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Centenary Park Evictees Ponder Next Move

Their predicament started with the demolition of Nyama Choma Place, Blue Bar, Best Chinese Restaurant and Indian Restaurant at the park on Monday, to pave for the construction of a booster pumping station by National Water and Sewerage Corporation-NWSC.
Some of the affected tenants at centenary park stranded with their property.

Audio 2

Tenants from four demolished structures at Centenary Park are stranded after their source of income was turned upside down.

Their predicament started with the demolition of Nyama Choma Place, Blue Bar, Best Chinese Restaurant and Indian Restaurant at the park to pave for the construction of a booster pumping station by National Water and Sewerage Corporation-NWSC.

This is part of a bigger project which covers the interconnection with the low level system in Nakasero, laying a new 5km transmission line from Centenary Park to Naguru Reservoir and installation of a booster station which is expected to add 6 million liters of water per day to the Naguru Reservoir and boost supply to parts of Ntinda, Bukoto, Kisaasi, Kulambiro, Najjera, Kyanja, Kungu and Buwaate, all suburbs of Kampala.

As National Water and Sewerage Corporation rolls out the works, former tenants of the demolished buildings are crying foul. Several of them say they had not sought out a relocation plan before the demolition.

Collins Shida, one of the managers at the Best Chinese Restaurant said they were confused by contradicting information about the eviction exercise with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) officials requiring them to vacate while army officials deployed recently told them to continue working.

He told URN that the eviction has rendered 15 staff of Best Chinese Restaurant jobless. These include nine girls and six boys.

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Jane Katusabe said she was sub-renting from Best Chinese Restaurant where she was preparing breakfast for customers in various banks around the area. She says that the eviction destabilized her operations.

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Nassim, an employee at the Indian Restaurant said they were not informed early enough to vacate the structures before the demolition exercise started. She now asks the responsible officials to help them construct new structures within the park so that their business resumes.  

More demolitions are expected to take place at the park as other government projects utilize the land in question. They include   the Kampala Flyover and Road Reconstruction Project undertaken by Uganda National Roads Authority -UNRA and the construction of a power substation by Umeme Limited.

They were initially delayed by controversies on the management of the park located along Kitante Road and Jinja Road following the expiry of a management contract awarded to M/S Nalongo Estates Ltd by Kampala Capital City Authority over ten years ago.

M/S Nalongo Estates Ltd, a company owned by city business woman Sarah Kizito, was expected to among others, develop bridal gardens and to maintain the area as a green public open space but instead constructed a number of permanent structures in contravention of the contract with Kampala City Council-KCC.