Masaka City Council authorities are faced with an uphill task of enforcing a ban on the creation and sale of undersized plots due to the reluctance of land brokers to heed the directive. In July this year, the Masaka City Executive and the Roads Committee jointly adopted a resolution banning the sale of plots below the dimensions of 50 by 100 feet, as a strategic intervention to avert the creation of slums in the area.
However, the enforcement of the ban remains a serious challenge due to the defiant land brokers who are continuing to create and sell tinny plots in the area. Ukasha Ssekanjako, one of the land dealers in Masaka City, says that they were not involved as stakeholders before the decision was taken.
He says it is unreasonable for the city leadership to impose restrictions on the size of plots without consulting the land owners and vendors who have absolute rights to their properties. Ssekanjako advises the city leadership to instead open up roads as well as demarcate utility service lanes, especially in areas that were recently annexed to the city, such that people are guided to avoid occupying them.
Charles Ssemuddu, another property dealer in Masaka is also indifferent to observing the policy, arguing it locks out many people, especially the youth who would wish to acquire property in the city. He prefers that the City administration lowers the threshold of the plots to at least 30 by 50 meters, to cater to low-income earners who would also wish to be residents in the city.
According to Ssemuddu, the lowest price of a plot of 50 by 100 feet on the City’s outskirts is 15 million Shillings, which he says is not affordable to many people in the area. Ssemuddu warns that the policy may create situations where more people will combine to buy one standard plot and eventually split it into very tiny pieces, something he says may even lead to the creation of worse slum settlements.
Ssemuddu has advised the City planning department to consider zoning different areas of the town to allocate to various categories of people depending on their incomes.
He argues that it is so complicated to enforce the ban on the sale of these plot sizes, especially on privately owned property.
But Florence Namayanja, the Masaka City Mayor says that their position stands for the proper growth of the town in line with the National Physical Plan laws. She has warned the public to desist from buying the undersized plots, saying that the physical planning department and the law enforcement teams are under instructions to block any construction on tiny portions of land.
The National Physical Planning Act of 2010, gives powers to Town Clerks, Sub-county chiefs of Municipalities, Town councils, and sub-counties, in consultations with their physical planning officers; to approve plans for any constructions in their areas of jurisdiction.