Red Pepper Uganda

Centenary Park Demolition Gets Dirty

By Milton Tumusiime

Stuart Yiga

&Ronald Nahabwe

Tough talking Amelia at Centenary park

Yesterday’s early morning razing down of the popular hangout, Centenary Park, in the heart of the city, served a better stage for two senior government officials to wash their dirty linen in public.

The operation conducted by Kampala Capital City Authority to safeguard a greenbelt in the city under the stewardship of firebrand Jennifer Musisi Kiwanuka saw the full wrath of Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde exposed.

“Why doesn’t Musisi behave like a civilised person; she is a terrorist,” the visibly irritated Amelia said.

Amelia branded Musisi a person who does not consider other people’s attitudes and who has no human heart before acting, calling upon her to stop using excessive force when carrying out her activities.

She rushed to Centenary park where KCCA officials had demolished structures, after news had reached her that KCCA Executive Director, Jenifer Musisi Semakula had ordered for the demolition of Lady Charlote building and other permanent structures under Naalongo Estates.

The angry minister also wanted to know why police used excessive force when they were arresting the Managing Director of Naalongo Estates Limited, Sarah Kizito, a wife to Kampala Central Division Mayor Godfrey Nyakana.

The demolition at the site started at around 4:00am, and by 7:30am, the chaos had already started sparked off by the arrest of Sarah Kizito and other five men, which Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, Andrew Felix Kaweesi said had been hired by Nyakana to disrupt the demolition exercise that was being carried out by KCCA.

Amelia said that if  Musisi doesn’t reduce on her speed of doing things, the country might lose investors and also the locals may turn hard-hearted yet they need to be treated with humane.

On May 16, 2006, Naalongo Estates Limited entered into an agreement with then KCC to manage Centenary Park. The agreement was for a period of ten years subject to a number of pertinent conditions among which was that her company was to transform the site into a modern park, and also had to submit to Council development plans for approval before commencement of any work at the park.

Sarah Kizito was also not supposed to erect structures of whatever description without the express permission of the Council. It was agreed that the termination of the contract would occur when either party was in breach of a fundamental term of the agreement, among others.

Musisi claims that several of the structures erected in the park were done without express permission from the Council, yet the greenbelt was fenced off creating a sense of private ownership thereby restricting accessibility to the members of the public.

On April 26, 2012, KCCA issued a notice of termination of the management contract to Naalongo Estates Limited in the respect of Centenary Park (Plot 34E-38E) citing three fundamental breaches;

Commencement of works on the property without approval of the Council, erection of structures on the park without the express permission of the Council, and failure to keep the place at all times free from obstruction and failure to maintain the greenbelt and open for the public use and the absence of an occupation permit.

The termination decision was communicated to Naalongo Estates Ltd on June 28, 2012, and since then, the Managing Director (Sarah Kizito) attempted to drag KCCA into arbitration on the basis of a memorandum of understanding signed regarding the park.

However, the two parties according, to the memorandum of understanding which they signed, mutually agreed that in case of any dispute arising out of interpretation and implementation, such dispute shall be amicably resolved between the parties, in case of failure to resolve the same dispute, the same shall be referred to a mutually agreed soon arbiter.

According to Musisi, Kizito was given 90 days to vacate the park, which means she was supposed to hand over the place by October 1, 2012, which KCCA did not respect because they demolished the structures before the agreed date in the termination letter.

While addressing journalists at KCCA boardroom, Musisi said that they did so because they had got information that some hooligans had planned to disrupt their exercise.

The affected businesses/ persons include; Ice Ways, Car Security Gadgets, Effendy’s, Spice Gardens Ltd, Kidz Avenue, Diva Models, Chineese Restaurant, Vitamin Cafe, Ronah’s Boutique, Olives and Centenary Unisex Saloon.

“The authority in its drive to transform Kampala will not shy away from taking bold decisions and implementing them even if these decisions may cause inconveniences to some members of the public,” Musisi said.

Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Presidential Affairs Committee, Barnabas Tinkasiimire blasted Amelia, accusing her of trying to sabotage Musisi’s work of cleaning up the City.

“Actually, I am going to summon her to my committee and explain why she did so. Is it because she wanted to show these traders that she cares about them because of the lots of cash they dished into her campaigns in Mawokota North, we shall come to know why”, Tinkasiimire added.

On the other hand, acting minister for Kampala, Muruli Mukasa, who is also the Security minister, assured the public of security and appealed to them to remain calm as KCCA tries to modify the City.

Kampala Metropolitan Police boss, Andrew Felix Kaweesi revealed that over five people were arrested during the commotion at Centenary Park, including Sarah Kizito.

When asked about the manner in which Kizito was arrested, he said that was unavoidable especially in such a situation where the chaos had started.

He added that those arrested shall be taken to court to answer different charges. Kizito sustained some bruises as a result of brutal arrest. Nyakana said he heard some KCCA law enforcement officials vowing to strip her naked to establish whether she was putting on a g-string.

Kizito spent the whole day being grilled by police detectives at CPS for allegedly abusing police officers who were on duty and interrupting them.
Nyakana later appeared at CPS alongside family lawyers but were all denied access to talk to Kizito as the detectives lashed at them that they were still they were still busy conducting their investigations.

The press time, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Ibin Senkumbi said police had completed compiling the files of all the arrested including Kizito and they would be arraigned before Buganda Road Court today to be charged with assault of police officers on duty.

Senkumbi said the suspects would spend their nights in coolers so as to be produced in court in the morning.

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