Evicted residents promised free accommodation in Dar

PRESIDENT John Magufuli’s pledge to give houses to 644 residents of Magomeni quarters (Kota) now becomes a reality as the government has disbursed 5bn/- for starting construction of the buildings from next week.

Just three weeks ago, President Magufuli visited the area and announced that the government would construct new structures and give five-year free accommodation to the evictees as compensation.

Dr Magufuli promised that within two months the construction would kick off. The residents were evicted more than five years ago to allow construction of modern residential buildings.

President Magufuli has tasked the Tanzania Building Agency (TBA) to implement the construction project in the area. The Chief Executive Officer of the TBA, Mr Elius Mwakalinga, yesterday said the one-year construction project would cost a total of 20bn/-.

He told journalists in Dar es Salaam that last Tuesday, which is exactly two weeks after he had promised the evictees, the President directed the TBA to embark on construction work immediately.

“On the same day, upon his directive, we came here at the site around 10:00 pm and started the work,” he explained when briefing the media at the site of construction. He added: “As I am talking now, the government has already given us 5bn/- for the job and we have started it at high speed.”

He noted that the area has a total of 30.6 hectares for construction, but only 13 hectares would be enough for the purpose of setting up the structures for accommodating those tenants.

He said five high-rise apartments having eight floors each would be constructed in the area. “The way we have arranged ourselves, the project will complete within the time as now all designs are complete,” he said.

He said the TBA as a government institution constructs the buildings at low costs since its main objective was to serve Tanzanians.

The project is expected to benefit not only the tenants but also those who would be employed by the TBA to maintain the buildings, noting that they look forward to recruiting more than 600 people in the area. TBA’s buildings evaluator, Mr Humphrey Killo, said currently they clear the land to remove “vegetable soil” before starting the construction work at the site.

He said they would complete the clearing work next Wednesday. When he visited the area, President Magufuli told the residents, who were evicted and their houses demolished, that they deserve free tenancy after suffering for many years.

For them, it was a climax to the prolonged wrangle between them and Kinondoni Municipal Council that emanated from the breach of their agreements. According to the agreement, the extenants were required to vacate the area to pave the way for the construction of modern residential structures.

Furthermore, the council is obliged to pay rent to each tenant for one year after which the tenants could move to the new structures as owners or tenants on completion of construction work.

President John Magufuli said that upon completion of the buildings, they will move to the new structures and stay for free for five years as compensation while the government will be working on modalities of selling the houses to them.

He said the government decided to intervene in the dispute, which lasted for many years without getting a proper solution, causing anguish among 644 former tenants who have been fighting for their rights.

Reading a speech on behalf of ex-Magomeni Kota tenants, Reverend John Raymond informed the president that failure by Kinondoni Municipal Council to fulfil their agreement has caused a lot of inconveniences and even deaths to some tenants who could not bear with the situation.

He said they had agreed to vacate the area since 2012 to allow construction of modern structures but until early this month, the Kinondoni Municipal Council had done nothing.

As a result, they have been turned into refugees in their own land, noting that most of them were government employees but they could not manage to build their own houses due to limited income.

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