Kira Municipality development status: challenges and achievements
The fast urbanization of Kira started around 1980’s (although there is no specific date for the start of the process) as a response from the fast urbanization of Kampala city. It was also attributed to the development control procedures in Kampala city, which were conceived as prohibitive to many potential developers. Developers rushed to Kira, which was considered being at the periphery of the conceived 16-km radius of Kampala’s growth. In this area, development control seemed not as strict as in Kampala and thus non- prohibitive for development of housing, consequently, many developers rushed to this area.
It is a point to note that development in Kira is differentiated by location; the middle southern parts such as Kira, Kyaliwajjala, Kireka and Bweyogerere showing signs of fast growth earlier than Kirinya and Kimwanyi due to their nearness to Jinja high way leading to the east of the country, this attracted settlements and business establishments. Also the presence of Namugongo Martyrs Shrine and Museum has attracted lucrative businesses in the area of Kyaliwajjala and Namugongo and, of a recently there has been indication of a fast growth in other parts of the Municipality which is driven partly by the expansion of institutions especially educational institutions that have mushroomed in the area, driven by the land market operations, which have been characterized by speculation due to some development projects such as Namboole Stadium, tarmacking Gayaza-Kalagi, Seeta, Namugongo Naalya roads and the Northern by-pass.
What used to be an execution site later on turned into religious Tourism Centre hosting over four million pilgrims from over the world every 3rd of June and so far it has been visited by three popes.
Besides the Martyrs Shrine and Museum, Kira is much in the spotlight because of being the home area for the Kabaka of Buganda, and Mandela National Stadium, and there brings in many people around the Municipality making it an area to be given special attention.
In terms of infrastructure and utilities, out of 292 km only 50km are tarmacked and in the period of three years of the Municipality only 19.5kms have been upgraded to tarmac. The unpaved roads are impassable/ immotorable during the rainy season given the fact that the Municipality is surrounded by swamps in all corners, and the worst was experienced in November 2018 when some major roads connecting Kira Municipality to Kasangati town council and other local governments were cut off and people could not cross. Such situations are common every time it rains heavily and the Municipal budget cannot meet the necessary costs of upraising those swamps to the necessary standard. Even those which are tarmacked their condition is generally poor as compared to the standards of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) roads and those by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and this is due to lack of drainage system, no walk ways, no lights, and poorly surfaced due to the single seal that the Municipality can afford with the little available resource and 80% lack adequate road width.
The Municipality faces limited finances to fund the road sector for instance annually receive 1.6 billion and in this year’s budget 2019/2020 there is only sh. 4.3bn for this purpose which is inadequate as compared to the standard cost required of road construction in the area. Kira being a tourism destination there is great demand for road services but this requires integrated planning. There is absence of public parking road safety and traffic management systems.
Worth noting is that given the financial status of the Municipality the works department is only in position of constructing a single seal surface which cannot sustain the traffic flow in the area for long. It becomes worse when the single surfaced layer is used by heavy trucks which take materials in the industries around and on the building sites which are mushrooming day and night in the area since Kira is the dormitory to Kampala https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1511143/kira-dormitory-kampala
In terms of local revenue compared to other Local Governments in Uganda, Kira Municipality is well off in terms of locally raised revenue and it is a point to note that due to improved revenue collection mechanisms locally raised revenue is contributing over 40% on the total budget of the Municipality. For the matters of Accountability revenue collected has been used to supplement on the budget of roads, developing a Municipal development plan, construction of the Municipal Headquarters, purchase of the first Municipal Renault garbage truck, Six Isuzu double cabin pickups 12 acres of land for garbage, extension of Kira Health Centre III, street lighting of selected trading centers among others.
In terms of Housing, quality and stock available for the population given the fact that the quality of housing in the Municipality is generally good in terms of space available for residence especially in upscale areas. The only exception is in the informal settlements (slums) found in Kireka, Kasokoso, Kireku and Kamuli among others where temporary construction materials are used and the housing units are singled roomed and in the future this type of horizontal expansion poses a threat to space availability for infrastructure service delivery for roads, water, sewage and drainage.
Market provision is a responsibility of the respective local government and it is a viable source of revenue for the local government. In Kira Municipality, like in any other local government they are a source of livelihood to a number of youth, women and to some elderly persons. There are seven markets in the Municipality; some in residential neighborhoods, while majority are close to the main roads and connectivity ones. Their distribution is not matching the need and to make the matter worse some are located on private land which keeps traders in fear since at any time the landlord can decide to change the business.
The informality in these markets is also a challenge for instance they are made of wooden stalls putting the lives of the occupants in danger in case of a fire outbreak.(Kira MC PDP Draft Report March 2019 2.pdf)
Looking at the level of urbanization in the area standard and well organized markets are needed and this will obviously contribute restoration of trade order, food security in the Municipality and improved incomes of the people as the Municipality generate revenue and also reduce on the challenges of traffic which is existing in Kireka and Kyaliwajja trading centres.
The Municipality developed and approved a physical development plan in which areas for markets are shown but the challenge reaming is the land for such project.
The social and economic impacts of improved health services on the individual, family, and the country as a whole have significant multiplier impact on community development and quality of life of its people. Vision 20140 aims at production of a healthy and productive population to contribute to the socio- economic growth of the country through provision of quality, accessible and affordable health care to all.
Agenda 2013, framed health and wellbeing as outcomes and foundations of social inclusion, poverty reduction and environmental protection. From a health perspective, development can only be regarded sustainable when resources are managed by and for all individuals in a way that supports the health and wellbeing of present and future generations.
The National Development Plan 11 targets to increase the percentage of population that lies within 5 km distance to health facilities from 72% (2013) to 85%. by 2020. Kira Municipality has a total of seventeen (17) health facilities. All three hospitals were private, the Municipality has no Health centre IV, but rather only two Health Centre III as the highest public facility available and three Health Centre II making a total of five public facilities giving treatment to a population of over four hundred thound people! Suffice to say, the health facilities in the Municipality are inequitably distributed, with Bweyogere Division taking the bulk of seven facilities, Namugongo Division 6 and Kira Division 4. Furthermore, Bweyogerere Division has two (2) public health facilities, Kira has two and Kireka which has the highest population and density has only one public health centre II. According to the National Population and Housing Census 2014 Report, 20.7% of the population in Kira Municipality resided 5kms and above to nearest public health facilities. The corresponding proportion for Namugongo Division was 27.4%, Kira Division and Bweyogerere Division were 18.6% and 12.3% respectively.
Although the municipality has registered improved performance based on a number of health indicators, there is still a serious gap in geographical access and delivery of quality health services caused by mismatch between health infrastructure development and capacity to deliver the needed services arising from inadequate staffing, drugs, medical supplies equipment, staff housing, lack of emergency services and weak laws and regulation.
Looking at the number of people who visit any of the public health centres compared to how many each facility is supposed to handle Kira Municipality is performing well, but looking at equitable service delivery there is a serious gap.
Based on the targeted population of 2,000,000 per Regional Referral hospital, 500,00 for a district hospital, 100,000 for Health Center IV and 20,000 for health center III, Kira Municipality has a current deficit of three health centre IV, 7 health centre III and 58 health centre II.
There is glaring need for more health facilities for improved service delivery plus need to improve upon the distribution of the services thus improve upon access and quality of service. Staff motivation is key to attracting qualified staff to these facilities and availability of accommodation in the vicinity of the institutions would could be one of the avenues to counter understaffing.
There is noticeable change in the education service provision over the past years since the inception of UPE in the country in 1997 and USE in 2007, enrolment in the Municipality, like elsewhere in the country, has increased at all levels and institutions and collages have sprung up. Education in Kira is dominated by the private sector and in total there is over 553 education institutions comprising tertiary and vocational institutions, primary, secondary schools and a number of preschool institutions (ECD), inequitably distributed.
The Municipality is well endowed with primary schools and these are located within a distance of 1 km to 80.6% of households. However, 90.4% of these are privately owned and they are considered expensive. All wards have at least one public primary school, which meets the central government requirement of having primary schools per parish but in comparison to the population of the area there is a mismatch. For instance distribution of primary schools in the Municipality if compared to population is lacking since some densely populated areas like Kamuli C with a population density of over 25,600 people per sq. Km having only 2 primary schools whereas a cell like Bukasa with a population density of over 840 persons per sq. Km has over three schools.
By the time Kira was elevated to a Municipality many public primary schools were in deplorable infrastructural state and services offered were, in some instances, lacking but the Municipal Council using Sector Development grants and lobbying has so far managed to construct 12 two classroom blocks around the Municipality, supplied furniture to both primary and secondary, renovated some classrooms and looked into the sanitation matters in the schools where there has been a need.
There is 46 secondary schools in the Municipality accessible to 70.9%but utilization is very low at 19.3% and most (89.1%) of these them are private. Much as vocational and tertiary institutions are vital for accelerated skilling relevant to the job market, there are only six institutions to cater for the Municipality’s rapidly swelling population and only one of these -Shimon Demonstration, is public.
The general trend is that majority of the educational institutions in the Municipality are privately owned and regarded as expensive, which could be plausible explanation of the low utilization of the services by the Municipal residents and the belief that these services are mostly beneficial to those residing outside the Municipality, thus the need to adjust this state of affairs in fulfillment of government’s responsibility of provision of relevant, equitable and quality education to its citizens, which Kira Municipality cannot handle alone in the current financial state. But generally in terms of performance Kira Municipality has been always on the top list having public schools such as Namugongo girls’ primary and Uganda Martyrs Namugongo appearing annually.