Regional News


By Chris M Bruno

HOIMA: Hoima city council councillors have passed a resolution of halting the construction of storied buildings within the city whose approved plans were altered by the landlords.

The resolution was made on Tuesday during a council session to establish a committee to investigate how some buildings are being constructed without the knowledge of the city authorities.

According to Iddi Magezi, the councillor for East Division, such buildings are endangering the lives of the people because they are shoddily being constructed.

‘’We shouldn’t endanger the lives of our people who are going to occupy those buildings. We need a report about the status of such buildings in the city because one wakes up in the morning and decides to change his house into a storied building which is very dangerous,’’ he added.

Joshua Byenkya, another member of the council said council had taken the decision because of the illegal storied buildings which are coming up within the city.

‘’We need to ensure that we get a status report of each building which was condemned many years ago but owners now are changing them into storied buildings,’’ he asserted.

Byenkya noted that the council is coming up to control the construction of buildings within the city so as to avoid dangers which may occur in future.

It’s alleged that several landlords in Hoima are illegally altering the approved plans of their houses to set up shops. This is prompted by the shortage of commercial premises in the city.

Joseph Musinguzi a resident of Mpaaro said that council enforcement officials should come out and demolish some of the illegal structures which are coming out.

‘’Some people have started converting their residential houses into shops without approval from the council and that is very dangerous,’’ Musinguzi said.

Musinguzi accused some of the city council officials of pushing for the illegal alteration of building plans which he said has made the planning process of the town very difficult.

‘’Some of the landlords connive with technocrats from the city council and they work day and night and within three weeks a storied building is completed,” he said.

Sylvia Nalumaga, the deputy mayor for Hoima City blames the continued construction of illegal structures in the city to the absence of the building committee.

‘’The building committee is supposed to scrutinize, review, monitor, issue building and occupation permits, ensuring adherence to designs and construction of buildings in proper localities,’’ said Nalumaga.

She added that the absence of the building committee in the city is giving room to the construction of illegal structures but they are setting up a board which will review some of the buildings.

‘’We have halted the construction of some buildings and we are going to constitute a board to carry out more investigations on the status of the affected buildings and report back to the council,’’ Nalumaga added.

Nalumaga further added that the absence of the committee has led to the loss of local revenue and an increase in the construction of structures in protected areas such as wetlands, road reserves and forest reserves.

‘’Under normal procedures, a person who intends to erect a temporary building applies to the building committee for a building permit after attaching a copy of a site plan detailed architectural drawings to enable the building committee to determine the size, form materials of construction and use of the proposed building,’’ she said.

William Kasigazi the Deputy Resident City Commissioner for Hoima East Division said that the security team will work with the city council officials in ensuring that they address the challenges which are being faced as to develop the city.

‘’We need development in our city but it must follow the law and council officials should also move to the communities and carry out more sensitization because some people may not even be knowing the process of acquiring an approved building plan,’’ he said.

Kasigazi said that there was a need for the council to move very fast and identify wetlands and have them gazetted so that they are not encroached on.

‘’Most of the wetlands within the city are not gazetted and it’s very difficult to protect a wetland which is not gazetted and people have been encroaching on them,’’ he noted.

Charles Kabiri, the Hoima City deputy town clerk however said that for some of the buildings they have their status reports from engineers in Kampala.

‘’We have some reports by certified engineers about the status of some of the buildings within the city and we shall provide them to the council,’’ he said.

According to the Building Control Act 2020, once a building control officer fails to approve or decline to accept the application within 21 days the applicant may decide to commence with the construction.

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