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Kawempe congested, unsafe

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th September 2013 08:36 PM

Kawempe, on the northeastern side, is one of the five divisions constituting Kampala city and, notably, the most densely populated division, at over 265,000.

Kawempe congested, unsafe

Kawempe, on the northeastern side, is one of the five divisions constituting Kampala city and, notably, the most densely populated division, at over 265,000.

By Watuwa Timbiti and Andrew Masinde
trueIn the Make Uganda Clean campaign, Vision Group will be profi ling major urban centres in the country highlighting their sanitation situation, culminating into a gala night on November 25, where the cleanest towns will be recognised. Today we bring you profi les of Busia municipality and Kawempe Division

Kawempe, on the northeastern side, is one of the five divisions constituting Kampala city and, notably, the most densely populated division, at over 265,000. Majority of its residents fall in the category of low-income earners and the abjectly poor. The division is characterised by mainly unplanned settlements, which come with sanitation challenges, for instance, a poor drainage system fi lled with garbage.

However, according to the division mayor, Mubarak Munyagwa, the authorities are doing everything possible to resolve the sanitation challenges. In the survey done by Vision Group, although a high percentage of the respondents reported the presence of cleaning schedules for the division (97%), the availability of dustbins stand at only 28%. Whereas 28% say the division is cleaned daily, 21% say it is cleaned between two to three times a week; 21% once a week; 10% over a month; and 17% are not aware of the times the division is cleaned.

On the overall, however, residents are satisfi ed with the cleanliness of the division, attracting a score of 7.3/10. On dustbins and rubbish littering, slightly more than half (52%) have ever seen dustbins in the division, but considered them insufficient and dirty, scoring 2.8/10 and 4.0/10, respectively. Although, according to the respondents, dustbins are mostly seen on the streets/ roads (35%) and market areas (17%), nearly three quarters (72%) say it is either not easy to locate the dustbins or completely do not know their location. Similarly, 55% says they have ever seen someone litter the area in the past three months.

That aside, however, the division is rated as clean (66%) compared to 34% who rate it as at least polluted. On improving cleanliness, 42% of the respondents acknowledge having personally avoided littering, and 3% taking part in the cleaning exercises in the division. Additionally, 8% avoid pollution activities like burning rubbish, while 17% have sensitised people about living in a clean a environment, and 30% have done nothing to improve cleanliness. Although electricity is the main source of lighting, only 7% have ever seen working street lights, a high proportion (93%) have not seen a street light, and 82% feel the division’s streets are unsafe at night.

A drainage channel choking with waste


Although majority of the roads are partially tarmacked (55%), 14% mainly tarmacked, 10% mainly murrum and 21% levelled ground, majority are relatively potholed, scoring 5.9/10 and slightly over three quarters (76%) of the buildings have old paint. Water supply in the division is accessible and piped water is the main source of water for residences (52%); the public tap (38%); and the water is not only regular, but clean, scoring 7.0/10 and 7.5/10. Noise pollution, according to respondents (75%) is a big challenge. Less than half (38%) of the respondents said there is no noise control programme in Kawempe division.The noise, the survey notes, is mainly generated by motor vehicles (93%); boda boda riders (62%); traders (52%); taxi conductors/drivers (38%).

Twenty-four percent of the respondents said they had ever seen livestock/ poultry loitering in the division in the past six months, scoring 4.3/10. Cows (24%), goats (14%), hens (7%) and sheep (3%) are the commonest. On sewage challenges, 31% acknowledge seeing burst sewers in the division, noting, however that the response towards fixing the problem slow, scoring 3.7/10. Additionally, the division according to 62% of the respondents, has open soak pits/ manholes, which take either a year or so to be fi xed. Although majority (78%) are aware of public toilets in the division, whose average cost of access is sh186, they are dirty, scoring 4.7/10.

Sewage management and lack of latrines, according to the mayor, are key problems in the division. “The division has put in place funds to work on the public toilet system.  The water ministry and National Water and Sewerage Corporation are constructing a sewerage system in Kawempe.

I believe this is going to improve the situation in the division,” Munyagwa explains. The division, according to Munyagwa, runs on the budget of about sh1.2b and none of it is allocated to sanitation and even that takes long to come, affecting service delivery. The money for sanitation, he says, comes from Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), although he does not disclose how much they receive

Busia is the gateway for trade and floods

Watuwa timbiti and Faustine Odeke
For long, it has been Uganda’s gateway into Kenya as a border town east of Kampala. Busia town, which started as an open market, attracting people from Funyula and Nambale in Kenya in the early 1930s, was elevated to a town board in
1985 and later a town council in 1987 before becoming a municipality in July 2010. Busia is a low lying town with an estimated population of 80,000 during the day and 50,000 at night.

The town usually fl oods when it rain heavily. Much of the waters fl ows from the Kenyan side. In a survey done by Vision Group, majority (93%) of the respondents said the town has cleaning schedules for roads/streets, market areas and dustbins. More than half of the respondents (66.7%) say the town is cleaned daily and 7% at least two to three times a week.

Eroded road in Solo A village, Busia town. Photos by Faustine Odeke


According to the survey, residents are unsatisfied with the cleanliness of the town, thus a score of 4.9/10; unsatisfi ed with the market areas, scoring 4.6/10; unsatisfi ed with the streets/toads, thus 4.1/10; and more unsatisfi ed with the dustbins, scoring 4.2/10. Although majority (80%) have ever seen dustbins in the town, they do not fully serve their intended purpose; they are insufficient and relatively dirty, scoring 3.1/10 and 4.2/10, respectively. However, the dustbins, which are mostly seen in the markets and streets/roads, are easy to locate, according to a high proportion of the respondents (93%). On sanitation awareness, about half of the respondents had seen someone litter the streets/roads and a smaller proportion consider the town polluted.

On improving the level of cleanliness in the town, less than half (47%) report having personally avoided littering and a lower percentage (7%) have taken part in the exercise to clean up the town. Similarly, only 7%, have sensitised people about living in a clean environment and still less than half have not done anything to improve cleanliness. However, there is hope, according to the deputy town clerk Kenneth Ofwono. The council got a boost from NEMA which provided two self-loading trucks and 25 skips

. They have been allocated to the divisions for regular garbage collection. Additionally, 16.5 acres of land have been bought in Osapiri village in Buteba sub-county for garbage dumping and building of a decomposing plant. “We have trained a law enforcement offi cer who has just completed a course at Law Development Centre to implement the recently passed byelaw on solid waste management and sanitation where the offenders will prosecuted,” Ofwono says. The byelaw will come hard on landlords with dilapidated and unpainted buildings, those without security lights, soak pits and illegal structures. The town, which has seven governmentaided primary schools, a secondary school and a Health Centre IV, largely depends on electricity for lighting. More than half of the respondents (66.7%) have ever seen street lights in working condition.On the contrary, less than half of the respondents say there are no street lights in the town and 60% say the town is safe at night.


Blocked drainage along Jinja Road, Busia

Despite its economic signifi cance, Busia’s road network is poor. According to the respondents, the roads are mainly of murrum (66.7%); 20% partially tarmacked; and 13% levelled ground. There are many potholes, scoring 6.5/10. To all the respondents, most buildings had old paint.” Although piped water is the main source of water according to 67% of the respondents and wells (33%), the water is irregular and unclean, attracting a score of 2.1/10 and 4.1/10, respectively. On noise management, there is no noise control programme in the town, according to the respondents and 80% feel the town is noisy, attributing the problem to trailers/buses (67%), motor vehicles (33%), boda boda riders (7%) and taxi conductors/ drivers (7%).

Apart from noise, Busia, has the challenge of loitering animals. All respondents have ever seen in the town loitering animals, mostly cows (100%) and to a lesser extent goats (7%); thus a score of 7.0/10. Busia’s sewage management has major shortfalls, according to respondents. A high percentage (87%) have ever seen a burst sewer and they reported very slow response to the problem, attracting a score of 2.7/10. More than half (60%) have ever seen open soak pits/manholes in the town and of these, 53% say they had been open for at least three months.

On the other hand, majority (93%) are aware of public toilets in the town at an average cost of sh186 per visit, but they say they are dirty, scoring 3.2/10. However, the town’s fi nancial budget is promising on sanitation management and improvement. Of the over sh4b passed for this fi nancial year, with about sh700m expected from local revenue and the rest from the central government and donors, sh395m has been allocated to sanitation and hygiene. There is overgrown grass in the town and 93% of the respondents say the maintenance levels are poor, scoring 2.9/10. Most people depend on cross-border trade in produce, banking, clearing fi rms, fi sh mongering and farming.

Kawempe congested, unsafe

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