Making mention of Kyebando brings to mind a myriad of impressions. To some it comes off as a notorious slum, in the league of Katanga, Kisenyi and any other ghetto in Kampala. Other people will not give a damn. Chances are high they have never been to or even heard of this suburb in Kawempe division. A light conversation with the residents will reveal they just do not know where exactly to place it. Certainly it is not the rich man’s crib and neither a slum even when its neighbourhoods like Bwaise, Kikaya, Mulago and Kamwokya give it the image.
Thus is the story of this area located 5.5km away from the city centre. Over the last five decades, Kyebando is one of those places that have seen development come with slow but sure speed. The narrow roads for instance that were once characterized by galleys are now broader and often maintained. Tarmac though is only visible on the routes captured by the Northern By-pass which ideally separates Kyebando from Bukoto and Kamwokya.
Kashaija, the Local Council one chairman for Kisalosalo zone who shifted to the area in 1991 notes that the population could have doubled since 2002 when the last National Population Census was conducted. The census put the area’s population at 35,000 people.
“That is why it is hard to come across open space in Kyebando when buying land,” he shares.
This has significantly impacted on the cost of land, especially that bearing structures. 25 decimals of land, he says, can go for not less than shs. 80m which is extremely high as compared to five years ago when the same cost about shs. 20M.
He recounts that as early as 2000-2003, the housing structure in the suburb was scattered but today, the area could be on its way to becoming over-crowded especially owing to the unplanned housing. From an average rent of shs. 30,000-45,000, the cost of rent has more than doubled in less than five years. This is attributable to a number of factors, noticeably the coming of piped water in 2000 and the increasing demand.
74 year old Mzee Leonard Kato Salongo, a resident since 1968 gladly notes the high level of infrastructural development in the place. For a long period, stretching from independence down to late 1990s, Kyebando had one government aided school, one church, one health centre, one mosque. He observes though that every aspect of social service delivery has tremendously increased.
Today, the area boasts of over twenty schools like Kampala Model Primary School and Kampala Hill Academy which rank high in the national academic league tables. “The secondary schools though have continued to lag behind. Instead of grooming upright citizens, they give them too much freedom and these are the same people terrorizing the area,” notes Charles Opi, a resident from Central zone.
Security situation not the best
“Even the security has improved, up to 2000, the whole village was bushy with very few people. It was a hide out for thieves,” the old man observes, stressing that the crime rate is starting to go up again.
“As old people who enjoyed the peace of Kyebando we get disappointed with these idle youth taking drugs, stealing and indulging in all sorts of crime,” he notes, calling upon the Ugandan Police Force to establish a permanent police station in the area. Currently, Kira, Wandegeya and Kawempe police stations serve the area.
Chairman Kashaija notes that much as the Northern By-pass is one the village’s landmarks, it has worsened the security situation in the area.
“You can not pass via the Northern By-pass at night. It is a hot spot for robbers and iron bar hit men. Residents are still waiting for police to deal with them once and for all,” he says.
No clear origin of the name
According to a number of elderly residents Homes was referred to, the origin of the name Kyebando remains unclear, partly due to no documented historical reference.
Mzee Salongo Kato says as children, they were only told that Kyebando was once pre-dominantly occupied by the Basoga as Kabaka Mutesa 1 had donated it to them.
“The name could have originated from the Basoga,” he asserts adding that along the way, sharp disagreements arose between the Baganda and Basoga leading to the latter reclaiming the area. However, today the area is occupied by a multiplicity of tribes with the Alur, from West Nile dominating Kisalosalo zone.
The future is bright
Kashaija singles out Brimax Hotel which has changed the sky line of the area and several other mushrooming social joints and concludes development of the area is only a question of time. This assertion is given credence by the fact that it is only a five minute drive from Mulago National Referral Hospital and 5.5km from the city centre.