A section of residents from villages surrounding Jinja town are having sleepless nights about a plan by the municipality authority to expand the boundaries of the municipality so as to swell the population of the city in an effort to fulfill the requirements of the proposed city.
This concerns have arisen following the recent decision by the authorities in Jinja municipality to pass a resolution to annex the rural sub counties of Busede, Mafubira and Budondo. But the villagers are worried the move may result into a loss of rights over their land.
Led by the former Contender for Butembe Constituency in Parliament John Banalya, the disgruntled residents have petitioned the Minister for Local Government Adolph Mwesige asking him to halt the elevation of Jinja to a city status until their concerns are resolved.
Banalya told The Sunrise that they are confident the minister will heed their plee because he received the letter. Banalya further noted that Jinja municipality officials hastily passed the resolutions to annex the rural sub-counties without any consultations with the residents, except a few leaders in those sub-counties.
“We very much welcome the city but we believe there is need for our leaders to first consult the locals in the sub counties that are being merged to the municipality in order to meet some of the requirements for the city, including realizing the minimum population of 300,000 people,” Banalya said.
David Abaliwano, a resident of Mafubira Zone B in Mafubira sub-county said that he is worried that the advent of the city will result into them relinquishing rights over their land. He noted that that is more likely with residents without titled land.
“Remember the concerned citizens of Jinja have for long been fighting for rightful occupancy and ownership of land and we believe that without permanent ownership, all our land will be taken under the urban planning act,” said Abaliwano.
Biral Basajjabaka, one of the disgruntled residents called upon the local leaders including the lands, housing and Lands Minister Daudi Migereko who is also the area Member of Parliament for to convene consultative meetings before pushing the city proposal any further.
According the letter, seen by The Sunrise, the residents say: “Failure by your office to stop the illegal inclusion of people into an urban authority without their consent will leave us with no option other than seeking redress in the courts of law.”