New Vision (Kampala)

2 December 2009

Uganda: Why More Districts for Buganda?

Kampala — Government has created five new districts in Buganda region which will become operational in the next Financial Year (FY). They include Gomba, Kyankwanzi, Buikwe, Kalungu and Buvuma. This brings the total number of districts in the central region to 20.

Elsewhere in Uganda, another 17 districts have been created, bringing the total number of districts to 103. Of these, 20 are in Buganda region, 10 in Busoga, seven in Karamoja, nine in West-Nile, another nine in Teso, four in Bukedi.

Five new districts were created in Ankole, five in Bunyoro, four in Rukiga, six in Lango, six in Bugisu and Sebei, five in Acholi, four in Toro and three in Bukonjo/Bwamba.

Though some believe more districts would spur development, donors and sections of the opposition argue that their creation increases public expenditure. Does Buganda region need more districts?

Gomba

What is to become Gomba district is located 50 miles from Mpigi town. It borders Mubende and Ssembabule districts. As a cattle-keeping area, residents are multi-ethnic with Baganda and herdsmen from Ankole.

According to Gomba County MP Rose Najjemba, the district status was long overdue. "We are far away from the district headquarters," Najjemba said.

The district is by far the least developed with almost no infrastructure. "They have been promising to tarmac the road from Mpigi to Gomba for years, but that has not been done," says Edward Mugambe, who hopes that the infrastracture will develop once the district is created.

However, with a limited population of less than 100,000, Gomba's revenue sources are slim.

Kyankwanzi - Kiboga

Kyankwanzi is located south-west of Kiboga district within the cattle corridor, bordering Nakaseke, Masindi and Hoima. This new district does not even have a town to talk about, save for the vast National Leadership Institute, Kyankwanzi (NALI).

The roads are in a poor state while education and health facilities are also wanting.

Buvuma - Mukono

Buvuma is one of the islands in Lake Victoria that borders Mayuge in the east and Tanzania in the south. It is composed of Busemizi, Nairambi, Bugaya and Bwera sub-counties.

This under-developed district has a population of less than 30,000 people and most of them are fishermen.

Buvuma MP William Nsubuga thinks the people have been forgotten.

"Everything is poor in Buvuma. We have poor roads, poor health and education systems. This is why we need to split from Mukono," says Nsubuga. The isolated island has one Health Centre II with no doctor. As for transport, "We shall get our own ferry like Kalangala when we become a district," says Saul Lwanga.

Kalungu-Masaka

Kalungu wants a split from Masaka because Masaka is huge, hence unmanageable.

"I sometimes fail to carry out consultations because of the size of the district. This is why I support a split," says Masaka district Woman MP, Sauda Namugerwa.

Kalungu is made up of Lukaya, Lwabenge, Butenga, Kyamulibwa, Kitanda, Bigasa, Bukulula and others.

All these areas are fairly developed, so they cannot use 'underdevelopment' as a reason for the split. Area MP Anthony Yiga, is encouraging Bukomansimbi to join Kalungu.

"If Bukomansimbi comes on board, we shall have a population of about 450,000 people," Yiga says Bukomansimbi, however, also wants to become a separate district. With three big towns, including Lukaya, Kalungu district will have a solid tax base.

Buikwe -Mukono

Mukono district, where Buikwe is found, has maintained a population of over 900,000 people. Buikwe is made up of Lugazi and Katosi on Lake Victoria.

Perhaps the call for a split was more amplified by residents on the various landing sites, compared to Lugazi, citing the need to be near the headquarters.

Since Lugazi is the most developed part of the new district, one would expect the headquarters to be located there while the headquarters will certainly be in Ngogwe, 20 miles from Mukono town. This will enable the services to be brought nearer to the people.

Unlike Gomba and Kyankwanzi, Buikwe can only be compared to Kalungu in terms of taxable resources.

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