The construction of the Kigamba-Kijjabwemi bypass in Masaka City has suffered a setback due to the failure to relocate graves.
The graves are believed to be of people who once owned a home next to the main entrance of the Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA Masaka zonal regional offices located in Kijjabwemi B cell, Kimanya-Kabonera division.
The eleven graves are laying within the route of the 1.3 kilometers old Kigamba-Kijjabwemi bypass which the city council earmarked for general rehabilitation and expansion in this financial year.
Tonny Ssempijja, the Masaka City Council Speaker says that about two months ago, shortly after the demarcation of the road design, a group of six people whom he says are unknown to the local community raided the area and performed traditional rituals before reconstituting the graves which they heaped with gravel stones that creates visible landscapes.
Ssempijja indicates that the claimants also constructed a traditional shrine next to the graves and have since disappeared without a trace, hence leaving the City council stuck on how to deal with the situation.
He explains that the contractor is equally stuck because the graves have become a barrier to the project works, yet they cannot be removed without the consent of the said relatives.
Dickson Mutambuze, the Vice Chairperson for Kijjabwemi Ward is suspicious that graves were created by speculators with intention of fleecing the city council in the guise of seeking compensation for the graves.
He says the group which claimed to have traveled from Entebbe approached his office and sought permission and before it was granted, they went ahead to reconstitute the graves which according to him have never existed before.
Vincent Kasumba, the Chairperson of Masaka City Development Forum; which is a stakeholders’ committee responsible for supervising public infrastructure projects in the area says that they considered filing an application before the court seeking permission to clear the graves to open the way for the project works.
“We are asking the court to allow put out announcements on the media, calling the said claimants to show up, and should they fail to show up we shall be left with no alternative but to demolish their graves which we are actually suspicious about,” he says.
Kasumba argues that their committee has conducted consultations with several elders in the area who also don’t have any memories of said graves. URN