TOTAL CHAOS AS MORE WAKISO LEADERS DENOUNCE KITENDE’S MULINDWA 4 BLOCKING PUBLIC ROAD AFFECTING 50,000 PEOPLE
By Joshua Walakira
Wakiso LC5 Chairman Matia Lwanga Bwanika has commended Kitende residents for lodging a formal complaint (against St. Mary’s Kitende proprietor Lawrence Mulindwa) at Catherine Bamugemereire’s land Commission of Inquiry. In a phone interview, Bwanika told this news website that the entire Wakiso leadership at the different levels were increasingly becoming appalled at the impunity with which Mulindwa has been acting. “He is too arrogant and I think he is drunk on his wealth and thinks riches can be everything. Nobody else matters and yet legally you can’t block a public road that has existed for over 100 years. Public interest must always supersede private interest. Mulindwa found that public road there but arrogantly blocked it saying it’s in his land. My mother owns land that is on both sides of Entebbe road which disjoints her property. Should she also close Entebbe road because it’s her land? This is total impunity and arrogance which isn’t good for Mulindwa as a businessman. How do you do business in a community where everybody is against you?” said Bwanika who is one of the many top leaders local residents have been petitioning since June 2018 when Mulindwa’s expansionist ambitions first pushed him to close the public road.
HOW IT STARTED;
Back then Mulindwa wrote to area RDC Rose Kirabira who authorized him to close the road and divert traffic. Local residents are bitter that the closed road was being used by over 50,000 people including school children that now have to spend extra 2 hours reaching their surrounding schools because Mulindwa closed off the short cut. “But the RDC legally has no power to authorize closure of public roads. She dubiously intimidated our Kajjansi town council town clerk [Harriet Nakyazze] and permitted him to close the road yet she has no powers. There are procedures you go through even when you have justification to close the road. Mulindwa breached all procedure and he is now facing growing hostility from the community. We wrote to him letters and he ignored all of them up to this day. He is too powerful even his construction works are being guarded by soldiers. He seems more powerful than even ministers because he doesn’t even fear Justice Bamugemereire,” Bwanika said. “He might think we are quiet but we haven’t given up. We shall continue calling on our people to defend their rights. Who is he to block the road which the local community has used for decades to go to church and hospital?” This news website established that indeed the local residents (from the 6 villages affected by this closure) petitioned the Commission but we couldn’t access its Secretary Dr. Douglous Singiza for an update on how far they have gone. He never responded to our calls and text messages. Bwanika says the Commission asked Mulindwa to stop but the tycoon from Mawokota just ignored them. It’s also true the Commission asked the Kajjansi Town Clerk Harriet Nakyazze to write for them a report which she did greatly indicting Mulindwa.
MAILO OWNER BASHES MULINDWA;
Bwanika’s concerns are corroborated by Mzee Samuel Stanley Mukasa Bulega (the Mailo owner) from whom Mulindwa bought. Bulega curses Mulindwa for closing the road the local people have been using to access Kitende P/S (UPE), Kitende SS (USE), Kitende CoU and Kajjansi dispensary. Bulega says even when the road is part of the land Mulindwa bought from him, he made it clear in the sale agreement that the public road would be spared, an understanding Mulindwa has now breached. Apart from Rose Kirabira (the RDC who has since been transferred), Kajjansi Mayor the elderly Patrick Nelson Byekwaso is the only local leader endorsing the road closure. The problem though is that, fearing to lose political popularity, the Mayor’s support is only verbal. He has been reluctant to put his approval in writing, a thing that continues to deprive Mulindwa of the much needed moral support to carry on with his school expansion. Area MP Peter Sematimba has also previously investigated the same and has reportedly written a brief to the President calling on him to intervene. Town Clerk Nakyazze says Mulindwa’s actions remain illegal and unanimously condemned by all people in Kajjansi town council. She says the area physical planning committee, whose approval is mandatory, voted to have Mulindwa’s expansion works forcefully halted because they are illegal and contrary to public policy. Nakyazze says they can only permit Mulindwa’s closure of the road if all the concerned residents are consulted and their consent secured. Last week, Mulindwa got the Kajjansi Magistrate throw out an injunction the local residents had applied for. His supporters, about 30 of them, took to the streets to celebrate. But other residents say the guys who jubilated are aliens and not Kitende residents. The aggrieved residents responded to the Magistrate’s ruling (throwing out the entire case on grounds that they sued a wrong party) by calling an emergency village meeting. The last week meeting brought together concerned residents (from the 6 villages of Kitende A, Kitende B, Kawoto B etc) many of them are prominent people working in Kampala. At the end of the meeting, 8 lawyers (who happen to be residents as well) constituted themselves into a legal team that is going to re-instate the case. The gathered residents cheered wildly after the 8 lawyers assured them they would prosecute the case free of charge. All they need is everybody’s cooperation to assemble enough evidence in the fresh suit. Bwanika says the public to defend this public road is going to be an opportunity for the Kitende residents to demonstrate to Mulindwa that his money can’t win against “People Power.” Bwanika agrees that Mulindwa might be having some justifications and genuine concerns but “his arrogant approach” has hardened everybody to be against him.
MULINDWA SPEAKS OUT;
On his part Mulindwa says the diversion of the public road is justifiable and long overdue. And that its meant to protect his school community, the students and staff who often get knocked by fast-passing motorists because the road cuts his school facilities mid-way. On the lower side are the sporting facilities to which his students converge every evening (5pm) for their co-curricular activities. Mulindwa says he is sensitive to the neighboring community concerns which is why he is spending money to “put in place an alternative route through [the] Kijapan [neighborhood] to Kajjansi for public use.” He says as a responsible investor and school proprietor, he is accountable to parents (his clients) whose “innocent children” and staff he has an obligation to protect against exposure to rampant hit and run accidents. Bwanika says the community members and leaders are ready to listen to all these concerns but Mulindwa must humble himself and be available to interact with all stakeholders. Solomon Bugembe, an outspoken businessman who for years has been using this public road to carry his merchandize, agrees with Bwanika that Mulindwa is too indifferent to other people. “The other day we called a community meeting and he never turned up. Instead he sent a low profile representative who couldn’t discuss anything with residents,” Bugembe says. “That alternative route he is talking about can’t work because these are poor people’s children in UPE schools. They are now walking an extra distance of 1.5kms to reach school and church because of Mulindwa’s actions. We like development which comes with a human face.” Bugembe admits the area has greatly benefited from Mulindwa’s school as value of property has increased “but that can’t compensate for our public road.” Bugembe also says its wrong strategy for Mulindwa to concentrate on the much-loathed RDCs at the expense of engaging with area elected leaders. “As residents we have actually had no direct benefits from his school but detriment only. Our children don’t study there and even his scholarships only go to sportsmen and women. The jobs haven’t come to our people at all because his teachers and other workers are from away,” said Bugembe claiming a good number of Mulindwa’s own employees are quietly opposed to their boss’ indifference. That the aggrieved employees have been very helpful giving the aggrieved residents facts and secrets to use to bring down Mulindwa through the court process. Bugembe says the residents are optimistic the solution will come from Bamugemereire and not area courts whose impartiality he says in doubt. For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755.