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Iganga the dirtiest district

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th September 2006 03:00 AM

IGANGA town is very filthy. It is so grubby that district health department researchers say it is the dirtiest in Uganda.

IGANGA town is very filthy. It is so grubby that district health department researchers say it is the dirtiest in Uganda.

By Vision Reporter

IGANGA town is very filthy. It is so grubby that district health department researchers say it is the dirtiest in Uganda.

Garbage takes ages to be cleared off streets in the town of 100,000 people. The situation worsened after the Uganda Revenue Authority impounded town council vehicles recently over unpaid sh75m tax arrears.

The rubbish is often left to rot away on the streets emitting offensive fumes in the neighbourhood dominated by the Basoga.

Jokes doing the rounds here revolve around the poor sanitary conditions of the area. Commuters talk of, “Nja mu bukyafu” (Am going to dirty territory).

The town also does not have piped water and sewerage flows into unprotected water wells.

Records show that each home has at least one bicycle hence the numerous accidents involving cyclists in town. Even a bicycle bin exists outside the police station on the main street where damaged bikes are dumped because it is not cost-effective to repair them.

Hussein Kato, the clerk to council, says the main commercial activity carried out by the locals in this mainly sweet potato-eating community is small scale trading in fresh foodstuffs.

“The small stalls dotting the entire neighbourhood imply that almost everyone has something to sell like onions, tomatoes or cabbages,” Kato adds.

The Asian community dominate wholesale and retail trade businesses. They mainly deal in textiles and electronics.

However, the Indians and Arabs seem to be working overtime to destroy the Asian-style houses put up in the 1920s. These are being replaced by petrol stations and double-storeyed buildings.

Although the place is dominantly inhabited by the Basoga, their local brew made out of bananas is not as popular as ajon, which is brewed by the Itesots in Nkaatu and Kasokoso suburbs.

Lydia Nekesa, a popular ajon dealer in Kasokoso says a unit of the brew costs between sh500 and sh1,500. Ajon drinkers constitute a big percentage of opinion leaders in Iganga town, hence most politicians feel obliged to identify with them.

Iganga also has a range of communal cultural practices which have inevitably been taken on by the non-Basoga.

Beatrice Magoola, the district Woman MP, says the ceremony of welcoming twins in the family is most peculiar. “Those blessed with twins acquire a pot with double openings in which they put placentas and umbilical cords of the toddlers. On the day of the ceremony they take the pot to a secluded anthill,” Magoola says.

She adds that if anyone goes near the anthill he or she would be “burnt” by the twins and look like an albino.

“Cutting off hair in respect of a dead parent is another cultural practice that has been adopted by residents of other tribes from the Basoga. Another is the avoidance of calling people by their names at night out of fear that ghosts may learn the names and use them later,” Magoola says.

Iganga town has popular persons among whom is Dr. David Muwanguzi, the district director of health services.

The doctor is a football fanatic and usually travels to as far as Rwanda to support Ugandan clubs. He also regularly features on organising committees of most ceremonies in the area.

Dr. Muwanguzi’s social nature has also prompted school heads to make him a visiting doctor in nearly all secondary schools in Iganga.

Another such person is Abdu Akiiki, a retailer since 1985 in shop number 18 at Iganga central market on Ngobi Road. He specialises in feminine merchandise including panties, bras, lotions and earrings.

There is no one in town who does not know Akiiki as even men visit his outlet to purchase gifts for their partners.

While in Iganga, those who like to eat and sleep like kings should try Mwana Highway Hotel on main street.

If you leave town without visiting the state-of-the-art Kiss Discotheque on Jinja road you would have cause for regret. It is the only place where one can have unlimited observation of Basoga women gyrating their trademark pumpkin-size bottoms.

Iganga the dirtiest district

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