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Entebbe: From political seat to high-class lakeside town

By Vision Reporter

Added 31st December 2010 03:00 AM

Oral literature has it that, the place earned its name from the Luganda word “ntebe” (chair). This was where, during the pre-colonial times, the office (seat) of the chief in Buganda who adjudicated in legal matters of the inhabitants, was found.

BY TITUS KAKEMBO

Oral literature has it that, the place earned its name from the Luganda word “ntebe” (chair). This was where, during the pre-colonial times, the office (seat) of the chief in Buganda who adjudicated in legal matters of the inhabitants, was found.

Later on, Sir Gerald Portal, one of the earliest British colonial commissioners in Uganda, used the area to conduct administrative business. Entebbe was the hub of political and economic activity.

So many years later, the political activity has moved to Kampala, leaving Entebbe, a peninsula on Lake Victoria, calm and laid back.

Steven Erute, an insurer who has just relocated there, has only praises to sing of his new locale.

“There is something I find irresistible about Entebbe. We all know each other and converge at Four Turkeys, Cassava Republic the various beaches on weekends to socialise,” he says.

Robert Kiboli has different reasons for living in Entebbe. “The serenity here irresistible. I love Entebbe for the cool breeze, sunny days, the birds and fish, but most of all, it gives a child the right atmosphere to grow up in.”

Nkumba Business College was upgraded to a University so Jackson Oboth says living in Entebbe has given him a chance to work and study at the same time.

“It is a melting pot of cultures. We always have traditional wedding ceremonies of the Acholi, Bagishu, Japadhola and Batoro in the area,” says Phillip Corry who grew up there. “You can spot an Entebbe resident a mile away. They are often polite people and have strong religious ties. If one stays long enough in Entebbe, the locals get to know and recognise him/her as family.”

Some elegant colonial era Elizabethan Architecture that used to house colonial masters is still in place, with large compounds. Some structures have been mowed down and replaced with new structures but the tree lined avenues remain. Lately, the traditional profile of Entebbe residents is changing from strictly civil servants to include the private sector.

There are accountants, pilots, vet doctors, aviation engineers, lecturers and working holiday travellers.

As the town battles to reassert its supremacy, its strategic position connecting Uganda to the outside world, by air and marine, is attracting an exodus of property developers, residents and buyers.

“A plot of land measuring between 50mx100m here goes for sh15m,” says Glades Namuto, a new settler in Nakiwogo. “But land prices depend on one’s haggling skills.”

Downtown in Kitoro, a supermarket notice board announces a three square mile Busi Island at $2,800 per acre. A plush bungalow is tagged $2000.

Tirupati Property Developer has put up an estate in Nkumba, complete with a shopping center, entertainment facilities and playgrounds.

The lender friendly policies in banking institutions are enabling residents to secure loans and mortgages to either buy or develop their property.

Most of the places by the shores have been developed but some unscrupulous developers have descended upon church and Uganda Prisons land. Kitoro and Kiyarwanda slums ,which used to be filled with shanty homesteads accommodating casual labourers, have been replaced by big hotels, plush wall fenced residential houses and worship centres.

Entebbe: From political seat to high-class lakeside town

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