Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | There is general excitement in Masaka following a government decision to fast track the elevation of the municipality to city status.
The decision was announced by Local Government Minister Tom Butime, during a meeting with political and opinion leaders from the greater Masaka region, on Wednesday, reversing an earlier decision which had excluded Masaka from the areas to be elevated in the financial year 2020/21.
Masaka’s quest for a city status had initially been pushed to 2023. Butime said that the decision was based on Masaka’s failure to meet the prerequisites towards its elevation. However, he added that the government had taken a decision to fast-track the process and respond to the unwavering requests from the area.
Butime tasked the local political leadership to hasten the processes and secure all the necessary approvals from lower local councils, accepting to be annexed to Masaka municipality. He committed to send a team of the ministry’s technical persons to supplement efforts of the area leadership.
Butime’s declaration has been greeted with a lot of excitement from both the leaders and the electorate, the majority of who have been anxiously pursuing the government to elevate the municipality to a city.
Denis Lukanga Majwala, the Chairperson of Katwe-Butego, the Central Division of Masaka municipality says they have been yearning impatiently for the declaration to enable them fully benefit from the opportunities that came with being a city. He is optimistic that the new status will increase financial allocations to Masaka and spur infrastructural development.
Gerald Kawuma, the chairperson for Mukungwe Sub County one of the areas to be annexed to the proposed Masaka City says they were stuck with the underfunded local council, adding that this is an opportunity for the area to develop together with the city in terms of infrastructure and physical planning.
Dick Muwanga, the Chairperson of Kkingo Sub County in Lwengo district says the declaration has reawakened their hope of joining an urban authority that is presented with more development opportunities.
But Lwengo district chairperson George Mutabaazi expressed fear that some selfish politicians plot to frustrate the process of expanding Masaka boundaries into their constituencies, calling upon the electorate to devotedly thwart all efforts that may work against the aspiration.
Meanwhile, Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Minister Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja says that they are tirelessly working to meet the requirements in the shortest time possible. Ssempijja, who was chosen to coordinate all efforts towards meeting the requirements, says the declaration is a sigh of relief for the leaders who hail from the region.