By Francis Emorut
The executive director of Uganda Media Centre, Ofwono Opondo, has hit back at women activists who criticized government over deplorable conditions of city slum dwellers saying they are ignorant of government’s slums project.
“This paints a picture of poor governance and leadership. It’s not acceptable for citizens to leave in such deplorable conditions,” Patricia Munabi, the executive director of Forum for Women in Democracy said.
“It’s depressing. All citizens need to live in dignity and the resources need to be shared equitably in this country.”
The former chief magistrate, Lina Zedriga said: “It’s most inhuman for any human being to live with their children in such deplorable conditions.”
A little girl balances herself on a piece of timber put on the water channel for crossing in Kikubamutwe. PHOTO/ Francis Emorut
The activists made the remarks while touring Kikubamutwe slum area in Makindye Division.
They questioned poverty figures which indicate that poverty has reduced to 19% from 56% in early 1990s yet it has been entrenched in the slums.
“It’s a situation of entrenching poverty among the underprivileged,” Zedriga said.
“Poverty reducing to 19% is not a reality,” Munabi stated.
Juckie Asiimwe -Mwesige wondered whether Kampala is only being defined by Kampala Road in exclusion of slums.
“It’s sad. It’s painful to see people exist in such deplorable conditions in contrast to what we have been told what defines Kampala,” Asiimwe said.
A little boy washes his hands in dirty water from the drainage channel in Kikubamutwe slum.PHOTO/ Francis Emorut
Emmanuel Kashaija fears cholera outbreak because of poor drainage and sanitation systems.
He said it reflects gaps in urban planning and blamed Kampala Capital City Authority for lack of initiative to develop the slums.
“We need to see intentional plan for the slums and not only planting trees on Kampala Road,” Kashaija said.
When contacted for a comment the government’s spokesman accused women activists of being ignorant of government’s project of upgrading urban slums.
“There is government program to upgrade urban dwellings that has been going on like; Kisugu, Namwongo, Kawala near Kasubi and Kasokoso in Kiira, Wakiso if those women activists are not aware. May be they just want to appear in the media to be doing something,” Ofwono responded in a text message sent to New Vision.
Ofwono explained further that there is upgrading of other slums such as Kasoli near railways quarters in Tororo going on as well as Walukuba in Jinja.
He however, admitted that getting rid of slums immediately is not possible because of tenure land system.
“In many areas slums may be difficult to remove in a short time mainly because of land tenure system especially private mailo holdings,” he said.
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