Katosi residents survive on fishing

Wednesday September 5 2018

Traders prepare their fish for sale in Kat

Traders prepare their fish for sale in Katosi. The main commercial activity in this area is fishing. Photo by Christine Katende 

By Christine Katende

Katosi is a remote village near Lake Victoria. Being at the border of Lake Victoria, the main activity is fishing. The surrounding villages include Koome, Kikuuta, Kalengela, Nakijja, Kasanja, and Kiyobyo.

To get to this famous fishing hub, you go through Mukono Town at Wantoni stage on Jinja Highway, turn off on your right to Katosi- Nkokonjeru Road. One can also get to Katosi by water through Gaba.

Katosi was part of Sabaddu-Ntenjeru Sub-County, until it was recently divided into two town councils; Ntenjeru-Kisoga and Katosi town council in Mukono District.

Katosi LCI Chairperson Experito Kalyesubula, says Katosi mostly houses low income earners.

Development
Kalyesubula says 20 years ago, Katosi was very remote with a dirt road, few houses and low population. Residents say the area started developing after the road was tarmacked. The development has also come with connection to the electricity grid that has lit the village.

Business
“As many people bought land and built houses in the area, many have set up business like boutiques, retail shops, restaurants, clinics, schools mostly at nursery and primary levels. Other developments include the three secondary school one being government aided, a health centre II, garages, which are mostly for repairing boat engines, among other small business,” shares Kalyesubula.

Besides fishing, some residents are also into supplying firewood to various markets in Mukono District.

Ronald Kusoro, a resident, says life in Katosi is good because they get the services they need. He says there are micro finance institutions and bank agents that provide financial services.

Kusoro, however, notes that government should re-open Bubyanzi landing site that was closed by the military police to keep the business going since fishing is the main business in the area.
Residents who are into farming mostly cultivate maize, beans and bananas.

Land
Although there is private land in Katosi that reportedly belongs to an individual (Ham Mukasa), the biggest chunk is mailo land (Kabaka’s land) and most of the people are bibanja holders. About 12 to 20 years ago, land was cheap and one could buy a 50ft x100ft plot at as low as Shs50, 000. Today, the same plot costs between Shs15m to Shs20m.

Housing
Rent in Katosi is Shs10, 000 for an unplastered single room with no electricity while a double plastered roomed unit with electricity ranges between Shs100,000 and Shs150,000.

The chairman, however, says the cost of rentals depends on where they are located. For business, rooms on the main road cost higher than those that away from the town centre. They cost between Shs60,000 and Shs200,000, depending on the size and location.

Water
Although the installation of piped water has not come to reality, many homes have boreholes that provide safe water for home use. Those who cannot afford a borehole, buy a jerry can at Shs100 from the public borehole in the trading centre.

Transport
Chairman Kalyesubula says a taxi from Mukono to Katosi costs between Shs3,500 and Shs4,000, while a boda boda charges Shs10,000.

Security
Although it was very remote 20 years ago, the security in Katosi was not that bad as it is now with a higher population. Kalyesubula says whoever was caught in the wrong, was disciplined by village elders. Land and property-related cases are normally reported to the chairman’s office.

With population growth, criminals started breaking into residents’ houses, especially when they were away.

Katosi police station ASP Ali Fauz, says a police station was established in the area because of the high cases of drowning of fishermen. He, however, notes that robbery of motorcycles is the most reported crime followed by assault, domestic violence, theft and general burglary.
The officer, however notes that the crime rate has reduced because of the establishment of the police station.

Challenges
Kusoro points out that the major challenge is some police officers. “Yes, Katosi has changed but the problem is that some of the police officers do not treat the reported cases seriously in that they connive with law breakers instead of letting them face the law,” he states.

Chairman Kalyesubula says the village council is working hand in hand with the police and army to fight poor fishing methods as well as arresting those that are using substandard nets.

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