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Church Opposes Incompatible Developments Near Martyrs Shrines

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Rev Esau Bbosa Kimangye, the Assistant Vicar of Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, says they were concerned when they learnt of the development, saying the project is a threat to the safety and security of the museum, where both the church and government have sank a lot of money.
The proposed construction site of the service station

Audio 6

The administrators of Namugongo Anglican Martyrs’ Shrine together with residents of the neighboring Nsawo and Janda villages in Kira Municipality are blaming the authorities for approving development plans, which are incompatible with the area that was recently designated a tourism center.

This follows a decision by Kira municipal authorities allowing Dr. Alice Mondo to construct a pump fuel station a few meters away from Uganda martyrs’ museum. The proposed project is also a stone thrown away from the Muslim martyrs' site. 

However, local and church leaders, say they won’t seat back and watch authorities take a decision, which may impact on their locality negatively. Rev Esau Bbosa Kimangye, the Assistant Vicar of Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, says they were concerned when they learnt of the development, saying the project is a threat to the safety and security of the museum, where both the church and government have sank a lot of money.         

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Rev. Kimangye says besides the fuel pump station there are many questionable projects that have been approved in the area, which has left them wondering on the motives of those behind the project. He points out that there is another developer who has constructed a building almost in one of the gateway to the shrines that was reportedly approved by the municipal authorities. 

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Michael Ssendawula, the Nsawo Village vice-chairperson, says the proposed facilities are placed in heavily congested residential and commercial areas, which according to them is unacceptable. He notes that they have tried to stop any further development of the piece of land that is already graded for construction.

 

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He however, says their efforts are undermined by the municipal authorities who insist that the developer presented all the required paperwork including an Environmental Impact Assessment certificate.  George Kato, the Kira Municipal Senior Physical Planning Officer, says that as far as he is concerned he doesn’t see any reason why a fuel station shouldn’t be put up in the said area.   

He says that although Namugono Division was designated as a tourism area, the municipality has a mixed development model where commercial and residential areas can co-exist. Besides he says the physical planning committee consulted several residents in the area on the project. 

Rev. Kimangye wonders how the said committee could consult people in the area and leave out the church whose project is going to be affected. As far as he is concerned, the government had already mooted an idea of buying off several plots neighboring the shrines to pave way for a well-planned site.  

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Mike Ssentamu, a resident of Nsawo wonders why municipal officials keep on approving construction of fuel service stations in search a densely populated area, saying it is turning into a fuel depot of a sort.

“You look and see from here to the Kyaliwajala it is only petrol station after the other, the authorities must do us a favor we already have enough of such. From the Anglican shrines to catholic, which about 1kiliomtere distance there are over seven existing service stations and another under construction. Then again this one?” wondered Ssentamu.

He wondered whether there aren’t standards guiding such development.

According to Uganda National Bureau of Standards guidelines, different aspects including traffic and environment issues should be considered before the construction of a service station can be permitted. Service stations are not be sited at a distance of not less than 1000metres from each other on the same section of the single carriage road, this applies to either side of the dual carriage road.

Similarly, the national physical planning standards and guidelines point out general separation distances of Liquefied Petroleum Gas filling station from high-rise residential areas, which are about 55metres, 15metres away from commercial, recreational or industrial areas and 50metres from low density residential.