Pallisa town lies on the three main roads Mbale-Kamonkoli-Pallisa, Kumi-Pallisa and Tirinyi –Pallisa-Gogonyo roads and is vividly scattered with old structures.
Pallisa Town is located in Pallisa District in the eastern region of Uganda.The town is approximately 65km, by road, West of Mbale, the largest city in the sub-region. This is approximately 200Km, by road,north east of Kampala, the capital of Uganda. It is comprised of five wards: East, Hospital, Kagwese, Kaucho and West Wards [parishes] with an estimated population of 40,000 persons
Locals say that the town started as a cotton and produce business outpost, and started slowly moving from peri-urban setting to a Town council status.
The general glance at the geographical location of the town tells that the town is steadily growing despite being dotted with old structures on some of the streets. “These are structures that the council needs to demolish from the centre of the town,” Moses Okwi, a resident says.
Rising from the ruins
But those who have not stepped foot in Pallisa would not believe the rapid growth of the town with many commercial houses and big institutions cropping up in the area, an indication that the dream of the town council to move to municipality status would become a reality.
Many factors could be put under consideration for the fast growth of the trading centre.
Issa Taligola, the former Pallisa District chairman, said there was some negativity and political insecurity which ideally retarded the development and then left people with little interest in developing even when they had money to construct commercial houses. “Those challenges had put the area into development doom with few Indian houses from as back as the 1920s as shops,” he said.
He explained that upon the expansion of the trading centre it later turned into a town board in the 1980s and later into a town council in 1991. Leaders have formalised the paper demanding the town council be elevated to a municipality.
The road network of Tirinyi-Pallisa-Kumi and Pallisa-Kamonkoli-Mbale roads have played a significant role in the rapid development of the town as some of these roads are being tarmacked.
Taligola explained, “For one to operate a business in the area was a hustle because of the insecurity. So the area remained isolated in terms of development until recently.”
He noted that in 1996, the town started developing with some structures being constructed. The high profiled leaders like Dan Kojjo, the 1st District chairman spear-headed the drive to develop the town.
“The town is a home to a number of tribes but the notable ones include, Bagwere, Itesot, Bagisu, Basoga, and Baganda. This hospitality has been reason for some tremendous achievements in terms of development,” Taligola said.
He said the potential for urban growth is well recognised with the emergence of numerous growth of small scale industries and as well a multi-billion hotels like Country Inn, Kyoga, Elephant and many others.
Before Bukedi was split into several districts, Pallisa came to the limelight because its leaders who engineered the administration of Bukedi at the time and made the area popular were all from Pallisa County before it was elevated to a district.
“All these developments have promoted the town to peri urban and the population in the area is increasing with many people now migrating from other towns and settling and operating business within the town,” Mr Taligola said, adding that, “It is a matter of time before Pallisa starts shinning above others”.
The town boasts of improved services such as accommodation in terms of hotels, inns and rest houses, medical facilities and hopes to gain the municipality status soon.
Cost of land
The existence of Kasodo piped water, electricity, tarmacked roads and prevailing peace (security). These basic necessities have propelled people to demand for land and settle in Pallisa Town. “This has even pushed the prices of land high compared to previous times when the prices were very low.”
The mayor of Pallisa Town, Mr Yusuf Zomu said prices of land within Pallisa Town Council have skyrocketed as a result of the increasing population. He noted that a plot of land, depending on the location is between shs25m and shs30m.