The new Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA) physical development plan does not only concentrate on revamping the city infrastructure, but also provides for organised slum dwelling, Ron Rekah, an Israeli expert, has said.
Rekah is a consultant with ROM Transportation Engineering Ltd, the firm that conducted the pre-feasibility study for the 10-year development plan. According to the new GKMA plan unveiled last week, five urban areas (satellite cities) and three ring roads will be constructed to ease congestion in the city centre.
New urban areas, which planners say will address the problem of the city's exploding population, include Ssisa-Nsangi, Ntenjeru-Nakisunga, Goma-Kira and Nansana in Mukono and Wakiso districts. Kampala's current population, estimated at 3.15 million, is expected to double in the next 10 years and to triple by 2040.
However, Rekah argues that the future plan of the city is not only about traffic jams, pollution and the new satellite cities.
"We have provided for development of organised slum dwellers," he said in an interview with The Observer on Monday. Kisenyi, Bwaise, Katwe, Makerere Kivulu, Katanga and Kibuli suburbs harbour some of Kampala's best known slums.
Finer details of the redevelopment of the aforesaid slums are expected at a later stage once the designs, based on an approved plan, have been completed. Rekah and his team, however, presented artistic impressions of the proposed organised slum dwellings during a recent stakeholders' meeting. The new GKMA plan will be tabled before KCCA councilors and Parliament for approval in November.
However, technical officers are wary of the politics at City Hall and lack of finances, key factors that could thwart the implementation of the new plan. For instance, battles between KCCA executive director, Jennifer Musisi, and the Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago, have stifled some initiatives aimed at re-organising the city in the past one year. With several structures in the central business district likely to be demolished, the new GKMA plan could be met with some resistance.
According to the new plan, restructuring of the transport system will involve construction of by-passes and new lanes for the Rapid Bus Transport (RBT) system. Furthermore, many residential houses in the suburbs might have to give way for the new ring roads similar to the Kampala Northern-bypass.
Planners are also mindful of environmental conservation with emphasis on protecting the city wetlands and developing more public parks, which officials say will generate income for KCCA as well. City hall officials are optimistic that, in spite of the likely challenges, implementation will be easier once the new plan gets political will.