The minister of Local Government, Hon Adolf Mwesige, on Wednesday tabled a proposal for 12 towns to be upgraded to Municipality status.
Cabinet has already earmarked six old Municipalities of Gulu, Mbarara, and Fort portal, Jinja, Arua and Mbale to be given a city status.
Uganda currently has 22 municipalities and the 12 new ones to be created with effect from July 1, include; Nansana Municipality in Wakiso District, Kira Municipality in Wakiso District, Makindye Sabagabo Municipality in Wakiso District, Kisoro Municipality in Kisoro District, Mityana Municipality in Mityana District, Njeru Municipality in Buikwe District, Kitgum Municipality in Kitgum District, Ibanda Municipality in Ibanda District.
Others are; Koboko Municipality in Koboko District, Mubende Municipality in Mubende District, Kumi Municipality in Kumi District and Lugazi Municipality in Buikwe District.
Mwesige says creation of the new Municipalities was necessary for the effective administration and organised service delivery to the people.
Mukono municipality MP and Shadow Minister of Local Government, Hon Bakireke Nambooze, agrees development of urban centers even if it is to be through creation of new municipalities has been featuring in their alternative ministerial policies for the last 3 years.
“We have also proposed for the creation of regional cities which would ease the pressure on Kampala city and also cater for the challenge of unplanned urbanization.”
She supported the motion in principal but desisted the manner in which these particular municipalities are being created.
She says the municipalities are more of “electoral areas to bring in this “kafunda” more MPs, give our people more mayors, division chairpersons and councillors”.
Municipalities, says Nambooze, in this contest will be an additional burden on the tax payer and this would be immoral.
“We have never thought about a junction with ten shops to be declared municipalities, like it is going to happen in the case of Koboko.”
She says allowing municipalities to take over their rural neighborhoods would facilitate proper planning as town planners would first plan and develop the rural parts to allow migration of people from the old part of the town to the newly developed area and then redesign the old part to fit into a new arrangement.
“What we are doing now of just declaring slums into municipalities creates a very big problem for city managers as they try to redevelop the already occupied slums without giving the people an alternative.”
“The opposition is of the view that we should be declaring municipalities for the poor people not for rich men to go and take over land originally belonging to schools, markets, road reserves and poor man’s bibanja.”
She said today, Municipalities are created with names of people tagged on them as their MPs in what is referred to as gerrymandering.
“This is wrong and it borders on vote rigging. We therefore need a clear policy of How, When and Where a municipality can be created.”
Evidence is available to indicate that the Local Government Minister wrote to selected town councils and directed them to move motions in favour of their elevation to municipalities with instructions that extended to details such as the number of divisions that should be in those municipalities.
“We demand for fairness. If we are to create towns to cate for our people who are migrating to urban areas, let it be done fairly in the whole country.”
She also demanded for the implementation of the constitution of Article 176(4)(a) which requires creation of Mengo municipality for Buganda away from Kampala.