We woke up on Thursday to the news that the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) was gearing up to move on land lords who had defaulted on their ground rents and contravened their planning permissions.
Chief among the culprits according to KCCA were the proprietors of the Forest Mall in Lugogo who have been faulted on both counts. KCCA says they will be looking into other property owners.
Last year KCCA moved on some property owners in town on the same grounds.
The developments in the area – Forest Mall and Lugogo Mall have attracted their share of controversy, being as they were originally playing grounds and green areas.
On lookers were baffled when mall came up alongside the older Lugogo Mall and it is interesting to discover that the original permissions were for a hotel, which would have maybe made more sense than the acres of empty space in the half complete Forest Mall a few years after it was opened.
Blame it on the 1970s and 1980s, years of instability where self-preservation took precedence over all else and the law was an inconvenience you did not have to follow. The chaos and unplanned expansion of our city is the logical outcome.
So because maybe we do not know better, the authorities are not keen to enforce or we just choose to ignore the law anyway we litter our city, drive like we are in the taxi park and develop our properties with little regard to the law.
That people are planting billion dollar structures where. When and how they please with no fear of censure shows how wrong things have gone bad.
And it is not just the nouveau riche who have made their billions recently and itching to make a statement. One of the encumbrances on a major 14-floor structure in Kampala, recently valued at sh50b, is that it is built on a road reserve. It probably isn’t the only one.
So our businessmen are jeopardising billions of their supposedly hard earned cash on these building of questionable integrity? It just goes to show how much impunity has been built into the system.
No one will argue against KCCA throwing the book against these offenders but one wonders about this delayed reaction.
In the case of Forest Mall KCCA can be forgiven for not knowing what alternative uses the proprietors would put their “hotel” to, but the mall has been in operation for at least two years, so what has prompted action now? Same to all the other developers who have contravened their build permissions?
I will be the first one to cheer when KCCA is bring sanity to our little town but justice has not only to be done but to be seen to be done.
KCCA has built up a lot of good will by beautifying the city, keeping it clean and try its best to return a semblance of sanity to our lives but they run the danger of being seen to be selectively executing their work for whatever reason and jeopardising the goodwill they have built over time.
Our businessmen should not act as if their money is burning a hole in their pants, building wily nilly and making us wonder about the source of their funds. KCCA on the other hand has done well to shed its image as sluggish public agency but clearly there seems to be a lot more work to do in speeding up its processes. KCCA should be more vigilante in calling offenders to order sooner rather than later.