The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi has out rightly rejected recommendations to renew the Centenary Park lease, which expired in May last year. The recommendation is contained in a report prepared the Physical Planning and Legal Affairs Committee of the Authority chaired by Kyambogo University councilor, Burhan Byaruhanga.
In 2006, Kampala City Council, the predecessor of Kampala Capital City Authority leased plot 34E-38E Jinja road measuring 3.13 hectares for 10yrs to M/s Nalongo Estates Ltd to develop, utilise and maintain Centenary Park as a recreational park and bridal garden. In May 2011, Kampala district contracts committee further awarded a 5yr sub lease for plot 5 Park Links and plot 96A-100A along Kitante road to M/s Nalongo Estates Ltd. These plots make up Centenary Park.
As lease expiry drew closer, M/s Nalongo Estates Ltd wrote to KCCA requesting for a renewal in vain. In September last year, the Managing Director of Nalongo Estates petitioned the Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago “seeking his indulgence so that KCCA extends the leases” for the land on, which Centenary park is located.
As a result, Lukwago tasked the Physical Planning and Legal Affairs Committee of the Authority to handle the matter. The committee tabled its findings this morning before the city council meeting at Imperial Golf View hotel in Entebbe.
“The recommendation of the Kampala City Council (KCC) water, works and policy proposing sub – leasing of plot 34E-38E to Nalongo estates should be operationalised by the authority and a transfer process commenced…KCCA should take responsibility for the delayed response to Nalongo estates submissions (lease applications) which led to expiration of leases and management contracts before any action was taken. It is only fair that the renewal of the expired sub lease for plots 96A-100A and 5 Park Link should be fast tracked,” the report reads in part.
However, the KCCA ED, Jennifer Musisi rejected the recommendation, saying the centenary park land will be used for public projects including the anticipated Jinja Road – Kitgum House flyover. She informed the council that government has already entered an agreement with Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) for the proposed construction of Jinja Road – Kitgum House flyover.
She also disclosed that the Japanese government only accepted to commit money after receiving clearance from Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) that the land would be availed without compensation, adding that UNRA directed KCCA not to lease the land.
However, Byaruhanga contested Musisi’s explanation, saying “it’s irregular for a government agency UNRA to instruct another government agency KCCA on how to conduct its business. Therefore UNRA writing to KCCA directing that the lease for Nalongo estates should not be extended appears to be usurping the roles and power of KCCA.”
The other part of centenary park land, Musisi said is also being affected by two government projects including the UMEME electricity sub-power station, national water and sewage corporation water project.
“Because we are the owner of the park, we have already committed a big chunk of that part to UMEME, National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) and JICA projects,” she said. Musisi told the council she will meet M/s Nalongo Estates Ltd on Friday to officially inform them of the projects, which will consume the land.
She said President Yoweri Museveni chaired meetings to discuss the fate of Centenary Park fate, and directed that government projects should take precedence over all other issues.
Both the Political and technical wing agreed to Nalongo Estates Ltd priority if some of the land remains.