Retired Civil Servants Protest Evictions

1804 Views Mbale, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
They claim that they undertook to pay for the houses in installment through Housing Finance Company Limited, which was contracted by government to handle the mortgage.

More than 10 retired civil servants occupying former government houses in Mbale have petitioned the president and parliament over their impending eviction by Housing Finance Company Limited. The petitioners claim that, they were offered the houses as sitting tenants in 1994 in line with the government policy to divest itself from housing civil servants through, the then Ministry of Lands, Housing and Physical Planning.
 
They claim that they undertook to pay for the houses in installment through Housing Finance Company Limited, which was contracted by government to handle the mortgage. However, the former government employees claim that after paying more than three quarters of the money expected from them, Housing Finance has sold off their houses to other people. They claim that the company has issued them with eviction notices to pave way for the new owners.
 
65 –Year–old Dr Justin Aongat Egolu, a retired veterinary doctor says that he was offered a house on Plot 42 in Buwalasi View in Mbale Municipality at 18 million shillings. He says that according to the agreement, he was expected to pay monthly installments for 15 years. Egolu says that he has so far paid 17.3 million shillings within six years, but he was shocked to receive an eviction notice from Housing Finance Company through Superstar Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs. He is expected to leave the house by 31st March 2013.
 
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Francis Adima, the elder son to Dr. Egolu says there is no way their family will leave the house because it was  was given to his father as part of his retirement benefit. He says his father has paid more than what is expected of him. Adima says that his family occupied the house in question for more than 25 years and has nowhere to go to.
 
He says unless parliament or the office of the President intervenes, they will not leave the house and their father’s money go to waste.

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Margret Kabagenyi, a retired District Education Officer says they have pleaded with Housing Finance Company Limited to stop the fraudulent eviction in vain. She says that they have decided to drag the company to court to retain the houses they were given as retirement gifts by government.
 
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Richard Masaba, the Branch Manager of Housing Finance Bank in Mbale rubbished the claims that the company is conniving with some rich people to grab the pensioners’ land. He instead accused some of the pensioner of failing to service their mortgage loans, which has led to their proposed eviction. He appealed to those with genuine complaints to approach Housing Finance Company to sort out the matter.
 
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Denis Obbo, the spokesperson Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development told Uganda Radio Network on Thursday that they were not aware of the issue. He asked the affected family to send a formal complaint to the ministry for redress. Recently President Yoweri Museveni issued a directive stopping unnecessary eviction of tenants across the country.

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.