The implementation of the Shillings 25 billion water project in the Kiyindi sub-county in Buikwe district has hit a snag due to compensation woes. The project undertaken by the Directorate of Water under the Ministry of Water and Environment-MWE with financing from the African Development Fund-ADF was meant to start in October last year and be completed within thirty months.
The Minister contracted the Chinese Railway tenth engineering Group to undertake the project that is meant to supply clean water to over 100, 000 residents of Kiyindi and Najja sub-county, some parts of Buikwe town council and the sub-county.
According to the plan, the contractor was expected to construct a water pump station at Gimbo village in Kiyindi town council. However, 14 residents have declined to surrender their land for the project citing meagre compensation.
Ministry of Water and Environment has planned to compensate each of the Project Affected Persons-PAPs Shillings 2million, which they have since rejected. Jeffrey Kasamo, one of the PAPS, says that he bought his plot of land measuring 100 by 100 at Shillings 7 million. Kasamo says they would surrender their land if the water would be distributed freely to the community, which isn’t the case.
William Kamoga, another resident says that they embraced the project with open hands and accepted to relocate to other places but they need adequate compensation since it involves buying land and losing their food crops such as cassava and banana.
Eng. Felix Twinomucunguzi, the Commissioner in charge of Water and Environment in the Water Minister, says that they were forced to carry out an evaluation whose report is now out. He says that the residents will have to sign consent forms for payment before the project starts.
Residents of Kiyindi have appealed to the government to expedite the compensation to allow the project to start and save them from using dirty water. Amir Kigundu, a resident of Kiyindi, says that the majority of residents depend on contaminated water from Lake Victoria.
Jimmy Kanaabi, the LC 5 Chairperson of Buikwe district, says that almost 60 percent of the diseases affecting the people of Kiyindi are water-related, which he hopes the water project will help address.