Namuwongo: The wetland that sprouted into a slum

Wednesday May 14 2014

One of the streets in Namuwongo. Despite the many

One of the streets in Namuwongo. Despite the many businesses in the area, Namuwongo is still a slum with a number of poorly built houses. Photo by Racheal Ajwang 

By Roland D Nasasira

Like most places, Namuwongo got its name from an event that happened in the area. At the slanting hill where Namuwongo sits, there were a lot of water sources which were embedded in thick green vegetation covering the whole place. Farmers used to take advantage of the wetland to grow sugar canes.
Sulaiman Shaban, 84a resident of Namuwongo says all people in the neighbouring communities of Kabalagala, Kisugu and Kibuli used to fetch water at this place.

In Luganda, people would talk of it as “muluwonko” loosely translated as, valley, thus for people who could not pronounce the word properly, they would call it muwongo. This is how the name Namuwongo came about.

Namuwongo is located in Makindye Division, neighbouring Kibuli, Bukasa, Muyenga and Kisugu. The transport fare from Namuwongo to town is Shs700 in the afternoon and Shs1,000 during rush hours, especially in the morning and Shs1,500 from Kampala Town to Kisugu.
However Namuwongo being near town, a 30 minute walk can be enough from Namuwongo to town and vice versa.

Also using between Shs500 and Shs800 by bicycle boda bodas that ply the Namuwongo-Bukasa road is enough both to and from Namuwongo and KampalaTown.

As one would expect, a number of businesses go on in this place. From businesses like carpentry and joinery, retail shops, welding, restaurants, bars and food stalls and butcheries.

Cost of land and housing
The lower side of Namuwongo is a slum. It is constituted of houses built using poles and wattle; some are built with sunburnt bricks, with wattle used as cement. They are mainly make shift structures.

Livingstone Mutebi, the community liaison officer at Kisugu Police Station, says police sensitises the community about offences like theft, domestic violence, rape and defilement, burglary, assault and opium smoking because it creates alertness, thereby preventing crime.

“Whenever an offence is committed, we advise citizens to report to police so that we can conduct investigations and offenders are arrested and arraigned before court,” Mutebi says.

By way of reducing crime such as rape and defilement, Mutebi says police, through sensitisation cautions parents not to send young girls under 18 years to shops or fetch water by themselves at night.

Namuwongo is also home to several health facilities like International Hospital Kampala and other health centres whose fares can be afforded by low class residents and these include Patience Domiciliary Clinic and Care for the sick Health Centre.

Queen Ann Nursery and Primary School and Kisugu Central Primary School are among the few schools in this place. Eden Revival Church is one of the worship centres found in the place.

•Housing. Rental charges in Namuwongo depend on the quality of the house available. Renting houses which are built from wattle is between Shs30,000 and Shs60,000, renting single rooms without power is between Shs60,000 and Shs90,000, single rooms with power is between Shs90,000 and Shs150,000 while renting a double roomed house is between Shs150,000 and Shs250,000 and between Shs250,000 and shs400,000 for double roomed self-contained houses.

A family house ranges from Shs400,000 to Shs800,000 as Peter Blessedrum a broker in the area says.
• Land. The cost of a 50ft by 100ft piece of land with a land title is approximately Shs100m. It is negotiable. A 100ft by 100ft piece of land costs more than Shs200m, 20ft by 30ft costs Shs10m and a 25ft by 12ft, costs Shs5m.