My focus will be on Wakiso, whose dysfunctionality I have keenly followed.
By Amb. Kintu Nyago
President Museveni’s decision to create new districts from Kasese and Wakiso is a welcome development.
Kasese has a population of 700,000 people and will be subdivided into four, to enable the eradication of its deadly ethnic conflicts, as witnessed earlier in the year, while concurrently ensuring the effective delivery of services to the Wanaichi. Regarding Wakiso, Minister for Local Government, Tom Butime, announced that it’s to be granted city status.
My focus will be on Wakiso, whose dysfunctionality I have keenly followed and moreover is clearly undermining the objectives of the NRM’s Hakuna-Mchezo program. For prior to Butime’s appointment, it degenerated into a large slum! This because the MOLG, with its Commissariat for Urban Development, uncaring attitude towards it. Historically slums, worldwide, are a source of social and political instability. Consequently our posterity, stands to pay dearly due to this policy negligence. And hence the welcome foresightedness of President Museveni and Minister Butime’s intervention.
Wakiso’s slumfication results from it and Kampala’s being Uganda’s economic engine. Our economy under Museveni has consistently grown, leading to rural urban migration. Wakiso is Uganda’s tourist hub. For instance, 2,000,000 pilgrimages visit Namugongo Matyrs shrines every 3rd June. Also Entebbe’s Uganda Wildlife Education Centre attracts 350,000 tourists, annually! A figure higher than that of the tourists who visit all our national parks put together. Not to mention visitors to the International Airport and the lakeside beaches. Wakiso also has an industrial park at Namanve and is an hub of employment generating small and medium scale businesses.
Consequently, its population doubled to 2,000,000 in the last decade! Resulting into unplanned urbanization through underfunded Sub County Local Government structures, as Makindye Sabagabo, Sabaddu Katabi, Nabweru and Nsangi!
Ironically, Wakiso’s becoming a city will not solve its acute challenges. For its amorphous, surrounding Kampala in a unwieldy octopus like fashion! It’s also simply too big in size and population! Factors that undermine the very ethos of decentralization, aimed at providing Wanaichi with effective and accessible service delivery.
Actually, its faster to travel from Mutukula, on the Tanzanian border, to Maya or from Lira to Matugga, than from these two Wakiso localities’ to the district headquarters! On average, it takes a person seeking a basic service four hours to travel from say Nakawuuka, Bweyogerere or Entebbe to Wakiso District Headquarters! In the process, enduring the ordeal of Kampala’s chaotic, nerve wrecking traffic jams!
Wakiso’s required panacea, based on Hakuna-Mchezo’s dictates to catapult Uganda into middle income status, lies in sub dividing it into five districts of approximately 500,000 people each. These are to be constituted by better funded municipalities of at least 100,000 people. These being of Entebbe District, composed of the Municipalities of Entebbe and Makindye Sabagabo and the proposed Municipalities of Katabi and Ssisa in addition to the Town Council of Kasanje.
Kiira District, composed of the Municipality of Kiira and the proposed Municipality of Nangabo. While Nabweru District covering Nansana, Nabweru, Gombe and Busukuuma. Wakiso District composed of Wakiso, Mende and Nsangi. And lastly the rural Busiro North constituency. Currently the medium population of Uganda’s 117 districts is approximately 300,000 people. Consequently, these proposed districts would have an above average population.
Critically, the creation of these districts would enable Wakiso’s getting four additional Women Members of Parliament. On average, a Ugandan Women Member of Parliament represents 299,145 people. Iniquitously, currently Wakiso’s Woman Member of Parliament incredulously represents 2 million people! A population larger than those of, amongst others, Gabon, Gambia, Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde, Mauritius and Swaziland!
For Hakuna-Mchezo’s required fruition, the added Parliamentarians would, through being responsive and assertive, effectively lobby, in the NRM Parliamentary Caucus and the Legislature, for better roads and the Wanaichi’s adequate accessing of Universal education and health services. Basic services, that are unfortunately currently in dire short supply within Wakiso District.
Writer is an Ambassador and Uganda’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations