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Kisoro's beauty beyond gorillas

By Vision Reporter

Added 7th October 2013 06:58 PM

Today, we bring you profiles of Kisoro and Wakiso towns

Kisoro's beauty beyond gorillas

Today, we bring you profiles of Kisoro and Wakiso towns


By Watuwa Timbiti and Goodluck Musinguzi

trueIn the Make Uganda Clean campaign, Vision Group is profiling 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 profiles of Kisoro and Wakiso towns

Kisoro derives its name from the earliest Baganda administrators who found very many wild animals (Bisoro) in this hilly area. The mayor, Sam Byibisho, says the town started as the administrative centre for Bufumbira County in the former Kigezi district that formed the current Kabale, Rukungiri, Kisoro and Kanungu districts.

Kisoro is located under the peaks of the Mufumbiro Mountains, which are part of the Virunga Mountains and home to the rare mountain gorilla. Because of this, Kisoro has become a magnet to tourists. Mountainous scenery, Lake Mutanda, mountain gorillas, and volcano trekking provide an array of activities for visitors to engage in. Kisoro is just about the end of the road for those visiting western Uganda.

It is the nearest town to the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. “The establishment of an administrative unit by the British Protectorate influenced the extension of the road from Kabale (80km) through Kisoro to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Byibisho explains.

The main economic activities of the town population are tourism, agriculture and business. Its population during the day goes to over 30,000 according to the town clerk, Isaiah Tumwesigye. Majority of Kisoro residents are satisfied with the cleanliness of the town according to
a Vision Group survey conducted between August 26 and September 6.

The respondents said the green spaces are well-maintained with less than half (44%) ever having seen overgrown grass. All the respondents said the town had a cleaning schedule, giving it a score of 6.4/10. However, dustbins were found wanting, giving it a score of just 2.9/10. The town authorities have to invest not only in buying more dustbins, but also improving on their distribution.

For instance, although all respondents have seen dustbins, they were mainly seen on the roadside/streets (100%) with only two thirds of the respondents reporting that they are easy to locate.

Indiscipline of the residents could be responsible for the sanitation situation with 81% of the respondents having seen someone litter rubbish on the streets in the past three months. Fifty-six percent of them said the town is polluted. While 47% of the respondents said they avoided littering, only 6% have ever participated in the clean up exercise of the town.

Worse still, only 12% avoid pollution activities like burning and 35% have done nothing to improve the cleanliness of the town. Tumwesigye says there is improvement in garbage management after the service was contracted to a private company.

The town also spends sh1m per month on garbage collection. He said although the council had acquired a garbage disposal site, Tumwesigye said the owner is repossessing it due to delayed compensation, a move, which he said is likely to affect the sanitation efforts.

Although electricity is the main source of light, 86% of the respondents have never seen street lights on, but 56% consider the town unsafe at night although the crime rate is relatively low, with no respondent reporting having been a victim of street crime. Only 25% of the respondents reported burglary, murder (20%), sexual rape (18%) and robbery with violence (5%). In terms of roads, the town has a good network  with 86% of it tarmacked and only 13% levelled ground.

Potholes are, however common, attracting a score of 5.3/10. Most of the buildings (80%) also have old paint. Looking at water distribution, Kisoro is not doing so bad; according to the survey, all respondents reported piped water as their main source of water, which is regular, thus a score of 5.2/10. The water was also reported as very clean – earning 7.9/10 score. Noise is a big challenge with 93% of the respondents describing the town as noisy.

The town has no noise control programme. The main sources of noise included prayers (81%), boda boda riders (69%), motor vehicles (63%), traders (56%) and taxi conductors/drivers (6%). Also, 38% of the respondents reported having ever seen stray animals loitering in town. Majority of the respondents (94%) have ever seen a burst sewer. All the respondents are aware of public toilets. The public toilets are reported dirty and accessing it costs on average sh169

Located on the foot of Mt. Muhavura in south western Uganda, Kisoro became a town council in 1984.

Kisoro is estimated to have a population of 11,328, according to the 2012 Uganda National Bureau of Statistics

The biggest health facility in the town council is Kisoro Hospital with a capacity of 250 beds.

 Mayor Sam Byibisho says the town is grappling with inadequate water supply, saying the town relies mainly on Chuho, a spring located 3.5km north-east of the town.

Kisoro is mountainous

Good practices
Tumwesigye said there are general skips for the town centre, but each shop owner is required to have two separate dustbins, one for inorganic and the other for organic waste to provide for the separation.” To improve sanitation, Tumwesigye says they have constructed public toilets complete with showers for men and women, 181 units of household dehydration toilets and 140 household composite toilets. With a town budget of sh1.1b, with sh850m coming from local revenue, Byibisho says private individuals to plant flowers.

Garbage management

Tumwesigye said garbage management improved since a private company was contracted to provide the services. The town spends sh1m monthly on garbage collection


The town council plans to collect sufficient revenue from the urban population for better service delivery. They also plan to have infrastructure like feeder roads, water supply and public buildings available in the town council and must be of acceptable standards. They are also working towards raising the levels of economic and social development in the town council.


Wakiso’s challenge
By Andrew Masinde and Watuwa Timbiti
Wakiso town has been dwarfed by its proximity to the capital city. Located along the Kampala – Hoima highway, just 20km northwest of Kampala metropolis, Wakiso is the headquarters of Wakiso District, the administrative unit that literally surrounds  Kampala. Wakiso, which became a town council in 2000 is one of the fastest growing urban areas.

Its current population is 21,2000 (Uganda Bureau of Statistics 2011 estimates). Because it is a bee-hive of economic activities, the town council officials put its day population at over 100,000. With this high population comes many challenges. The town mayor Simon Ssetimba, attributes their failure to improve service delivery on insufficient funding and poor attitude of the people towards paying taxes and sanitation.

As a result, Wakiso town council relies on the Central Government, which finances up to 80% of her budget. Of this only sh10m is allocated to sanitation. “People throw garbage anywhere at night, especially produce and agricultural traders who operate within the town,” says Ssetimba.


A street in Wakiso town. Photos by Andrew Masinde

The mayor’s view on sanitation of the town rhymes with a Vision Group survey which indicated that most of the residents were dissatisfied with the town’s cleanliness, earning it a score of just 3.9 out of 10. Similarly, satisfaction with sanitation in the market scored on average (5.0/10), streets/roads (4.1/10) and only 17% of the respondents reported ever seeing dustbins in the town.

The few dustbins were seen in the market areas (11%) and in shops (6%). Less than half (44%) of the respondents said the town had a cleaning schedule for the town, 61% for roads/streets and 67% for market areas. Only 28% said there was a cleaning schedule for dustbins. Although less than half of the respondents have seen someone litter rubbish in the town in the past three months, up 56% believed the town was polluted.

The survey found the residents lacked sanitation discipline. Only 42% of the respondents have personally avoided littering and an insignificant 5% have taken part in the town cleaning exercise.

Worse still, only 11% have avoided pollution activities like burning, while 32% have done nothing to improve the town’s cleanliness. While electricity is the main source of power, there are no street lights and 94% of the respondents considered the town unsafe at night. The town council has a road network of 111km, only 2.1km are tarmacked


Revamping cleanliness

trueAs a measure to improve sanitation, Ssettimba says the town council has mobilised the traders to form an organisation that cleans the market at the close of business every day. “The town also has two trucks that collect garbage on a daily basis from gazetted places,” he says.

The town council has cleaning routine and the garbage is collected and taken to Kitezi. The town recently employed road gangs who clean up the trenches and also pick all the garbage that is littered around the roads. Even with such efforts, there are still some challenges like the toilet coverage.

The mayor attributes the low toilet coverage to the town’s terrain and big chunks of undeveloped land which people use for dumping garbage. “Safe household latrine coverage is very low, with only one public toilet in the whole council which sometimes leads to poor disposal of faeces. Sanitation in primary schools is also poor due  to the continued increasing number of pupils in school,” Ssetimba notes.

Sanitation highlights of the town

The survey states that although 61% of the respondents are aware of a public toilet in the town, the average cost of access is sh164. They said the toilets are very dirty


Rubbish management is still a problem. Only 17% of the respondents said they have seen dustbins, but they are dirty and less than half have seen some littering the town


The town survives on mainly piped water and protected springs, which is clean. Ssettimba, however, says some places suffer severe water shortages, with a jerrycan costing sh500


Wakiso town council plans to construct a bus terminal, a market, a well-built administration block, an abattoir, and acquire a new truck for garbage collection




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Kisoro’s beauty beyond gorillas

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