Kampala. It was time for the relocation of Shimoni Demonstration Primary School to pave way for development in the city, Mr Rajiv Ruparelia, Mr Sudhir Ruparelia’s son, has said.
Mr Rajiv made the remarks yesterday shortly after the official opening of Kingdom Kampala Shopping Mall on Nile Avenue.
“Shimoni served its purpose. However, it was whether to leave Kampala underdeveloped or developed. As urbanisation takes shape, a lot of changes happen and this goes hand in hand with the growing population,” he said.
“When Shimoni was here (Nile Avenue), Kampala’s day population was about one million people but now the number has increased to about four million people. So how do you accommodate these people? Where do they work?” he asked.
Mr Rajiv said as the city expands, schools can be established in growing suburbs to avoid pressure, especially in the city centre where many changes are inevitable.
His comment was in response to Daily Monitor’s question on whether they have no regrets for displacing a school which offered education services to Kampala’s children from the urban poor.
Both the teachers college and the primary school were controversially demolished ahead of the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting where government sought to build a five-star hotel to accommodate dignitaries. Both facilities were later relocated to Kira, Wakiso District.
Mr Rajiv said the 13-floor building targets multinational companies, the middle-income group, government ministries and departments, and the oil and gas sector as their tenants.
The mall will have a restaurant, hotel, office space, a parking space of 500 cars, among others.
Asked whether they are not worried of the low occupancy rate which many city buildings are grappling with, Mr Rajiv said as the city grows, so is the pressure on the available space hence the only remedy is towering structures.
Mr Christopher Higenyi, the architect of the mall, said the designs were inspired by the demand by corporate companies whom he said want a serene environment.
“Even when multinationals are looking for office space, they need space that matches international standards. However, much of the designs on this mall are made of our local products such as back cloth. This mixture makes it a beautiful place and we are happy that it has improved the city’s skyline,” he said.