The Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra), yesterday commenced the highly anticipated exercise of pulling down structures within gazatted road reserves on all national roads leading out of the Kampala Central Business District.
Unra started with the demolition of temporary structures—part of Kabaka’s market, kiosks and other makeshift assemblies—at Kibuye on Entebbe Road. The exercise, first announced three months ago, billed as an operation to re-create space for passenger walkways and to de-congest roads, followed a series of briefings with the affected persons, local leaders, MPs and security agencies to create enough awareness and stave off a possible political backlash.
Unra’s head of enforcement, Mr John Ssejemba, said yesterday they will continue to monitor, supervise and make sure no encroacher comes back in the road reserves they are clearing along national roads.
“We started this exercise at midnight with the market vendors at Kibuye market, but I want to thank those who responded to our appeals and left on their own,” Mr Ssejemba said, further appealing to those still encroaching on the reserves in areas that have been earmarked to “leave on your own before we destroy your property.”
For permanent structures, Mr Ssejemba revealed ongoing processes by the road authority’s legal team to secure court orders permitting demolition of permanent structures within the reserves. The approach of court orders, he said, has been attempted by the Kampala Capital City Authority and helps to cushion against any imminent legal maneuvers by the affected persons to delay the exercise.
Structures on road reserves are illegal and the encroachers will not be compensated.
Mr Ivan Nsubuga, the Kavule zone chairperson, said although most affected persons (street vendors) are in the wrong, government should allocate them somewhere else to operate from.
After the demolitions on Kampala-Entebbe highway, Unra plans to shift the phased exercise on outbound city routes to Jinja, Masaka, Mityana, Hoima and Bombo.