In Ugandan culture, a house of one’s own is a big achievement; it is a mark of maturity and stability.
With a steadily maturing population, the pace of building houses is also growing each year.
This one factor could explain why land in Uganda is so exorbitantly expensive. This has caused many people to consider areas further away from the urban centres as suitable places to live.
Temangalo is one such village. For most Ugandans, the first time they ever heard of Temangalo was in 2008. A scandal involving the then Security Minister Amama Mbabazi and NSSF was widely covered in the news.
The nation was shocked that Shs12b had exchanged hands for just over 400 acres of land in a village that no one had ever heard about. For most people, this was the last time you ever heard of Temangalo. That is how off-grid it is.
That is the reason Temangalo is deceptively off-the-grid. It is about four kilometres south of Wakiso Town, about three kilometres north of Buloba Town on Mityana Road and about six kilometres north-east of the Northern Bypass. The distance between Temangalo and Kampala is about 14km.
This distance in comparison to places such as Seeta which is 19km from the city, and Kajjansi which is 18km from Kampala, makes it closer. However, the good news is, it is still safe from the extensive development experienced in similar areas.
No shiny new houses to be seen anywhere. The only serious economic activity in sight is businessman Amos Nzeyi’s large cattle farm on one of the hills.
Residents say the farm has been here for decades. Other than that, Temangalo is a quiet village that would have you believe you are roaming the underbelly of Kibaale District.
To embrace this opportunity in advance, some real estate developers have bought large chunks of land in these parts and subdivided them into smaller standard plots for resale. Nonetheless, the prices are still very good.
A standard plot of land (50 ft X 100 ft) goes for as low as Shs18m. Some are as expensive as Shs40m but that is a good price for a location which is only a 30-minute-drive from downtown Kampala.
Of course there are cheaper substandard plots in this place too if you look for them, you will get a 50ftX50ft for Shs7m.
An acre of land that is suitable for home construction (far away from a swamp) goes for about Shs140m. On the other hand, one closer to the swamp goes for Shs60m. Most of those suitable for home constructions have all been bought by property developers already.
However, those in low laying lands are still available. Although these are usually best suited for farming, some usually have sections for residence.
New road in pipeline
The off-the-grid era of these villages in central Wakiso are soon coming to an end. On the day we visited Temangalo, there was a team of surveyors in the nearby Bukasa Trading Centre taking measurements of the road.
The main connecting road joins the Northern By-pass at Masanafu through Sentema. The Uganda National Roads Authority is in the initial stages of upgrading the dirt road to tarmac.