KAMPALA: Members of the Nsambya Carpentry and Joinery Training Association (NSACAJA) are very angry about the money the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) gave them to move to a new place.
UNRA released a sum of $427 million in February this year to facilitate the relocation of close to 2000 carpenters from the Nsambya-Ggaba road reserve to pave the way for the construction of the flyover.
In 2016, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni promised to construct a permanent home for the carpenters who had been operating in the road reserve for more than 20 years. The state house has spent more than Sh3 billion on this project, which includes buying land in Kigo, machines, and building workshops.
Under the same project, the government plans to establish a state-of-the-art carpentry and joinery village with training facilities, workshops, showrooms, and other necessary facilities.
The carpenters have since failed to agree on how to use the money disbursed by UNRA for their relocation. Saddam Moses Muleme, the former chairperson of the Nsambya Carpentry and Joinery Training Association—NSACAJA, says that problems started when people learned that UNRA had deposited money on their account and each wanted to take off their share.
Muleme says, “Many individuals have arm-twisted me to share the 427 million shillings from UNRA with the over 1,500 carpenters, yet it was facilitation for relocation, not compensation as these people wanted,” Muleme says.
He also says that Major Emmanuel Kuteesa is causing carpenters to split up and wonders where he gets the power to overthrow a leadership that the president even respected.
According to Muleme, the Statehouse Anti-Corruption Unit cleared him of all the charges of financial misdeeds and let him keep running the resettlement program.
Some of the carpenters told URN that they are yet to move to Kigo because of transport challenges. Brian Mawanda, one of the carpenters, says that transportation costs are keeping them from moving to Kigo because most of them live in Nsambya. This is why most of them have moved to other parts of the city.
Mutesasira says people have refused to go there in protest against Muleme’s administration, which he accuses of stealing their relocation grant from UNRA.
Doreen Kagabi Keita, the Deputy Resident City Commissioner in charge of the Makindye division who has been overseeing the relocation process, says that everything is moving on very well, adding that the carpenters now have their own home as the president promised them.