Saturday January 25 2014

Create regional cities to ease Kampala’s load

Allow me to put across the following observations about the state of our nation’s capital city-Kampala, vis-avis operations of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and its Greater Kampala Metropolitan Authority/Area (GKMA).

No matter what KCCA does, including expanding the city environs to GKMA, as long as the central government of which KCCA is now part does not solve problems where they occur (in rural areas), i.e. unemployment, rural-urban migration, rural people seeking better education, health, immigration services, land-title certificates, trade and economic opportunities etc, Kampala’s problems will persist. These should be controlled from flooding the city by elevating some major towns, currently of municipality status to regional city status (e.g. Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Jinja and Mbarara.

The elevation should include better transport, housing and medical infrastructure; education, employment via regional city jobs; agro-processing industries, hotels, trade and commerce, among other avenues of employment and service provision. Without deliberately equipping the regional cities with all the necessary amenities, we shall see no significant positive results/long-term impacts from KCCA/GKMA’s good efforts.

Elevation of these municipalities to regional city status should also go along with the establishment of bikuubo’s or trading hubs in all the new regional cities—whereby traders from those regions and beyond purchase in bulk merchandise and will no longer have to come to Kampala’s kikuubo as is the case today.

This move alone would save Kampala and GKMA, the mess of damaged roads, horrible time-wasting and sickening traffic jam and fuel-fumes, deaths from motor accidents, pollution from all the trucks that daily ply the incoming routes to purchase from kikuubo.
Our neighbours Kenya and Tanzania have regional cities (Mombasa and Kisumu for the former) and (Dodoma, Arusha and Mwanza for the latter) that greatly support Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam, respectively, to ease the load.

KCCA’s short, medium and long-term plans, programmes and strategies aimed at improving the central business district and the immediate CBD neighbourhoods, shall bear little positive impact if the government does not deal with Kampala’s problems originating from outside the city.

Peter Wamboga-Mugirya,