Kampala as we know it.

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As a Ugandan, there are many things to be proud of or if I might say, things to brag about. Among these are; the Beauty of the Country from which we earned the pride to be The Pearl of Africa as earlier referred to by the then most feared and arrogant British Premier Sir Winston Churchill in 1907 mainly because of the beauty of the stunning green valleys, vast lakes, tall hills, the altitude that made sure we keep a cooler temperature than any other country on the zero degrees imaginary line named Equator , the weather, the homogeneous nature of people, the colour of our skins, the topography and among other things our city Kampala.
Uganda; my motherland is celebrating 50 years of Independent and self rule. This is an identical element that has promoted inter- territorial/racial trade amongst the people of the world making Uganda and most significantly Kampala city the most administrative, urbanized and developed city of the country. Given my position, let me give first a preamble about the Capital before I get into the technicalities.
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PREAMBLE: It’s not only a city but also a District which covers a surface area of 73 square kilometers that’s approximately about 189 sq kms where 13 of these are covered by water. It harbours a population of about 1, 659,600 people according to a 2011 estimate; Government couldn’t find enough funds to conduct a population census this year. Among these include the Businessmen, Politicians, Boba-Boda cyclists, quasi entrepreneurs, real estate managers, intellects, cooperates, unemployed graduates walking down the streets, tourists artists, hawkers and musicians who are loved American rap rhymes even know they don’t understand one line, street kids and other people that you know better if you have been to Kampala. You simply can’t tell who does what because no one has time for the other if no business or transaction is being carried on.
Being the Country’s Central Business District, plenty of business is carried on from early morning to wee hours of the next morning with enterprises ranging less than Ushs. 100,000 for example young men vending chewing gum to multimillion dollar entities like MTN, Kampala Serena and other good housing estates like Mapeera House. From multi-million markets like St. Balikuddembe market locally known as Owino Market to recreation and hanging out venues like Club Silk, Ange noir, Theater Labonita and Garden City Shopping center. Kampala currently going through a massive transformation and the person responsible for bring it about is a one of a kind woman The Executive Director of the current Kampala City’s governing body Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Madam Jenifer Musisi who is under media criticism due to her so called draconian policies to deprive common citizens of their livelihood through over taxation and day to day evictions from within the city premises. Popular Artists like the self proclaimed Ghetto President Bobi Wine, DJ Michael and others have all recorded songs criticizing E.D Musisi’s actions seemingly concurring with The Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago’s popularity agenda who till today has never agreed with Musisi’s Agenda since his election early last year.

ADMINISTRATION: The City of Kampala is divided into five major principalities each headed by a popularly elected mayor which comprise of Nakawa Division headed by Mayor Benjamin Ssebuliba Kalumba, Makidye Division headed by Dr. Ian Clarke, Kampala Central Division under Hon. Godfrey Nyakana, Lubaga and Kawempe Divisions under the Mayor ship of Hon. Joyce Ssebugwawo and Hon. Mubarak Mugwanya respectively in them include the incorporation of the city’s neighboring suburbs which consist of Katwe, Bwaise, Kibuli, Ntinda, Kiwaatule, Kyambogo, Luzira among many others. The expansion of the city was done in 2001 which saw the substantial expansion of the city’s limits.
In 2010, the KCCA Act changed the Management structure of Kampala City which saw the creation of the Office of the Executive Director who is charged with the executive functions of managing Kampala City. KCCA has an obligation to provide services in the city that enable residents and businesses in the city have a conducive and comfortable environment that promotes development. The Authority is composed of the following members;
a) The Lord Mayor
b) The Deputy Lord Mayor
c) One councilor elected by secret ballot to represent each electoral area in the Capital city on the basis of Universal adult suffrage
d) 2 councilors representing the you one of whom shall be female
e) 2 councilors with disabilities representing people with disabilities one of whom shall also be female
f) Women councilors forming one third of the Authority such that the councilors elected under paragraphs (c) and (d) and (e)shall form two thirds of the Authority
g) One councilor representing each of these professional companies;
 Uganda Institute of Professional Engineers
 Uganda Society of Architects
 Uganda Medical Association
 Uganda Law Society
It should however be noted that that the politics of Kampala don’t begin or end with KCCA. Other Authorities have been in place that included Kampala City Council that managed Kampala City both in the tenure of Democratic Party politicians El Hajji Nasser Ntege Ssebaggala and his counterpart Hon. Ssebaana Kizito. You must be wondering if that marks the start of politics of Kampala City but well that’s where my knowledge stops. If you want to know about the history of Kampala, here it comes.

The Historical Kampala:
Given the then topography of Kampala that was a composition of wetlands and valleys, it was a good natural habitat of different animal species particularly the antelope or Impala which explained the reason as to why Mutesa I the then Kabaka of Buganda had chosen the area as his favourite hunting ground. With the coming of the British, they named one of the hills “the hill of the impala” which was directly translated to Luganda by the Baganda natives as “akasozi k’empala” so with time K’empala became Kampala. The city developed to became the capital of Buganda Kingdom with buildings such as The Kasubi Tombs built in 1881, the Lubiri palace, the Buganda Kingdom among other buildings. Severe damage faced the city during and after the Uganda – Tanzania war but new developments including modern housing facilities such as hotels, banking halls.
Traditionally Kampala was a city of seven hills but over time, it has come to have a lot more. The Traditional seven hills of Kampala included;
– Kasubi hills of the Kasubi tombs where the Previous Kabakas were buried.
– Mengo hill where the present Lubiri (kabaka’s palace) is, the headquarters of the Buganda Court of Justice and the Lukiiko of Buganda’s Parliament.
– Kibuli hill; the home of Islam. It should be remembered that Islam was brought to Uganda before Christianity
– Namirembe hill; the home of the Anglican Cathedral and the Lubaga hill where the Catholic cathedral is located.
– The Nsambya Hill where Nsambya Hospital is located.
– The Last hill is The Old Kampala formerly referred to as the hill of the impala where Kampala got its name and currently the home of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.
Other hills to which the city spread included the Nakasero Hill, the Mulago Hill, Tank Hill, Kololo hill. The topography and the altitude of the city altogether constitute to make Kampala a muddy, congested, bushy and flowerless city that posses the challenges that KCCA is fighting to overcome even as we speak.

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70 thoughts on “Kampala as we know it.

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