19 October 2017

Uganda: Kamuwunga - Where Residents Cross a Highway for a Pit-Latrine

Eric Muzeyi, a nine- year-old boy, has to be escorted by an adult to cross the accident-prone Kampala-Masaka Highway to answer the call of nature. Sometimes, he has to wait for hours if there is nobody to help him cross the road. Muzeyi lives in a family of eight at Kamuwunga Village in Lwera, Lukaya Town Council on Kampala-Masaka Highway.

Kamuwunga Village, with a population of about 700 residents shares one dilapidated pit-latrine located at the right side of the road. The residents on the left side must cross the busy highway to access the facility.

Expense

Ronald Kayondo, the village chairperson, says people often have to line up to use the pit-latrine.

Sometimes, those who find it hard to wait are tempted to ease themselves in the bush.

Kayondo adds that it is too expensive for individual households to construct their own pit- latrines in an area whose water table is so close. "It requires specialised expertise which can cost up to Shs7m," he says.

The chairperson adds that although two businessmen who settled in the area to carry out sand mining put up private pit-latrines, they do not allow other people to use them. "So far, eight people, five of them juveniles, have been knocked down by speeding vehicles in the last three years as they crossed the road," says Aisha Nalukwago, the village secretary.

"The lack of sufficient toilet facilities in the village was bound to cause diseases related to poor hygiene such as diarrhea. We fear that if the situation worsens, we may end up with an epidemic," she adds.

However, the Kalungu Water Officer, Dan Rwabuhinga, says the area was given another toilet, but it was mismanaged by residents.

"Two years ago, we constructed a Shs16m water-borne toilet in that place on our Rural Water Grant. We trained them on how to manage and use it but in a period of two months, the facility was out of service," Rwabuhinga says.

He adds authorities had suggested that each household pays a management fee of Shs200 per week to enable authorities buy toilet paper, but the residents declined and ended up using hard paper which blocked the water-borne toilet.

Wilson Bukenya, a resident, blames the Town Council authorities for having deliberately constructed a toilet which they (the residents) could neither use nor maintain.

"Before they started constructing a water-borne-toilet here, we had advised them that locals do not know how to use it but they insisted," Bukenya says, adding: "What surprised us was that even the water borne toilet was constructed on the other side of the road, still putting residents' lives at risk.

SETTLEMENT

It is often intimated that those who settles in Lwera, a wetland, are there illegally. However, residents claim they own plots of land in the area and even possess land titles which could be an indication that they are lawful residents. Lukaya Town Clerk, Aisha Kitenda, says the council is currently working on a development plan which will guide the public on the physical growth of the area. "Currently, we are in the final stages of a physical development plan. It will guide us on whether the area is suitable for settlement or not," she says. Musa Mabeeri, the Town Council health officer, says there is a plan to construct a modern toilet facility in the area under the LakeVictoria Management Project.

Uganda

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