there is a need by UNRA surveyors to conduct boundary
opening along the contested lands to ensure transparency. He says there are conflicting
reports from both the project-affected persons and UNRA officials on the exact
size of land pegged for both road reserve and the tarmacking.
//cue in: “what I have…
Cue out:…be compensated for.”//
Mapenduzi also requested the
locals who have already been compensated to allow the contractor to commence
road works to save the government’s money from going to waste.
He notes that
the contractor should however work strictly on areas that have been fully compensated
minus crossing into boundaries where the landowners haven’t yet been paid.
//Cue in: “The contractor should…
Cue out:…of the area.”//
Alfred Otong, one of the project-affected
persons says as residents of the area, they aren’t against the project but their
concerns have been on the non-transparent mode of operation of UNRA and the
He says they were earlier deceived that their money for compensation
would be delivered before road works commence but they were surprised to see
the contractor already on the ground even before payment.
//cue in: “pe wa tiye…
Cue out:…ni tic ocake.”//
Otong has asked the government to
honor their promises of delivering compensation to the project-affected persons
by January next year.
//cue in: “ceng aryo moni…
Cue out:…ka cung iye.”//
Following resolutions from the Sunday
meeting, UNRA officials have agreed to conduct a fresh boundary opening on
Tuesday along with the affected persons and concurrently embark on bush clearing on lands that the government has
already made compensation.