Views from Fiona: Lives At Risk From Poorly Constructed Buildings
In 2004, on Bwebajja along Entebbe road, J&M Airport Hotel's one building collapsed...
Photo taken in May 2005.

Views from Fiona: Lives At Risk From Poorly Constructed Buildings


Residents beware! You are on your own when you enter a building in Kampala.

By Fiona Abaasa
more from author >>
First published: March 14, 2006


There is an ongoing trend of buildings collapsing in and around Kampala that is cause for worry to human lives. The Ministry of Works construction department and KCC have a lot to answer as to why high rise buildings in Kampala suburbs and surrounding areas are prone to collapsing thus endangering people both workers on these sites or tenants residing in these buildings.

On Wednesday 8th of March, City of the Lord church in Kyebando, a city suburb, collapsed on it's over 700 worshippers during the day's heavy down pour killing 26 worshippers and injuring many. I visited the scene a day later and the residents affirmed that the building was a disaster waiting to happen. This storied church building had more faith than cement in its bricks and one wonders how the lead pastor, Godrey Luwagga, was the site engineer! Where was KCC's construction department and Ministry of Works? Do they regulate and inspect the sites being built? Don't they have some criteria to follow?

There is an immediate need to regulate the buildings coming up in Kampala, unless we are going to wait for more people to die for the concerned authorities to do their work? It is obvious that some buildings are constructed haphazardly without any professional workmanship going into them.

A couple of nights ago while passing by Ben Kiwanuka Street in a taxi, I was amazed that construction work going on at night at two locations. The first one was sandwiched between two shopping malls, one Capital Plaza and the second one is opposite Total Gas station still on Ben Kiwanuka Street. What is more profound is that little or no light was being used as these construction workers labored away! If two building in the middle of town can be constructed during the night without any query from the ministry concerned, what happens to those coming up in suburbs away from the glaring lights of the city?

In 2004, on Bwebajja along Entebbe road, J&M Airport Hotel's one building collapsed on its workers killing a score and injuring more. The authorities concerned set up a commission of inquiry and its findings have never been made public, which is not surprising considering all commissions set up in Uganda their finds never make it to the public. Hardly a month later, construction resumed on the said hotel and it's nearing to finish in preparation for a Commonwealth meeting.

Other buildings collapsed on Entebbe Road and Nakulabye yet nothing has been done. If the owners are not being apprehended then how will this carnage stop?

Many private schools are also folly to this behavior, where buildings are come up and within a week students are having lessons in the classroom. I shudder to think what would happen if the buildings collapsed. The plans are not there, or else money changes hands and officials from the ministry turn a blind eye. Something urgent has to be done with mushrooming buildings otherwise we will continue to loose people negligently.

The Ministry of Works should endeavor to do something. They should have spontaneous checks on schools, shopping malls, hotels and they will be pleasantly surprised at how many even have building plans. I have information on some buildings that not worthy of people living in them that I could gladly pass it on. But when I sought comment from the Ministry of Works it was turned down.

By Fiona Abaasa
more from author >>
First published: March 14, 2006
Fiona Abaasa is a columnist for UGPulse.com based in Kampala.

Click ***here*** for the archive of Fiona's Views from Fiona only at UGPulse.com.