Kakoba Division is one of the three Divisions that make up Mbarara Municipality whose mandate is derived from the Local Government Act (1997). Though it was a resident population estimated at 70,000 people, the occupants of the division during day double to 140,000.
According to Tumutegyereize K.B the Division Health Inspector, Kakoba alone generates about 210tonnes of garbage per day and 6,300tonnes monthly; the highest collection of any other division in the Municipality.
The shocking revelation was however made by the area LC.3 Chairman Mr Rashid Mukasa who said that garbage collection and disposal costs the division over Shs16m monthly and about Shs200m annually an equivalent of the amount needed to build one and a half kilometers of a tarmac road.
With several infrastructural projects like roads, bridges shelved due to lack of funding, Rashid suggested that the Municipal Council restrains from garbage collection to let private players who already are in operation to take full charge.
“Some holds are so clean to at least accumulate a full sack in a month yet at my hotel; a full sack is accumulated daily. So you find that those who don’t accumulate a lot of garbage pay the same as us who accumulate plenty and they are getting cheated,” he said.
The private players in garbage collection including Eco-Fresh, Kima Investments and Waste watch that operate under a public private partnership charge each client depending on the amount of garbage generated and they collect it from people’s premises, offices at the client’s convenience.
However, even after these humongous sums of money are invested in garbage collection, Mbarara as a whole still hasn’t come close to being clean.
Franco Mukungu, a teacher was recently travelling from Rukungiri to Kampala but when the bus he was aboard stopped for a while in Mbarara at 10am in the morning, he was bewildered by the garbage that was littered everywhere in the yet to be City.
“Up to now, I don’t know at what time garbage is collected in Mbarara but that day clearly gave me a negative picture and impression. If the people are the reckless, they should adopt the Kigali style; arrest whoever litters the streets so that self-responsibility is enforced,” he said.
Upon his return that same the evening, the situation had worsened leaving Mbarara with an impression that there’s no garbage collection in Mbarara Town.
Besides the Council, other companies, individuals have joined hands to solve the garbage problem in Mbarara. Nakumatt Supermarket for example is said to have instilled at least 200 dustbins in different points around the Central Business District (CBD) while other corporate business like Barclays Bank, Coca-Cola and Standard Chartered have each launched different though compatible drives to keeping Mbarara Clean.
In the recently concluded Urban Centre Cleanliness rankings, Mbarara came forth; a position the Mayor Mr. Wilson Tumwine isn’t impressed by.
Tumwine puts the blame on the traders, reckless dwellers who buy or transport unclean produce from their village gardens straight to the town without considering the hygiene issue.
“Some people go to their gardens, uproot beans and throw them unto their vehicles just the way they uprooted them and you wonder, will they eat the roots, leaves and stems too or the interest is in the seeds? And if it’s just the Matooke, why bring the leaves and fibres in town too? Do people buy the fibres too?” he wondered.