KCCA officials arrested after collapse of city suburb building

BY: Eyalama In Business, News On
Kampla Lord Mayor M Erias Lukwago (C), peruses the site plan at the scene.
Kampla Lord Mayor M Erias Lukwago (C), peruses the site plan at the scene.

Police are continuing to search for people who are believed to be buried by the rubble of a collapsing apartment building in Makindye, Kampala City.

The structure, collapsed at about 8:30 pm on Friday.

At least one person, Godfrey Oonyu, a teacher by profession, who  got a job at the site after his school closed due to the ongoing lockdown to contain the spread of Coronavirus, was rescued by police officers.

Oonyu said at least eight of his colleagues were trapped in the rubble.

[corona country="Uganda" title="Uganda"]

One of the victims, only identified as Alex, who is believed to be still trapped under the rubble, is said to have called his sister on his phone at about 11:35 pm seeking help.

He hasn’t made another call.

[corona country="Kenya" title="Kenya"]

Effort to excavate the site at night was slowed down since volunteers were using rudimentary  tools like hoes and spades.

By Saturday morning, police had deployed some heavy equipment to excavate the site.

Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesman, Mr Patrick Onyango said the building belonged to a city businessman only identified as Kagolo, who operates on Kikuubo Lane, a downtown business hub.

“Our officers who have visited the scene have found out that there is a crime of rash and negligence. Two Kampala Capital City Authority officials that were supposed to supervise the project have been arrested as a hunt for site engineers and the owner of the building are ongoing,” Mr  Onyango said.

The KCCA officials who are detained at Katwe Police Station are; Ms Anne Achoma,  a physical planner and Mr Joseph Balikuddembe, a building inspector Joseph Balikuddembe.

Mr Onyango said the construction was going on without an approved plan.

“They [KCCA officials] went to the site and issued a notice to stop the construction, but later, they removed it and allowed them [contractors] to proceed,” he said.

In May this year, another structure under construction in Lukuli, Makindye Division, collapsed and killed over 12 people.

The engineers and owner are currently on trial over negligence.

The number of structures collapsing had reduced over the years due to heavy penalties to culpable engineers and owners.

However, this year, fresh incidents have started emerging.

In January, in Jinja Municipality, five people were killed and 12 rescued when the building they were constructing collapsed.

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