The newly elected Mukono District chairperson, Rev Peter Bakaluba Mukasa, has promised to revive the area’s lost glory by improving service delivery.
The 55-year-old Anglican priest, who has previously served as a Member of Parliament, last week won the district chairperson seat on the National Unity Platform (NUP) ticket.
Rev Bakaluba beat two National Resistance Movement (NRM) cadres; Hajj Haruna Semakula and the incumbent Andrew Ssenyonga.
Rev Bakaluba said he is excited about the task ahead.
“There were a lot of mixed emotions, obviously,” Rev Bakaluba said in an interview at the weekend.
“The campaign trail was testing as an Opposition member but I am excited about this new role,” he added.
Rev Bakaluba vowed to serve all the people irrespective of their political, religious or tribal belonging.
“It does not matter where I personally belong politically because national budgets for districts are spread evenly. Even the government is interested in the development of community policies in my area and being in Opposition will help in service delivery,” he said.
He said his immediate task is to continue the work left behind by his predecessor Ssenyonga. While most roads in the municipality, including Ngandu, Kame, Katikolo, Lweza and Kigunga-Seeta bypass, have been repaired, the new mayor said the feeder roads remain in a bad state.
Rev Bakaluba said roads will get a fair share of the district budget under his tenure. “As Member of Parliament, I was so much involved in road construction and I personally through my road unit, I will revive the idea and make our roads better,” he said.
Currently, the district gets external funding from UNICEF and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) and he promised to bring new development partners on board.
“Our revenue stream will be grown through strategic partnerships and that is how we shall be able to deliver services,” Rev Bakaluba says.
Mukono is currently embroiled in many land wrangles. Initially, the district owned an estimated 49 acres of land but previous leaders have reportedly been involved in land grabbing schemes that have left only five.
Public land in Mpunge, Mpatta, Nakisunga and Koome Islands was grabbed. While some bibanja holders are facing eviction.
“Land remains a key issue for our people most of whom are farmers. There are recommendations by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire (land commission), which we need to observe but ultimately we should move a step further,” he said.
The conflicts with the Municipal Council are another headache that Rev Bakaluba faces. There have been overlapping responsibilities in regards to the Mukono General Hospital. This recently resulted in a strike by the medical workers after the municipality refused to pay them, claiming it was the work of the district. “Some people may want to use such issues to wage political wars but I will carefully work with the councilors to work for the people,” Rev Bakaluba said.