Lugonjo is a known slum in Entebbe, about six kilometres from Entebbe Town. This slum is one of the mostly densely populated villages in Entebbe Municipality with about 40, 000 people.
The area is mostly known for its wild night life that starts at 7pm. Most of the establishments in the area are open 24 hours, seven days a week.
“Lugonjo never sleeps,” a bar attendant at Nakayiza’s Pub, one of the hottest spots in Lugonjo, says, as we talk about life in this slum. Here, at Nakayiza’s pub, disc jockeys do not stop spinning music, and women who sell chips and chicken, rolex and kikomando masters do not put their fire out,” he says.
In the day, the slum remains relatively quiet except for the sound of cars, boda bodas and music coming from open bars. Like any other place, some people work but as the sunsets, bars light up and heavy music invades the area. From as early as 6pm, people hit the streets for the ‘hot’ Lugonjo nightlife.
Lugonjo councillor Twaha Kikomeko, says there is a high rate of uneployment. As a result, most youth resort to prostitution, marijuana and alcohol consumption.
“Most of the youth in Lugonjo take marijuana, sachets of waragi, gamble from morning till late because they are unemployed,’’ he says.
Lugonjo slum is situated on swamp land and so has many sewer drainage channels weaving between homes. Most of the drainage channels are stagnant, harbouring various waterborne diseases.
Juma Mukasa, a senior citizen, says government should construct a health centre in this area.
The zone has poor road network, making it inaccessible by cars and many houses are built on road reserves.
Cost of land
From 1992 to 2000, a 50ft x100ft plot cost between Shs500,000 and Shs700, 000. A 50ftx100ft is now about Shs40m and above. Land is scarce and so it is hard to get a plot on sale. Many people are reluctant to sell their land because of predicted future real estate boom.
Nelly Rugumayo of PEVCO real estate, says: “Lugonjo has real estate opportunities and there are investors buying the land because soon the place will develope.”
He adds that Lugonjo has a bright future because for those who manage to buy land for example, a 50x100ft plot at Shs10m can sell it at Shs30m after a month. He says land is very profitable in Lugonji and advises people to invest in land.
The highest amount you will pay for a non-self contained rental is Shs70, 000.
However, a self contained single room goes for Shs150,000 and double self contained room is at Shs250,000 and more.
Security of the area
“There’s insecurity in Lugonjo due to high number of unemployed youth and high population. Everyday at least two people move to Lugonjo yet they do not introduce themselves to the local leaders such as the LC1 chairperson. Lugonjo is occupied by youth gangsters who terrorise residents because they are jobless,” says Mukasa.
He adds: “The population keeps on rising yet security personnel don’t increase in number.’’
Paul Zikuliza, the chairman LC 1, says residents have embraced a registration system to curb crime. “Lugonjo now has 40, 000 registered residents...we have sensitised them about the neighbourhood watch system and everyone is their neighbour’s keeper,’’ Zikuliza explains.
“Whoever comes is supposed to first register in my office, I should know where they are from because some leave their villages after committing crimes. I also work with security organisations to see that our residents are safe because without security the area cannot develop,’’ the chairman shares.
Ambrose Eyonga, the officer-in-charge of Nakiwogo Police Station, says by the time he was deployed to his current duty station, crime rate was high.
“We all know that if the population is high, we expect a high crime rate and every day we received cases of theft. ever since I came, at least I have managed to reduce the crime rate,” says Eyonga.
“There’s prostitution in Lugonjo, marijuana at a place called Columbia but through our operations - foot patrol, and car patrol, we have managed to get most of the culprits through our informers who we work with to ensure that Lugonjo residents and their property is safe both day and night,” he says.
With the continued effort from the police and Local Council One leadership, the high crime rate will soon be a thing of the past.
Majority of residents here are low income earners. Most people sell charcoal, chapatti and the famous rolex, chips and chicken. There are also a number of bars and restaurants.