Kugonza Barbra,19, left Iganga district after her senior six vacation to join university. Bearing in mind that she would start staying on her own, she hoped to enjoy life at campus.
On reaching Kampala International University, she found when the hostel was full to capacity and, Robert Kutesa, a house broker at Kansanga , offered the much needed solution she sought. Barbra quickly accepted the offer.
However, what she thought of as good life and what the broker promised to “offer” turned out to be a basin of deceit, when she started sleeping in a rental.
“I have spent three days just wandering, the landlord chased me out of the house. The friend I thought would help me is also facing problems like me and I cannot go to the hostel because I do not know any one there. Now I sleep in a church. The broker promised to get for me a cheap room outside campus but ever since I started staying in it, I have not had peace of mind due to pressure from the landlord. The place is also very congested and full of thieves. Once you hang your clothes outside, they disappear in just five minutes,” she said in a sad tone.
Barbra is not alone; another victim also complains of facing the wrath of off campus accommodation. She was also promised good housing by a “broker”.
“I was tempted to start clubbing because the landlady used to knock at my door every night. I was convinced by a man called Dan who identified himself as a broker that I would be sleeping comfortably but am just suffering. These people are not fair. Dan charged me 100,000 shillings promising to help get me a room cheaper than those at campus”, said Viola.
Many of the students falling victims of residing in insecure and risky areas are new students who are just joining campus especially those coming to Kampala for the first time.
“These people asked me to give them 130,000sh promising to get for me a cheaper room with electricity and water. After I had fulfilled their request, I was then taken down to Kiwempe and given a ramshackled room in the “ghetto”. I had no option because I had already paid for four months to the landlord before seeing the room”. Another victim said.
THE BROKERS OPERATE.
Some of them pin posts on the notice boards at universities, others on the poles and buildings at the road side while others have offices from where they operate.
According to Ibrahim Taremwa, a victim says that some brokers do not have address and neither do they advertise their services but have agents who are students within the universities.
“The day I came to seek for admission, I was approached by a lad clad in a suit and offered to help me out with issues concerning accommodation. On the day I reported, he called a man whom he identified as Kasirye. I was asked to give him 90,000shs to help me find a cheap room. After giving him that fee, he took me to the landlord who asked me to pay four hundred thousand shilling for one semester which I did. On reaching the rentals, oh my God! I could not believe that they were worthy what I had paid”, said Ibrahim.
Nansereko Milly, a guild official at Kampala International University gives a guide on how to choose places for accommodation while joining the university.
-After you have being admitted to the university, go to the dean of students affairs to guide you on where to reside. The dean has the responsibility of either recommending you to the university estate to help you secure a room within the campus premises or outside, to the sister hostels where you can easily be monitored to avoid cases of insecurity and consequences of ill health among other problems..
-Do not pay money for rent to the brokers in the name of helping you to deliver it to the landlords.
-Pay for a room only if you have seen that it is in
good condition and worthy the amount you are being asked.
– Just in case it happens that all hostels linked to the university are full, look for places that are safe in terms of security and sanitation to avoid cases of theft, sickness among other problems.
-If you cannot carry food from home, buy and pack it where you reside. Always spare some time to cook. If you don’t feel like cooking, make sure you eat from well-established restaurants to avoid contracting diseases like cholera and diarrhea.
-Mark the friends you associate with. Some come pretending to be friends yet they are plotting ways of robbing you in future.
-Always move in groups to and from the off campus
areas of residence especially during the night.