More than 500 residents in Mukono district who will be affected by the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway(SGR)are uncertain about payments.
The Ministry of Works in 2016 surveyed and marked the corridor in Mukono where the project will pass to connect to other countries of East Africa.
The residents from the villages of Kigombya and Kiwugo argue that ever since SGR officials earmarked their property for compensation in 2016, they are yet to be compensated.
Hamza Ssebadduka, a resident says that they were advised to stop further developments on the land to avoid re-evaluation demands at the time of payments but they are now wondering about the time wasted while waiting.
“We vacated the land after confirming that the land was confirmed for compensation but until now, nothing is being done.”
Bernard Jjuuko, another affected resident says that he had just bought the land and started building a house, but was stopped from construction after evaluation of the land.
“I have lost trust in SGR for the time I have waited for the compensation in vain, I am as well scared of losing my land after marking stones were removed and now hard to determine boundaries.”
The Kigombya LC I chairperson James Mujunga notes that the residents’ livelihood has been affected because they cannot invest in farming activities. He explains that people are struggling to feed their families after most of their gardens turned into bushes.
The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Works and Transport Waiswa Bageya has asked the residents to remain calm. He explains that the Ministry is working on the final approval of their evaluation report for the payments to be processed.
“Residents are raising strong concerns but we appeal to them to remain calm and patiently wait. We are ensuring that their evaluation report is approved by the Ministry of Finance for payment processes to start for the section of Jinja to Kampala,” Bageya says.
The Standard Gauge railway is expected to link regional economies mainly the inland markets within the East African Community to the sea ports; Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania and Mombasa of Kenya.
In 2014, EAC member countries in the Northern Corridor signed a protocol to have the Standard Gauge Railway which is funded by China.
Project works that started in Kenya have already stretched through Nairobi to Naivasha, and soon will connect to Kisumu and later Malaba.
There has been tension about the slow progress on the side of Uganda with fears that the project could hit a snag.