know your hood : Kasangati, Kasangati is synonymous with the drama of Col. Kizza Besigye - Daily Monitor

know your hood : Kasangati, Kasangati is synonymous with the drama of Col. Kizza Besigye

Wednesday November 14 2012

By Joyce Mirembe

Located six miles from Kampala, Kasangati is a relatively good residential hub in Wakiso District. With a transport fare of Shs1500 to the city, the place offers one a call on the wild where the environment is tranquil _ it is placed fairly far from the jostle and hullabaloo of the city.

Between 1850s and 1880s during the reign of King Muteesi I of Buganda, the kingdom officials decided the area should be a meeting point for all the chiefs in Kyadondo County. According to Expedito Musisi, the LC1 Chairperson of Buyinja, a village located in the area, says the Bataka [land chiefs] used to sit under a tree-shed to discuss the issues pertaining the rest of the Shire.

Background to the name
Coined from two words “Kasanga,” literally translated to mean a point that plays host to the saza (county) meetings and “akati” meaning “the tree-shed,” which were joined together to birth the word Kasangati; and the place was named so.
The kingship also demarcated and named the four villages that comprise Kasangati. They are; Buyinja, Kyankima, Bulamu and Kazinga.

While standing on the hilly Buyinja village, one can see the outstanding, towering and elegant cedar trees where the said meetings took place. The trees form an oval-shaped figure, a style in which the Bataka would sit when they gathered. Mr Musisi says the meetings were random and could be scheduled when and how the kingdom deemed it fit.

Fairly spacious
If one is looking for spacious land to, for instance, do farming, he or she may not look any further because Kasangati, still has a sizeable chunk of vacant land. A number of residents in the area, including Dr Kizza Besigye, have got large courtyards from where they rear cattle, goats while others carry out poultry farming.

Mr Samson Kyewalabye is an elderly resident of Kyankima village who owns a few cattle at the back of his courtyard: “The environment has so far been favourable for breeding cattle since fodder for the animals is available.”
Land, however, is also becoming costly given the gradually growing business drives in the area. Mr Dickson Mwebaze, a businessman in Kasangati town, tells Homes that a developed acre of land located on the Kasangati-Gayaaza main road costs between Shs400m and Shs200m. A developed plot off the main road may go for Shs140m while a vacant one could be purchased at Shs79m. One could still acquire a much cheaper plot of Shs40m located further afield from the same road.

Mr Besweeli Nsajju, a resident of Kasangati, says rentals are affordable, monthly rates are between Shs15.000 and Shs200,000 for a one-bedroom house with water-borne toilet and kitchen. Nsajju says a single room without the latter goes for only Shs80,000.

To those who love partying, recreational facilities such as Comfort Cottages; Afro, Resort and Bebe clubs are splendid items for an evening out. And one’s safety is also guaranteed even during night hours.

On the other hand, foodstuffs are quite expensive since there isn’t any ample market in the area. The residents buy foods from individuals who purchase small stocks for retail. However, the area is patched between Gayaaza market (one mile away) and the low-priced-commodity Kalerwe (two miles away). One could, therefore, choose to do his or her groceries from either of the markets. The place is located on a relatively high altitude thus attracting low pressure that can hardly pump water to the homesteads. Aware of this limitation, the residents are armed with water tanks and rain harvesting is one of those practices common in the area. In addition, the area has a couple of bore holes that supplement water needs for the people there.

Stable electricity supply is another forte of Kasangati. Peter Mukasa, who operates a saloon in the area township, is proud to have set up his business there. “I rarely have power interruptions and just like my neighbours, business is on course.”

Contrary to a number of Kampala metropolitan suburbs, Kasangati is so far still worthy of credit in cleanliness. The villages have their rubbish collection points where the Kampala City Council KCCA waste truck-carriers load the garbage for disposal to the Mpererwe landfill at Kiteezi.

Some places with compacted neighbourhoods such as Buyinja village have not fully responded to the garbage collection exercise and scores of wastes can be seen on the alleyways.

“Besigye” the contagious name
Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye, whose name is synonymous with Kasangati, too, resides in one of the coveted serene villages of Kyankima. Both young and old are well acquainted with the man’s influence which impacts the general stimuli of the activities in the area. Mukasa says upshots that come with Besigye’s political works sometimes leave the entire area without electricity.
“I have noticed that every time Police confront the Colonel, there is always a power shutdown.”

Five-year-old Marjorie Nanyonjo, a pupil at Dove Nursery School, hints that she associates Dr Besigye with police patrols, which she says ultimately pump teargas into the residents. “If dad is taking me to school and we see the patrols coming to Besigye’s place, then I would long for home other than school where police can spray teargas in our eyes.”