DELAYED compensations to Gando residents turned into a bitter thorn for the government here yesterday, with four ministers unsuccessfully trying to clarify the impediment.
Gando Representative Maryam Than Juma had threatened to block the Infrastructure, Communication and Transport budget for the 2020/2021 fiscal year, demanding a thorough explanation on the delays, which she claimed had subjected the hapless wananchi to miseries for over eight years.
She argued in the House of Representatives that although the government evaluated and demolished structures, including residential houses to pave way for the Gando road construction project, most of the evictees had not received their dues
Infrastructure Minister Dr Sira Ubwa Mamboya and her Deputy Mohamed Ahmed Salum attempted to no avail to convincingly explain the delays, prompting the Finance and Planning Minister Ambassador Mohammed Ramia Abdiwawa to intervene.
Ambassador Ramia acknowledged the delays but shifted blames on evictees, charging that some had refused to receive the proposed government payments as peanuts.
“There are people whose properties were evaluated but they were not satisfied with the calculated compensation—they have their own amount that they want to get paid; this is impossible,” said the minister, noting that the government was still working on the matter.
But, the representative fumed over the minister’s claims, demanding to know any citizen who had refused to receive the compensation on whatever ground.
“And, if the government had disagreed with wananchi over the payments, as the minister claims here, why has that disagreement remained unresolved for eight years?”
queried Ms Juma. Minister of State, Second Vice-President’s Office Mohamed Aboud Mohamed, calmed down the backbencher, promising that the distressed wananchi will soon receive their dues.
“We will do whatever is within our capacity to ensure that these wananchi get their due payments; we are grateful for their endurance over a long period... everyone will get what they deserve,” assured the minister, cooling down the legislator.
But, House Speaker Zubeir Ali Maulidi held the government answerable over failure to provide tangible answers to a direct question, arguing: “The Honourable Member has asked a direct question, but you (government) have responded too politically.”
Speaker Zubeir described it as unfair to effect wananchi’s payments eight years after evaluation of their properties.
“Payments have to be effected immediately after valuation to avoid subjecting our people to undue sufferings,” directed the speaker, reminding the government to observe time-value of money in such claims.