12 July 2019

Uganda: Leaders Divided On Annexing Kalungu Town to Masaka

Authorities in Kalungu District have rejected a proposal by Kalungu Town Council leaders to annex the area to the proposed Masaka city.

Last Friday, Kalungu Town councillors unanimously passed a resolution to secede from Kalungu and join Masaka Municipality.

Out of the 12 town councillors, seven voted in support of the motion while five voted against.

However, the resolution has attracted mixed reactions from Kalungu District leaders.

The Kalungu District chairperson, Mr Richard Kyabaggu, on Wednesday said: "Kalungu Town Council is the backbone of the district and annexing it to Masaka will make Kalungu non-existent because another part of the district has already been added to the municipality."

Last year, councillors in Kalungu Rural Sub-county passed a similar resolution.

This followed the expansion of Masaka Municipality boundaries to include Kitengeesa and Ssamariya parishes in Buwunga Sub-county, Kirimya in Kabonera Sub-county, Kalagala in Mukungwe Sub-county and some parts of Kingo in Lwengo District.

Mr Kyabaggu said the district leadership has secured money to construct its headquarters at Kasabbaale Village in Kalungu Town Council and that adding the area to Masaka will jeopardise their plans.

Kalungu, which has a population of 183,232 people, became a district after it was carved out of Masaka in 2010.

"Considering other areas already annexed to Masaka, the municipality already has the population of 350,000 people required for a city status," he added.

In May, Cabinet approved the creation of nine cities, and seven of them will become operational effective July 1, 2020. Although Masaka and Mbale were not initially part of the five cities to become operational next year, President Museveni has since directed they be added onto the list given their historical and cultural significance.

Other new cities that will be operationalised next year include Arua, Gulu, Jinja, Fort Portal, and Mbarara.

Mr Hassan Galiwango, a councilor representing persons living with disabilities (PWDS) to Kalungu Town Council, said the resolution to annex the area to Masaka Municipality was rushed. "We all support the idea of elevating Masaka a city status, but selfish politicians shouldn't use it to weaken other existing administrative units," he said.

He said councillors who supported the resolution were driven by excitement and did not make any consultations on the issue.

"We demanded for a district claiming that it will bring services closer to the people and we now want to take back the authority to Masaka, are we fair?," he asked

However, the Kalungu Town Council chairperson, Mr John Kiragga, who tabled the motion, claims the move is aimed at improving service delivery to the town council.

"As a town council , we receive meagre resources which cannot enable us provide social services such as healthcare, good roads and education to our people," he said.

He cited the example of Kalungu Health Centre III , which he said operates in a dilapidated structure.

"If our area becomes part of the city, we will be able to push for more funds to upgrade the facility to hospital level because it serves a large population," he added.

Kalungu West Member of Parliament, Mr Joseph Ssewungu Gozanga, said he has no problem with Kalungu Town Council being annexed to Masaka if the local leaders deem it necessary.

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