People just buy land and build houses wherever they wish,” resident says
Kabowa is approximately 15 kilometres away from Kampala and a 30 minutes’ drive from the old taxi park. It is composed of 10 zones. Kabowa central, Wankuluku, Ssuuna, Serwadda, Simbwa, St Anne, Church zone, Sembule A and B (Nakayiza) and Kironde. Other than Nateete. Kabowa is one of the most populated areas in Rubaga Division.
Mrs Irene Muganda, 70, has lived in Kabowa for the last 50 years. She recalls Kabowa as a bushy and sparsely populated, area when she first moved there. “Back then in 1972, Kabowa had only one school; Aggrey Primary School and a plot of land cost Shs250, 000 which many people still could not afford by that time,” Muganda narrates.
Despite living in the area for half a century, Muganda has no idea about the origin of the name and it has never occurred to her to question.
According to Daudi Kiweweesi a youth chairperson in the area, Kabowa’s 10 zones are divided in two categories; the clergy zones and non clergy zones.
“The clergy zones are those with Milo land titles and the non clergy land is acquired by signing agreements between the buyer and the seller,’’ he explains.
He adds that clergy zones include Church zone, St. Anne, Simbwe and Ssuuna. Wankulukuku, Sembule and Serwadde are part of the non clergy zones.
Kiweweesi says house rent and the cost of land depend on the zone one chooses to settle in.
This is located on the outskirts of Kabowa and on it sits a football stadium called “Wankulukuku’’. Of the 10 zones this is the most populated and busiest with a number of business activities ranging from selling chapati to night bars. Wankuluku seems to have been built on a wetland because of the frequent floods that hit it during the rainy season. “Renting and buying land in Wankulukuku depend on what one can afford,’’ Kiweweesi explains.
Kiweweesi says Sembule is an industrial area that is usually submerged whenever it rains and because of this, renting and buying land there is cheap. One can rent a house between Shs30, 000 and Shs60,000, and with Shs1m one can own a piece of land.
Kabowa central is the center of all economic activity in the area. Here, rent is on the high side with a single room going for Shs100, 000, and a double for Shs200, 000. A 50x100 ft plot of land starts from Shs15m .
“Simbwa zone is occupied by the rich and wealthy,’’ Kiweweesi comments.
Adding that all houses in this zone have perimeter walls and its residents hardly engage in any community activities. Most of the rental houses are self-contained and rent ranges from Shs200, 000 and above.
Despite having 10 zones, Kabowa parish has got no tarmac road. Cissy Makanga, chairperson Local Council II, says adding that Kabowa’s biggest problem is the poor road network.
“ Our roads are in a very bad state. When it shines dust is everywhere and when it rains they are impassable hindering most of the developments in the area,’’ Makanga explains.
However, Kabowa is bordered by two tarmac roads, one that stretches from Ndeeba to Bunawaya and Kabuusu to Kitebi.
Kabowa has only one government primary school Kabowa Church of Uganda Primary School. There is no government secondary school in the area. The nearest students can access is Kitebi Secondary School. However, there are a number of private schools in the area.
With the population of approximately 20,000 people Kabowa parish has no government hospital, patients are moved to Kitebi grade four hospital.
Kiweweesi says most of the houses built within the parish have no proper plans as many buy and where they think the available space is enough for them.
As a way of monitoring security, Makaga has banned most night club activities within Kabowa. “However, what we have is only a community police station that has not been of any help. A criminal is arrested today and released the following day,’’ says Mankaga.
With the population of approximately 20,000 people Kabowa parish has no government hospital, patients who cannot afford private medical services have to travel to Kitebi Grade IV hospital.
Kabowa still has a long way to go as far as planned housing is concerned. Each house was clearly built according to the individual’s taste and economic level. This disorganised housing is what gives most of Kabowa its slum look and feel.
“The town council has no particular building restrictions that i know of. If they do exist then no one follows them. People just buy land and build houses wherever they wish,” Kiweweesi explains.