Zain Uganda Blocked from Building a New Mast in Rukungiri

1850 Views Rukungiri, Uganda
The construction of a new mast for Zain Uganda in Rukungiri district has been halted. Dan Kaguta, the Resident District Commissioner, told a meeting of more than 100 residents of Itemba Hill at the border of Buhunga and Kebisoni sub-counties that construction has been suspended until their grievances regarding the process by which land was taken for the building of the mast are resolved. He said the Rukungiri district leadership would be required to answer why they sold land to Zain without the consent of the property owners before any further developments could proceed. Last month Zain Uganda started constructing a road leading to the top of Itemba Hill where their mast is to be located. The telecom company's builders however did not go far with their work. They were threatened by spear and machete-wielding residents who said the construction could not proceed without answers as to who gave them a right to access their land. Two senior district officials in Rukungiri, the LC5 chairperson Zedekia Karokora and the Chief Administrative Officer Owen Rujumba, are reportedly behind the Zain deal. It is alleged that they ignored rules of the public procurement and disposal of government assets by illegally selling a 40,000 square-meter plot of land to Zain Uganda for 27 million shillings. In an interview two weeks ago, Zedekia Karokora maintained that all the parties involved in the lease were consulted. He said all owners of the land will be compensated for the sale. The LC5 councilor for Buhunga, Henry Ndyabahika, says the matter needs more investigation. He reveals that the district council will debate the land sale, as a matter of priority, at their next meeting on August 27th.