Why Mukono, Wakiso leaders resist Metropolitan masterplan

The plan aims at improving traffic jam in Kampala. PHOTO/FRANK BAGUMA
 

What you need to know:

The former Mpigi District chairperson, Mr Peter Claver Mutuluza, says the masterplan will only make sense if the government prioritises service delivery. 

Section 16 of the Kampala Capital City (Amendment) Act, 2019 empowers the Minister for Kampala in consultation with the ministers responsible for urban development and that of Local Government to coordinate physical planning in the metropolitan area.

A decade ago, the government hatched a plan to carve out parts of Wakiso, Mukono and Mpigi districts and annex them to Kampala as a unitary governance entity. The plan has since remained on paper. 
Through the Ministry of Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, the government appears to be ready to implement the plan, but has faced resistance from a section of leaders in the metropolitan area.

Ms Minsa Kabanda, the minister-in-charge of Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, says the strategy aims at  guiding planning and bringing about orderly settlement and development in the growing urban areas neighbouring Kampala City.
The Mukono Municipality legislator, Ms Betty Nambooze, says the existing legal regime doesn’t allow expansion of Kampala’s planning area and governance structure and if the government goes ahead with this plan, it will be challenged in court.

“Expanding Kampala City beyond its current boundaries contravenes Article 178(3) of the Constitution, which determines the boundaries of the constitutional Buganda region.
“Article 5 of the Constitution stipulates that Kampala, although located in Buganda, belongs to Ugandans. It is not counted among the districts of Buganda. So, what is the minister and her team planning to do before amending these laws?” she asks 
Ms Nambooze claims that Buganda has only remained strong in the districts which the government wants to form the metropolitan area and implementing the masterplan would weaken the local governments. 

“For any district to be amalgamated with another, the process has to be initiated by lower local councils and not the central government. I warn leaders at Mukono District Local Government not to be hoodwinked into being annexed to Kampala. The whole process is unconstitutional, a nullity, and will be challenged in courts of law,” she says. 
However, in her defence, Minister Kabanda insists that there are no constitutional amendments needed to operationalise the Greater Kampala Metropolitan masterplan because it seeks to improve the living standards of the urban poor through providing infrastructure. 

The strategic plan aims at ensuring that the area is jointly planned and developed with modern infrastructure and all the necessary amenities. 
“It is not true that those areas are going to be carved out of Buganda and annexed to Kampala, they are going to remain as they are, but the focus is mostly going to be on improving the infrastructure like water, electricity, improved roads, among others,” Ms Kabanda says. 
Another project they plan to roll out under the arrangement, the minister says is the new Multi-Modal Urban Transport Masterplan for the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area, which is expected to address the menacing traffic jam in the city.

The new transport plan under the five-year Kampala Institutional and Infrastructural Development Project intends to phase out taxis and replace them with the Bus Transit System and Rail Transit system. The project is funded by the World Bank to the tune of $183.7m (Shs693 billion) 
“KCCA is going to use those funds to construct and operate a robust mass rapid system with buses, light rail transit and, cable cars and we don’t want to leave out areas surrounding Kampala,” Ms Kabanda adds. 
During her visit to  Mukono District last week to popularise the metropolitan plan, Ms Kabanda said leaders, mainly from the Opposition, are bent on sabotaging the programme to gain political capital. 

Ms Minsa Kabanda, the minister-in-charge of Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs (centre), with some Mukono District leaders last week. PHOTO/DIPHAS KIGULI

“I came here on the directive of the President. We’re going to start working together as a metropolitan because the Kampala Infrastructure Programme   is already on course and nothing will stop it,” she says. 
The minister asked the Mukono District leaders to provide her team with office space.
“I will personally be coming to sit here on other days. I will have representatives to closely monitor the progress of government projects in the area,” she said.
 
The Mukono North MP, Mr Abdallah Kiwanuka, says if government is targeting development in the metropolitan area, it should consider increasing funds for lower local governments to enable them successfully work on their challenges instead of amalgamating them with Kampala.
“We want to reach a level where Mukono will be elevated to a city status. So, fusing the district into Kampala frustrates this dream and besides Kampala has many challenges which have been there for decades and if at all we accept to be under the metropolitan masterplan, our priorities are going to be suffocated,” he says 
The Mukono District speaker, Ms Betty Hope Nakasi, wonders where the minister would get funds to operationalise the Metropolitan masterplan when her Ministry doesn’t have a specific budget and operates under the Office of President. 

“Secondly, the 10 municipalities that were elevated into cities, many are still underfunded because the government doesn’t have funds. So, where is Ms Kabanda going to get the budget for the Kampala Metropolitan area?” she asked 
 In Wakiso, the district leaders are also reading from a different script, scoffing at Ms Kabanda’s initiative.
According to Mr Matia Lwanga Bwanika, the Wakiso District chairperson, they have their own physical development plan which was unveiled in 2017 and it has gone through all processes.
The plan, which has since been passed, stipulates which areas in Wakiso should accommodate infrastructure such as industrial parks, agricultural fields, tourism sites, hospitals and schools, among others.
“This is not the first time they [government] are talking about Kampala Metropolitan Masterplan, if they are serious this time round, they will find us there. Our physical development plan has since been gazetted and all developments in terms of infrastructure are done following that plan,” he says. 

Mr Bwanika, who has in the last six years been pushing for elevation of Wakiso to a city, insists that the area has all it takes to become a city. 
However, while meeting district councillors on Monday, Local Government minister Raphael Magyezi said Wakiso leaders’ quest for city status will be determined after wider consultations in 2025.
Ms Aisha Nakirigya, the vice chairperson of Mpigi District, says they are sceptical about embracing the developments of the masterplan because the authorities may at some point usurp their powers. 
“On the face of it, the plan is good plan and we have already received some projects here like extension of electricity to Buyiga Island, but we don’t know the intention behind. We pray that they push for development as they say because that is what everyone wants,” she says. 

The former Mpigi District chairperson, Mr Peter Claver Mutuluza, says the masterplan will only make sense if the government prioritises service delivery. 
“That plan has been there. Even during my time as district chairperson, we discussed it. Government just needs to allay fears of the current local leaders in those targeted areas that their powers will not be usurped,” he says.  

The master plan
The law. Section 16 of the Kampala Capital City (Amendment) Act, 2019 empowers the Minister for Kampala in consultation with the ministers responsible for urban development and that of Local Government to coordinate physical planning in the metropolitan area.
Plans. Ms Minsa Kabanda, the minister-in-charge of Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, says all their development plans will be implemented in phases with a well-organised and modern urban metropolitan transport system given  priority.
The minister says the planned sub-urban passenger rail will have the eastern and western routes. The eastern route will stretch from Mukono to Kampala while the western route will stretch from areas of Bujuko/Buloba on Kampala-Mityana road  to Kampala. The Metro (underground rapid transit) will have three routes. The first Metro will stretch from Namanve to Kajjansi, while the second one will stretch from Namanve to Nansana, and the third one stretching from Kajjansi to Nansana.
The Light Rail Transit will have three routes. The first one will run from Busega to Port Bell, the second one from Kira to Ggaba while the third route will stretch from Ggaba to Namboole.
The Bus Rail Transit will have four routes, with the first route stretching from Mukono to the Central Business District (CBD) and the second one from Entebbe to the CBD. The third route will stretch from Kawempe to the CBD while the fourth route will stretch from Kyanja to the CBD. 


Compiled by Al –Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Diphas Kiguli, Brian Adams & Joseph Kiggundu
 

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