Wednesday March 16 2016

The changing face of some residential areas

Ntinda used to be a majorly residential area.

Ntinda used to be a majorly residential area. However, the area now boasts of several businesses with a number of shopping malls being established in the area. Photo by Alex Esagala  

By Racheal Irene Nalubega

Some of the purely residential places in the 90s have now also become business hubs and these include, Ntinda, Muyenga, Bukoto and Najjera, among others. Below we explain the changes they have under gone and why.

Muyenga is one of the 15 zones in Bukasa parish, Makindye Division which has over the years retained its “rich” status.

Bukasa LC1 Chairman, Francis Mountains Nsozi says Muyenga got its name from a vernacular word “kuyenga”, which means squeeze. Apparently, there were herbal trees on the tank hill area and herbalists would squeeze these herbs and recommend the product to the sick for better health.

Nsozi says though Muyenga was remote in the 70s, it was a place of settlement for rich people who liked it for its quietness and availability of huge pieces of land.
“The rich sought out Muyenga for its serene environment away from the city centre’s noise and for the presence of enough land because the rich were interested in building houses on acres of land.”
Nsozi adds “Muyenga has always been a residential settlement and it is no doubt that it had no shops, night clubs or hotels. Residents would come with all they needed at home from the city centre.”

New developments
Muyenga is still a place for the rich but with slight improvement in the commercial sector. Some former houses are now high end hotels and restaurants.

Housing and land
Most houses in Muyenga still have the old structures. Most houses are just renovated and they still stand firm and are as good as new.

You cannot find single or two-bedroom units to rent in this part of Kampala.
Nsozi, however, says there are rare cases where families residing abroad rent out their servants quarters, which in turn, guarantees security for their property. But renting a servants’ quarter does not come cheap, it can go up to $2000 (about Shs6.7m) a month with a one-year payment advance.

There is no vacant land in the area so anyone thinking of buying land would either have to wait for the owners to sell or buy from the nearby zones where development is also fast pacing.


The popularity of Ntinda goes back to the 1980s. Gilbert Muhumuza, the village 12 LC1 Chairman, says those days, Ntinda was home to influential people such as ministers, which led to a particular village in Ntinda to be called Ministers’ Village.
He says it was named after a bridge (Lutindo) joining stretcher road and upper Ntinda and has 19 villages.

Muhumuza says Ntinda was meant for top ranking civil servants such as permanent secretaries, judges and ministers which explains the good infrastructure in the area.

However, a few years ago, the face of Ntinda started changing. It now boasts of commercial plazas and non-government organisations offices that rent former residential.
“The status of most areas in Ntinda has changed and now NGOs are renting former residential houses as offices since most of the former occupants are no longer working and the rent offered by the NGOs is a good source of income,” Muhumuza says.

Land and housing
According to Muhumuza, initially, one could rent a self-contained two room house between Shs100,000 and Shs200,000 but now, they range from Shs800,000 and above, of which there are some that require payment in dollars.
As for land, Muhumuza says before, a 100ft by 100ft plot of land could be bought at between Shs10m and Shs20m but now, the same size of plot goes for Shs400m and above yet at times, some sellers ask for payment in dollars.

Kololo is a sub-county with four parishes, namely Kololo 1, 2, 3 and 4. It is a place that was gazetted for government diplomats in the 80s.
Just like Ntinda, Kololo was a place for chief justices, government clerks, permanent secretaries and ministers among others.
Kololo is one of the well planned area in Kampala District as all houses were built by government according to plan for it was a planned residential area. However, this has changed over the years, and now Kololo boasts of a number of high end restaurants, hotels, hangout places, private clinics and offices.
It is no doubt that though people from other areas access these services; it is the Kololo residents that use them more because they are up to their standard and as private as they require.

After government gave back land to the people of Kololo, those tenants who never wanted to leave had to buy their land at an overwhelming price of Shs48m for just 70 decimals.

Anthony Okware, Kololo 1 LC1 chairman, says buying land back then was only possible if one had to buy it through the bank as the amount was a lot to come by at once.

He adds that “those who could not buy had to vacate the place and let government sell it, to those who could afford it. He adds, “There are some people who purchased the land but never wanted to stay in the area so they rented out the premises and relocated to places such as Kyanja and Najjera.”
Currently a 70 decimal land purchace in Kololo could go for $2.1m (about Shs7.1b).
The now vacant land in Kololo is either managed by a school or Kampala Capital City Authority.

Kiwatule is located in Nakawa Division between Ntinda and Najjera. It has only four zones of Balintuma, Central, Sebowa and Kazinga.

In the 80s, Kiwatule was sparsely populated and Balintuma LC1 chairman, George William Semboze, says this explains the few zones it has. He says the main road connecting Kiwatule from Ntinda was marram and the tarmac ended in Ntinda.
Kiwatule is said to have acquired its name from a Luganda saying “tetwatula miti wabula bantu” literally meaning we do not chop trees but humans. In the 80s, there were many deaths that occurred in the area.

Given its dense population, Kiwatule did not have any booming business. However, Semboze says after Bidandi Ssali opened up a recreational centre in the area, It attracted more businesses such as hangout places.
The once dirt road was tarmacked which saw an increase in the number of people buying land, plots and constructing houses in Kiwatule.
The many access roads in the area have made it more accessible to the town. A 25 decimal plot of land in Kiwatule ranges between Shs150m and Shs200m yet before it would go for Shs2m and Shs3m.

Another former residential place that is now becoming a business hub is Bukoto. It is between Kamwokya and Ntinda and it has 13 zones.
Charles Ndolerire, the LC1 chairman, of Mowlem zone, one of the zones in the area, says in the 70s, Bukoto was fairly accessible with dirt roads probably because it is near the city centre. But this delayed its development commercially, as residents there would work in the city centre.

Land and housing
Ndolerire says in the past, a 25 decimal plot of land went for between Shs1m and Shs2m. The same piece of land now ranges between Shs350m and Shs500m for commercial land and residential land goes for Shs800m and Shs700m.
Rentals in Bukoto were cheap but with the improved roads, prices shot up from between Shs300,000 and Shs500,000 a month for a single room self-contained unit.
Bukoto now boasts of an international school, night clubs, high end hotels and upscale residential units.

Word from the experts

Godwin Mumbere, a real estate agent with Royale Property Consultants, says despite these areas being all residential, the types of houses that sell in these areas vary.
He says Muyenga and Kololo are in a high-end category where a number of the residents work in different high commissions and in regard to the land tenure system in these areas which is lease hold for about 90 years, “People there are comfortable, especially because they are sure of relocating to another country, which is always the case.”

However, for Bukoto and Ntinda, he says there are many apartments and houses for rent with differences in income status. This is so because these areas have private mailo land which attracts the middle earners who want to be in control of their land in the long run.

And for Kiwatule, he notes that its residential status is a recent development which has led to the rising population that is blamed for its big rental venture. The cause of Kiwatule’s population growth is also as a result of the huge chunks of private mailo land that was on sale in the early 90s.
Mumbere adds that the cost of renting and buying land and houses in these areas hugely differs. “You can buy land in Muyenga and Kololo in dollars yet areas of Bukoto, Kiwatule and Ntinda have purchases in shillings.
Peter Kiggundu, an urban planner with Kampala capital city authority (KCCA), notes that the changes in these urban areas are mainly due to the fact that they are easily accessible by most people who move to Kampala and the fact that the city is growing economically.
“It is for this reason that KCCA is working on a physical development plan which will see places such as part of Kololo and others near the city centre turned into full commercial destinations with office space for people to transact business.

He says these places are fast turning into commercial centres and moving away from being full time residentials, which explains the increment in land and rent prices. “So people should embrace the commercial aspect of these areas for their own economic growth,” Kiggundu advises.