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Condemned Buildings Continue to Grace Gulu Town

A 2010 assessment conducted by a team of engineers and health experts found that 114 houses out of the 224 buildings inspected in the town were in very poor conditions that placed the lives of the inhabitants at risk. The assessment, which focused on the structural, electrical, environmental and physical aspects of the buildings, found that only 44 of the buildings in the town were fit for use while 66 were recommended for rehabilitation.

Audio 1

Condemned building structures continue to grace Gulu town, over a year after an assessment report called for their demolition over their poor state.

 

Life has continued normally with the inhabitants, landlords and the municipal authority all showing little bother. 

 

A 2010 assessment conducted by a team of engineers and health experts found that 114 houses out of the 224 buildings inspected in the town were in very poor conditions that placed the lives of the inhabitants at risk. The assessment, which focused on the structural, electrical, environmental and physical aspects of the buildings, found that only 44 of the buildings in the town were fit for use while 66 were recommended for rehabilitation.

 

Despite this scary picture, people continue to occupy most of the buildings while the municipal council is dragging the process of demolishing the structures despite the dangers they pose. In August 2009, two children died when a dilapidated building collapsed on them along Lacor road. To date, parts of the same building have remained standing waiting to claim the next victim. At the roundabout on Queen’s Avenue, traders operating electrical and merchandise shops have continued to conduct business as usual despite the front pillars of the building falling in.

 

Another building previously housing an MTN shop forced its inhabitants out after it fell in and injured one person. The building is owned by foreign affairs state minister, Henry Okello Oryem.

 

Most of the buildings in question were put up in the 1950s by Asian traders but are now occupied by other people.

 

George Labeja, the Gulu municipality Mayor says he acknowledges the dangers posed by the buildings. He explains that last week, the municipal authority began distributing letters to both the landlords and the tenants with warnings that the buildings should be demolished 90 days.

 

He said the municipal council would carry out the demolition if the owners fail to do so. He however warned that the cost of the destruction would be borne by the landlords.

 

//Cue in: “We have started issuing…”

Cue out: “…approved by the municipal council.”//

 

Margaret Adong, a businesswoman renting one of the premises in town said she is worried that the move would increase the scarcity of business premises in the town and subsequently increase the rent of the few available ones.

 

Cypriano Ocaya, a landlord of one of the premises supposed to be demolished has expressed worry at the cost of acquiring a new building plan and building materials amidst the current high inflation.

 

Morris Ocira, a boda boda motorist said it is embarrassing for Gulu to claim to pursue a city status with the current old buildings that are falling apart.

 

The municipality has been fighting to attain a city status.

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