Over the years, Nakawa Division has grown to become one of the most popular commercial centres in the country. Benjamin Sebuliba Kalumba, the Nakawa Municipality Mayor states that among the 23 parishes, Nakawa stands out as the most recognised because of its strategic location (it is a highway between Kampala and Jinja) but mostly because of the presence of Nakawa Market which is the second biggest in the country.
“The market attracts a number of traders from all the corners of this country who come to sell different commodities ranging from food stuffs to clothes,” Kalumba states.
Origin of the market
Mzee Haruna Semwanga, an elder and trader who has been at the market for the past 38 years states that the market was originally at the upper side of Nakawa Trading centre. The then market had structures made up of papyrus reeds and because it was small, every trader had to operate in a confined work station. When it rained, the whole trading centre became inaccessible not only for the traders but for clients as well.
“The market was in such a mess back then. It was not only crowded but dirty as well,” Semwanga states.
Because of that, Nazuri, who was a governor during Amin’s regime, initiated the plan of shifting the market. The plan was effected and the market was later on relocated to the inside part of the trading centre where it stands today.
Makerere University Business School (MUBS) is the most well-known educational institute in the division. Established in the 1960s and formerly known as Nakawa College of Business Studies (NCBS), MUBS provides business and management education at the certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Nakawa Park and Naguru General Hospital
Another thriving centre in the division is the Nakawa United Park which was established in the 1990s. Semwanga says that it was mainly developed in order to ease the mode of transport of mainly the market traders since some came from very distant parts of the country.
Naguru General Hospital which is situated on Naguru hill is another well-known place in Nakawa division. The hospital which consists of seven buildings, a maternity ward, a teenage centre, a paediatric ward and four operating rooms was built between 2009 and 2012 to mainly serve the Nakawa residents.
Since Nakawa parish is increasingly becoming a business oriented centre, Semwanga states that it is quite hard to find a place of accommodation or even land for connstruction.
“As much as Nakawa parish has residential places of accommodation, these are few in number. That is why most people simply come to do their various businesses and then go back to their various homes.” Semwanga states.
He partly does blame the accommodation scarcity on the demolished Nakawa-Naguru estates. The housing estates were constructed during the 1950s to accommodate low income government employees. The estates were demolished back in 2011.
“The majority of the crimes committed are from the market. However these are the petty sort of crimes such as pickpocketing and stealing,” states Julius Ader, a constable from Naguru Police barracks.
Even on that note, Ader states that Nakawa Division is one of the safest places to conduct business.