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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
The businesses changing Kikuubo
Wednesday, 25th May, 2011
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Kikuubo business is booming

PREVIOUSLY a warehouse and timber mart, Kikuubo Lane, connecting Kyagwe and Rubaga roads has always been a hive of activity from sun rise to sunset.

Before, it was a place for informal business. Until recent years, there were no formal banking halls in this downtown part of Kampala.

Today more than 15 monetary institutions are transacting very brisk business in Kikuubo. Standard Chartered Bank has opened a branch there. On its heels is Housing Finance Bank. Eco Bank is also trapped in the stiff race there. The mobile phone is a major medium of money transfer and Western Union services can be found there.

It is only the Kikubo dwellers who dare walk there with wads of money in their palms to bank before the end of the day.
Foreign exchange bureaus have always had room in Kikuubo but despite their long existence, several business men still prefer to deal with Kibanda Boys (unregistered money changers) whose operations date to as far back as the 1980s.

From being a major supplier of essential commodities smuggled from neighbouring Kenya previously, the stock in Kikuubo has diversified to include those made in Uganda competing with those imported from USA, EU, India and China. They comprise liquor, footwear, fabrics, building materials and hardware.

Likewise the profile of traders there now includes Chinese, Asians, Sudanese, Congolese and Kenyans. Traders come in from Rwanda, Kenya, South Sudan and DR Congo and Kiswahili is becoming the business language there.

With the emergence of multinational stores like Shoprite, Game and Nakumatt, Kikuubo continues to remain a relevant shopping center in the city for the upcoming middleclass.

The traders in Kikuubo market their business in a unique manner.

Kikubo secretary for defense Daudi Kasirye says, “Parking is done on either side of the lane in alternating days of the week. If on Monday cars offload and load on the right hand side, the next day it’s done on the left hand side.”

This enables either side of the lane to have space, for a day, to enable pedestrians and commission agents to see what is in store.

Lifestyle in Kikuubo
Breakfast in Kikubo is a call away at sh1,500 - sh2,000. The popular one is Katogo (a mixture of banana fingers with beans, meat or groundnuts). It is served with a spiced cup of tea.

The lunch hour, 1:00pm sends commission agents scurrying about laden with orders of food, money and drinks. After dining, there are Kikubo folks who are in the habit of going for a nap in the numerous lodges in place.

“But when you are told some one has gone for burial, it means, going for a short sleep,” says Ema Muwanga. “The lodges charge sh10, 000-sh25, 000 between 1:00pm-2:00pm. I do not know if they go for this burial coupled or singly.”

But they return smiling like well fed cats and put in place a superb customer care service. Kikubo has evolved from being a timber mart, to warehouse for big shops down town into a fully fledged business center now. When death or there is traditional wedding, resources are pooled to help the bereft, bride/groom foot the bills.

Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) chairman Everest Kayondo says, “Traders here never wait for government to do everything for them. They administer themselves to conduct business amicably. These days one can sit on one building all day because toilet, food and bed and breakfast services are available on one mall.”

Generally, the volume of business in Kikubo remains a top secret. But there are traders who still use it as a storage for shops located in the heart of the city. There are residential nooks for traders in transit to neighbouring countries.

Between 5:00pm and 6:00pm and most women begin powdering their noses, switching foot wear and packing their pouches.

And wear a necklace. Over the weekend those over 40 years of age are destined for a live Afrigo Band at Obligatto, Guvnor Discotheque or Amazina ge’mbata. The youthful ones go for Stand Up Comedy and Centenary Park.

However, the Kikubo business hub, could still do with more hygienic eating places serving both fast food and traditional cuisines.

A theater to entertain traders after a long day or rough and tough week could be a crowd puller if the drama addresses themes or cracks jokes that affect the Kikubo community.

The Kikubo community are part of the exodus that storm beaches, theatres and popular entertainment places.

5,740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·

Pilgrims, tourists, Namugongo, ...
Friday, 27th May, 2011
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The shrine has a man-made lake and small island which gives a good scenery

AN exodus of pilgrims, tourists and students from all corners of the world is destined for Namugongo, come Martyrs Day on June 3. Booking accommodation in hotels, lodges and inns in Kireka, Seeta and Mukono is overwhelming management. To contain the rising numbers, Namugongo residents are renting out their homes ranging from sh10,000 to sh200,000.

Imelda Kamashoro of the Namugongo Pilgrims Office says, “My phone has been ringing non-stop as residents call to offer their homes for accommodation. One has offered mattresses and beddings on the floor at sh10,000 per person.”

“Another family is vacating their three-bedroom house for a week and they will be renting it out at sh230,000. The unit is equipped with tap water, electricity and all kitchen equipment but clients have to cater for themselves.”

The craft industry and traders in Namugongo neighbourhood are working round the clock to provide palm frond mats, banana fibre-hand bags, bark cloth caps and waist coats for the visitors to take back home as mementos of their pilgrimage.

“There are a variety of items on the shelves comprising wall clocks, photographs of the newly-beautified Pope John, key holders and certificates,” says Kamashoro.

Father Joseph Muwonge, the promoter of the shrine, revealed that they receive over 5,000 guests annually.

“The guests comprise pilgrims and conventional tourist. Many guests are left agape by the architecture of the Shrine,” says Muwonge.

“It was Bishop Nsubuga’s idea to roof it like a hut, to give the shrine a typical Ugandan kasisira (cone roof). The island on the man-made lake and story of the brave youthful Christians thrills many guests.”

Adding that a number of guests from Kenya come by bus every year.

“This is in addition to numerous guests from Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Europe,” says Muwonge. “The guests from within the country are usually school children.”

To cash in on the swelling numbers of tourists and pilgrims, traders have set up shops selling basic necessities. Pubs are re-stocking beers, spirits and soft drinks.

Speculative butchers are also reserving the best pigs and bulls for the annual feast. Chicken roasters are keeping the best birds for the occasion.

For property dealers and developers, Namugongo is partitioned into wide expanses of land for the Catholic and the Protestant church.

In those ancient worship places lies horrifying, oral literature. There is the legendary tree where the hangman then, Mukajanga, used to execute his duties. Relatives of the good and the bad in these narratives are still tracable.

All in all, Namugongo is a 30 minutes’ drive east of Kampala City. The pace of life there is slow and religious.

The profile of residents there comprises; doctors, accountants, journalists, the clergy, traders, lawyers and teachers.

Catholics dominate the area with a huge shrine, surrounded with a man-made lake and a neatly-manicured compound.

Namugongo can be accessed from Seeta, off Jinja/Kampala highway via Sonde. Another alternative route is through Ntinda via Kireka.

With their radars on full alert for the swelling need for homes, property dealers have bought huge pieces of land and partitioned them into 50ftx100ft plots.

The price ranges between sh7m to sh10m. The place is equipped with running water tunnels, roads, electricity and piped water.

5,740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 ·

Kakira: The town of many trades
Friday, 3rd June, 2011
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Kakira Sugar Works

IF you visit Kakira today, you will be treated to something which resembles a town. Before Madhvani Group of Companies started developing the area, many people had deserted it due to tsetse fly infestation.

Charles Otim, a resident, says almost all those who live in the area depend on Kakira Sugar Works for their livelihood. He adds that Kakira used to be a small rural trading centre on the way to Namulesa in Kamuli district.

Today, Polota, near Busoga College Mwiri, is the main business centre of Kakira. The main activity in Polota is trading in molasses used to brew waragi (local gin).

Jessica Akot, says she has taken her children through school from selling waragi. She adds that most of her customers come from the factory after work.

“Some of them pay for the brew a week in advance,” she says. According to John Kamau, the LC III chairman, the number of people in Kakira is on the rise. Many people are buying plots of land and constructing houses.

Kamau says Kakira grew into a cosmopolitan town with diverse tribes, including the Iteso, Lugbara and Acholi.

Kakira employs people from Arua, Gulu and Soroti to cut sugarcane. Kamau recalls that way back, Kakira did not have enough clean water. Some residents in Polota would go to Madhvani staff quarters to fetch water.

However, courtesy of Madhvani, Polota can now access clean water and has electricity, which runs the small businesses in the area.

He says the road networks have improved, although more planning is still required, as Kakira has moved from sub-county status to town council.

Kamau says most people in Kakira are sugarcane out growers, who supply Kakira Sugar Works. Samson Bagole, a resident, says nowadays business flourishes.

Before, people would travel to Jinja town to access banking services but now they have them from Kakira. Currently, a one-roomed house in Kakira goes for sh30,000, while an ordinary double-roomed house goes for about sh60,000, depending on the location.

5,740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Garuga paradise
Saturday, 20th February, 2010
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Lush greenery at the beach

Although it has taken five years to build and there’s still more to be done, Country Lake Resort Garuga is already taking shape as an oasis for relaxation and fun, Raphael Okello writes

IF you sit under one of the umbrella shades in the carefully trimmed gardens by the shores of Lake Victoria at Country Lake Resort Garuga, Entebbe, you’ll find yourself sipping more and more of whatever you’ll have ordered.

If it’s beer, that should not be a problem provided you have made reservations to spend the night in one of the 20 luxury cottages.

The sweeping picturesque view of Lake Victoria from where my friends and I were seated on a Sunday afternoon played before us like we were witnessing a grand art master at work:

A fleet of white Egyptian geese whizzed passed an indifferent lone fisherman casting his nets in the warm afternoon. Cormorants, with their dark plumage, nonchalantly floating on the lake, playfully dived into the water as the fisherman’s canoe rafted in their

The full-throated laughter of four girls, standing by the rocky shores, and the squeaky squeals of the hammerkops, gliding in the lake breeze, was muted by the whooshing waves that crashed against the shores.

Further off in the marshes, a heron wandered in solitude. In this spell, we found ourselves ordering more and more drinks than we had intended as we ravenously ripped apart the grilled chicken served with crispy French fries and olive oil-garnished salads.

Although we hadn’t made any reservations for the night, there was no need to worry: we were drowning ourselves in litres of soft drinks.

Just like the lone heron, this resort, with all its admirable beauty and charm, is isolated, distant and desolate. We were delivered to this place by a dusty rugged road 6.5km off the Kampala-Entebbe road.

Driving on it was reminiscent of a torrid countryside ride, but after travelling 30km from Kampala, you’ll find an oasis of calm and beauty sitting on a seven acre lush forestation.

After five years under construction, and with some work still to be done, Country Lake Resort is freshly budding from the shores of a lake whose fringes are dotted with beaches (old and new) all vying for attention from Kampala’s beach buffs.

And although it was only the day of her launch, Country Lake Resort seemed to make the last grand seductive stand.
From the lake, where we first saw her, Country Lake looks like a rich man’s villa.

And a stroll on the stone walkways, which meander through her gardens, does little to tamper with that illusion. The lawn is trimmed, shrub-beds immaculate and flowers carefully pruned.

In the interior, further away from the windy shores, busy bar, loud music and noisy groups, is an open green space that looks like a courtyard with fountains and lovingly tended vegetation.

“If someone doesn’t prefer to hold their party by the lakeside, they can choose to have it in here,” says Christopher Sekajugo, the manager.

But beautiful and seductive as the interior may seem, nothing beats the charm of a lakeside view or breeze. And just like the walk further into the resort’s interior, away from the lake, recreates the charm of a forest walk, strolling by the promenade along the lakeside is every lover’s delight.

Although when we stumbled on the resort, we weren’t washed over in feverish excitement of archaeologists who had stumbled on the oldest hominid, we seemed to have made an archeological discovery.

The cottages, artwork and stone walkways (even the silence and forest canopy) all exuded an inexplicable medieval touch.

The cottages, seemingly curved out of caves, have a rugged finishing, plastered with crushed lakeside rocks, broken pots and oxide. Near the resort entrance is a giant mould of a ravaged pirate boat, which appears to have been washed onshore.

Together with Egyptian-like animal art inscriptions on some walls, the resort looks to have been cut from a different shore, a different lake, and a different time.

Frequently, like it happened when we were there, the quiet will be interrupted by lively children tossing up and about in bouncing castles and on slides in the children’s park; music blaring from speakers placed in the gardens; an excited group setting off for a boat voyage; a cheer from the victorious team at the beach volleyball court or pool table fanatics.

Country Lake Resort has taken five years to construct. Considering that it already radiates charm with the swimming pool, lounge area and dance floor being among some of the facilities yet to be completed, attention to detail seems key for those that are responsible for the existence of this eco-friendly resort.

“We are taking our time to create a place worthy of our clients’ time and money. So we do not want to come up with a riff-raff resort,” Sekajjugo said.
Here, nature and art are allowed to complement one another.

The epitome of this phenomenon is perhaps well represented in the cottages, where the extensive slide glass doors allow for nature’s continuity inside the luxurious chalets.

Or perhaps at the shores, where what would have been a wasted rock bed/platform has been embraced as part of the resort’s architectural semblance: it serves as a patio with metal rails acting as barriers against anybody falling into the lake.

The dance floor, when complete, will be a dreamer’s waltz arena where friends and lovers will swing, sway and swirl; a rugged dancer’s moves will impress with as less effort as the grace of a ballet dancer because whoever will step on this floor will deeply be under the spell of the lake breeze to care less about a partner’s comic dancing.

As our time drew closer to an end, late in the evening, the ruffling madness of the water nudging by the shores, just inches from where we were sitting, was in many ways a reflection of my nervy self.

Deep down was a selfish desire that wished for this place to remain undiscovered. Was I unsettled that once this resort is discovered by Kampala’s notorious weekend excursionists, its pristine beauty and soaring regard for the environment might be desecrated?

I, however, lay happy and content in the thought that I will always be among the first people to have discovered this place.

5,740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Iganga, busy as a bee
Friday, 17th June, 2011
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Sitting on the main highway to Eastern Uganda and Kenya has boosted real estate in Iganga town

From town council status to municipal council, Iganga continues to embrace infrastructural progress by leaps and bounds. Its location enroute to and from major towns in the East and Kenya gives it more strength.

Trailer drivers who make stop overs in the town have only spurred the advancement; hotels and other lodging facilities are sprouting by the day.

Iganga’s infrastructural strength lies along the highway and a few businesses thrive around the bus and taxi parks.

One landmark that opened the eyes of real estate developers in the town is Mwana Highway Hotel. However, many other hotels have sprouted up to rival it.

According to Simeyo Okatch, a guard with Iganga National Water branch who is also a resident, many old houses in Iganga have been demolished to give way to storeyed structures that are tranforming the skyline.

Okatch adds that it is costly for one to get a single room by the highway for business. He says the older Indian-architecture buildings have been renovated to change the face of the district.

Security has also been stepped a notch higher since many people go through the town daily.

Saida Namande, a trader in the town says the majority of residents stay away from the hustle and bustle of the main road.

“They come here to do business in the different areas. While some residents earn a living from fish farming, those with large plots of land grow sugar cane and sell it to Kakira Sugar Works,” Namande says.

She explains that the major challenge affecting Iganga is the poor drainage system and the floods that hit the town in case of heavy rainfall. Namande also points out that the highway is dangerous as people often get knocked down by motorists.

For those interested in living in Iganga town, Namande says a furnished apartment within town goes for sh450,000 a month depending on the size and appearance. She adds that a two-roomed house costs about sh60,000, also depending on the size and appearance.

“Here in Iganga, most tenants foot their own electricity bills and only pay rent,” she says.

Juliet Kagoda, a land lady in town explains that in case a tenant is in charge of his or her power bills, the owner of the house is not inconvenienced at all.

According to Shaban Nkuttu, the district chairman LC 5, the population of Iganga district is about 780,000 people.

Nkuttu says the district stretches from Butaba wetlands bordering Mayuge district in the south and Kaliro district in the north.

He agrees that drainage is a challenge in the district and says it is an immediate issue to be worked upon to further improve the image of the municipal council. He adds that the current development of the town is attributed to the initiative of the central government.

Nkuttu says the district leadership has also had an impact in Iganga by lobbying different development partners to contribute to development initiatives. At one time, Iganga town was declared the dirtiest town in the country. This prompted its leaders struggle to work hard at improving the face of the town.

Nkuttu says recently the district resolved that residents should transform the appearance of buildings ‘in the heart of town’. According to the district resolution, those who will have failed to renovate their buildings will be given only six months.

Thereafter, the authorities will take over and develop the buildings.

5,740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Mbarara has got it all
Friday, 24th June, 2011
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Things to do in Mbarara

Beautiful women, handsome men, heavy weight politicians, flashy cars, academicians, beef, milk -- name it and Mbarara municipality has it. Economically, it is fast overtaking formerly industrial Jinja in manufacturing and population growth.

At a glance, Mbarara is located in a conservative cattle keeper’s habitat, Ankole. Cattle keeping earned the municipality its name. It was named after a type of grass cattle like to graze on called Mburara which the British colonial administrators corrupted to Mbarara.

Today, it is described as a place where milk flows on the village paths. And it is just as well, since most of the milk processing plants in Uganda are located there. The products are transported to markets in Kampala, other towns in Uganda and neighbouring countries.

First-time visitors are ushered into Mbarara by a long horned Ankole cow sculpture at the roundabout on Mbarara High Street. This street was named after one of the town’s most prominent secondary schools. Another hive of activity is Mbaguta Street, baptised after a former prime minister of Ankole.

In a walking distance is Bishop Willis Street, named after Bishop Willis, one of the first whites to visit Ankole and Mbarara. Spreading wider are Garage Street, Markhan Singh Street, Bulemba Road and Bucuku Street.

Amidst these roads are 14 financial institutions and a public airstrip. These narrow streets are attracting rural-to-urban migrants, investors, job seekers and scholars. The slow paced town is endowed with all the trappings of a modern, buzzing and cosmopolitan establishment.

“Mbarara is a perfect destination to hang out for a weekend or short holiday,” says Jerry Mulumba, a resident. “There are numerous stores on the high street with fabrics, electronics, toys and footwear. Mbarara offers everything you need to make merry. Night life fans have Vision Empire and Another Life nightclubs, to name but a few,” he adds.

Given a smooth road, an airstrip and night travel, getting to Mbarara has never been easier. On the economic yardstick, Mbarara leads in western Uganda, while other districts follow.

By 2002, the national census estimated the population of Mbarara at 69,363. According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), this shot to 82,000 in 2010. This population is contained in three divisions comprising Kamukuzi, Nyamitanga and Kakoba.

These are further sub-divided into six sub-divisions of Ruharo, Nyamitanga, Nyamityobora, Kamukuzi, Kakoba and Lutti. Academically, Mbarara is the home of Mbarara University of Science and Technology, founded in 1989. Numerous educational institutions were there before and continue to survive. They include Bishop Stewart Teacher Training College (Bishop Stuart University) located on Kakoba Hill. There is Maryhill High School, Mbarara High School and Ntare School.

Built during the colonial days, these three were state boarding schools whose graduates go on to make major contributions to today’s Uganda. Alumni of these schools include presidents Museveni and Paul Kagame (Ntare), Mzee Boniface Byanyima (Mbarara High), Sam Kutesa, foreign affairs minister (Mbarara High) and the academic Sam Nahamya PhD.

Winnie Byanyima, the current director of gender issues at the UNDP headquarters in New York City, is a native of Mbarara. She had her early education in Mbarara. She represented the town in the Ugandan Parliament from 1994 until 2004.

Rent for a residential house in Mbarara is sh350,000 for a two-bedroom house. A posh house with three bedrooms, a dining table that seats eight people and two bathrooms is being advertised and goes for $900 per month. But the tenant foots the water and electricity bills.

A muzigo (bed sitter) is tagged between sh70,000-sh120,000 but the cost all depends on its location.

Things to do in Mbarara
-Mbarara has a number of secondary schools and a university so it is a good destination for somebody looking for a place to study.

-It has a number of nightclubs and bars so it is good for a weekend of partying.
-Mbarara is also good for business people looking for a new start.

-It has many hotels for company retreats and meetings.

5,740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #27 ·

11 banks cash in on Gulu’s boom
Written by Moses Mugalu
Sunday, 26 June 2011 16:51
Gulu town, once a ghost town devastated by a two-decade war, has turned into a sprawling financial hub for that part of the region.

Gone are the days when the definition of the town was that of many women with scars from years of war riding bicycles during the day, and children leaving their homesteads in search of shelter in the deserted streets of town at night.

Today, Gulu has turned into one big attraction for banks. A walk around Gulu town’s dusty and narrow streets, leads you to either a bank or a microfinance institution’s office at every corner. Eleven banks and several microfinance institutions have opened branches in Gulu town in the last 18 months, according to the locals.

Originally, Stanbic and Centenary were the only major banks with branches in Gulu. But others, namely Barclays, Crane, Standard Chartered, dfcu, KCB, Orient, Post, Bank of Africa and Housing Finance, have rushed to cash in on Gulu town’s business boom. UMFU, run by new Gulu Municipality MP, Christopher Achire, FINCA and the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMIFU) are some of the other finance lending firms active in the Gulu.

The end the LRA war in northern Uganda greatly opened opportunities in Gulu. However, it is the emergence of South Sudan as a virgin area for business deals that has sparked off the recent rush by banks. South Sudan is expected to be the world’s newest independent state when it finally secedes from the north next month.

The state, rich in oil and other raw materials, has already attracted big international companies from countries like China and South Africa, becoming the main gateway for traders. The entry of the banks to fund such traders has seen credit also trickle down to those who do not necessarily have their eyes on South Sudan.

John Opoka, who owns a retail electronics shop on downtown Keyo Road, is one such example. He took a short-term loan last December from one of the banks and his capital has grown to Shs 18m from Shs 3m in the past six months.

Mariam Ayella, a trader on the same street, has also gained from the short-term loan services. She twice took loans of Shs 4m, and completed payment last month. Her capital has since shot up to Shs 10m.

“For now, I am contented because I have enough capital to buy as much produce as my customers want,” says Ayella, who started off with a paltry Shs 1m.

Other business players have also entered Gulu. For example, Kenya’s supermarket giant Uchumi is set to open a branch soon, while construction materials agents such as CTM already have outlets here.

Gulu’s entertainment scene, especially the night life, is abuzz with several truck drivers and other traders making stopovers all round the week. The bars open till the wee hours and the prices of alcoholic and soft drinks match those in Kampala.

5,740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Mbuya: Pay to view the lake
Saturday, 23rd July, 2011
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An aerial view of a residential area in Mbuya
By Titus Kakembo

Mbuya hill is the kind of place with serene avenues lined with flowering trees and large detached houses behind imposing wall fences and hedges.

It is characterised by high towering apartments with numbered plots, large compounds, a cool breeze, pets and neatly manicured lawns. Mbuya lies in the south-eastern part of Kampala city. It is bordered by Kyambogo to the north, Kinawataka and Kireka to the northeast, Butabika and Biina to the east, Mutungo to the southeast, Luzira Port Bell, Kitintale and Bugolobi to the south, Namuwongo to the southwest, Nakawa to the west and Ntinda to the northwest.

For sh1,000, there are taxis available at the Kampala Old Taxi Park to Mbuya via Nakawa and the New Port Bell Road. There also boda bodas available to take you up the hill.

Mbuya was the seat of Kaggo - the title of the county chief of Kyadondo, which covers most of present-day Kampala and is one of the 20 counties of Buganda Kingdom. The county seat was subsequently moved to Kasangati and Mbuya was converted into an upscale residential and commercial area.

Today, it is home to the Ministry of Defence headquarters, Malawi honourary consul, Mbuya Military Referral Hospital, Embassy of the Vatican in Uganda, Residence of the Papal Nuncio, The Consulate of the Republic of Ghana, Our Lady of Africa Catholic Cathedral and Enkombe Apartments.

To get high up there, Ismail Sonko, a boda boda rider, gladly shows a passenger where the honourary Malawi consul to Uganda, Robert Mwesigwa, resides, where Leadership Magazine is published and where to access an ATM.

The profile of Mbuya residents comprise diplomats, army officers and the business fraternity. FDC president Kizza Besigye once resided here.

The price tag on most rental apartment is in dollars. An apartment goes for between $1,000 (about sh2.5m) and $3,000 (about sh7.7m). Plots of 70 decimals cost $650,000 (about sh1.6b), 60 decimals cost $550,000 (about sh1.4b) and 1.5 acres cost $1.3m (about sh3.3b).

The panoramic view of Lake Victoria splashed in gold at sunrise is worth the price.

Solent Road, which is an option for motorists when there is a traffic jam on Port Bell Road at rash hours requires fresh tarmack.

Residents are doing a good job to beautify the road reserve, but the pedestrian walk-ways are in a sorry state. One has to move with a torch at night to dodge gaping man-holes. For entertainment, residents have Silver Springs, Virgin Islands, Zone 7 and Red Chilli among others. Cocktail parties or dinner with live jazz bands music are often heard behind wall fences. Ndere Troupe in Kisasi, Garden City and Centenary Park are just a 20 minutes’ drive from Mbuya.

Gyms like Body wise and swimming pools are doing brisk business in the area as residents battle to keep fit.

The connecting roads are tarmacked but pot-holed. CCTV cameras monitor the neighbourhoods 24/7. This is in addition to sliding gates laced with alarm systems.

Given its proximity to an army barracks, secured by private guards and dogs, burglary is a rare occurrence here.

With Nakawa destined to become a satellite city, speculators expect property rates in Mbuya to spiral upwards in the near future.

Local artistes like Katatumba are common in the neighbourhood where they lighten up birthday parties and anniversaries.

For shopping, residents have to travel to Capital Shoppers near Makerere University Business School, Nakumatt in Bugolobi and Mini Price supermarket in Kitintale.

5,740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
NTV Connect _ Katwe
The suburb of Katwe, here in Kampala is renown as a hub for local artisans who have a knack for duplicating any imported product on Ugandan soil. But also famous for its "Made in Uganda" products, Katwe is fast changing as other businesses set up shop and force the small scale entrepreneurs to move their trade elsewhere.

5,740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Kasangati: A melting pot for all tribes
Saturday, 30th July, 2011
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New structures and business ventures are sprawling at Kasangati trading centre
By Alex Balimwikungu

The areas was best described as a sleepy market town, synonymous with a rural settlement. However, things have since changed. Kasangati is now a township.

Located about 15km on the Kampala-Gayaza Road, in Nangabo sub-county, Wakiso District, Kasangati also serves as the headquarters for Kyadondo County, the most central of Buganda Kingdom’s 18 counties. Mengo, Kampala, Lubiri, Kasubi tombs and Banda are all in Kyadondo, as are Ntinda, Luzira, Bweyogerere, Muyenga, Gayaza, Kiwenda, Kawempe, Nateete, Kagoma, Namulonge and Kyambogo.

Kasangati still lags behind in terms of growth, but it stands to be put to test when it hosts the 18th coronation anniversary of the Kabaka, to be held at the Saza grounds.

Simple and derelict structures are a common sight. Even landmark places like Kasangati Police Station, Kasangati Prison and the Kasangati Magistrates’ courts, are disheveled.

Steven Kawalya, a resident, says: “Kasangati had a high concentration of shrines and witchcraft was a main source of income.”

Kawalya, who has lived here for over 10 years, says the changes are evident. “It has all changed. I bought a 70ffx100ft plot of land at 2.5m in 2001. Today the same size of land costs about sh15m.”

Formerly deemed a close-knit Buganda lineage town, Kasangati is now multi-lingual and a melting pot for diverse cultures. Many of the current land owners are not Baganda.

Developers like Jomayi Property Consultants have established the Nangabo Estate. Canaan Sites Ltd also has the Gayaza-Kira Royal Estates.

Rent for a three-bedroom self-contained house complete with a perimeter fence costs about sh250,000 to sh300,000 per month but there are rental units which cost between sh15,000 to sh100,000 per month.

The recently-upgraded Kampala-Zirobwe highway, which passes through Kasangati, has boosted the business activity in the township.

“We recently got the first ATM machine in Kasangati when Equity Bank opened here,” says John Wakabi, 35, a tipper driver.

Steven Malwadde, a resident, says: “It is very lively at night. Gone are the days when we would wait for the likes of Fred Sebatta to perform at the Saza Grounds.Today we have entertainment centres. Some even have sauna and massage parlours.”

Places like Kasangati Resort Centre are fast carving out as ideal for rest and relaxation.

Nearby is Afronica club, which is a favourite hang-out spot for most youth. Afronica’s health club, famous for its sauna and steam-bath is a hit in the area and savvy residents have since turned it into a status symbol of sorts.

Transport to and from Kasangati is affordable. It costs about sh1,500 from the Old and New taxi parks. The taxis ply well close to midnight and resume at 4:00am.

The heavy traffic jam around Kalerwe has lessened following the upgrade of the road. It takes between 15-30 minutes to make it to Kampala city from Kasangati.

The popular Gayaza High School proudly stands-out a few kilometres from Kasangati. There are other schools like Kidde Primary School, Wampewo Ntakke, and Nile College School.

And just to show how developed Kasangati has become, I typed this story from an Internet Café, the very first in the area late at night; I was not even worried about night dancers.

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
The rise and rise of Ishaka
Saturday, 6th August, 2011
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The face of Ishaka is changing with buildings sprouting almost everywhere.
By Christopher Bendana

George Rukanyi in his 80s has seen Ishaka grow from a small trading centre to the big town it is today. He has been here since the 1940s.

In his shop on Rukungiri Road he is mesmerised by the new buildings and the many cars in the town. He recalls with nostalgia when Idi Basajjabalaba’s lorry and the late Kabirisi’s Peugeot were the only two cars in the town.

You cannot visit Ishaka town and miss the mention of businessman, Hassan Basajjabalaba. There is a small town; secondary school and road named after him. This town a cousin of Bushenyi is located 5km on the Bushenyi-Kasese Road.

The late Idi Basajjabalaba, the father of Hassan Basajjabalaba, was a businessman. Basajjabalaba senior was into hides and skins. Hassan on the other hand, is more into education and health. Hassan owns Kampala International University (KIU) which has a branch in Ishaka.

The university also has a teaching hospital, Kampala International University Teaching Hospital.

Rukanyi explains that Ishaka derives its name from okushaka, a Runyankore word meaning looking for essentials. People from the surrounding areas used to come to this place looking for essentials like salt, clothing, soap and paraffin. They would tell other people that they were going to okushaka. With time the place got its name Ishaka

Rukanyi recalls that in the past many of the buildings in Ishaka were made of mud and wattle, but today, Ishaka is occupied with permanent buildings housing banks, hotels and schools.

Mugumya Apollo, a property broker in Ishaka, says the best residential areas are in Rwemironkora near the KIU campus and Nyakatoma along the Ishaka- Kasese Road. Mugumya says rent in these areas for a self-contained three bedroom house ranges between sh300,000 to 500,000 a month.

Detached and semi-detached houses in these areas are roofed with mangalore, and corrugated IT4 iron sheets. The detached houses are owner occupied or rented by top government officials while semi- detached are mainly rented by students.

For business rent is 400,000 per month for shops in the town centre and between sh150,000 to sh200,000 at the peripherals like in the areas of Kikuubo and Basajja Kabirisi Street.

For tenements behind the main shops, a room, costs between sh20,000 to sh30,000 a month.

Residential houses have seen a surge of rent prices since KIU was started. The price increase is due to the students and lecturers who look for accommodation. “Lectures and students pay handsomely especially the Kenyans,” Mugumya reveals.

Mugumya further says a plot in Ishaka town costs between shs200m to sh300m. It is between sh50m to sh60m in Nyakatoma along Kasese Road.

Moses Bafaki, a resident has seen an influx of non- indigenous people due to the KIU revolution. He talks of Kikuyus, Nigerians among others. Previously Ishaka was dominated by the native Banyankore, and Buganda.

Bafaki says the immigration has come with advantages. “In trade the income has increased due to increased sales, like we are seeing an influx of supermarkets. Houses used to be empty. Now people are looking for where to sleep,” he reveals.

This view of developing fast is shared by Kyambya Ali Muhumuza, a manager at Savan Hotel. He says since the opening of KIU Ishaka branch he has seen an increase in his food sales at the hotel.

Those who would like to spend a night in Ishaka rooms at Crane Resort along Kasese Road go for sh62,000 a single sh72,000 for double. Lodges like Savan go for sh15,000 a night.

For those who like hanging out, there is Swing Club on Kabirisi Road. There are also several banks: Centenary, Stanbic, Barclays and Pride.

Travel to Bushenyi and Mbarara is mainly by small cars, Ipsums and other Toyotas. The town is safe because one can move past midnight. The town has a water network, but no sewer system. Ishaka town is connected to the main power grid.

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Why fuss over gated homes?
Tuesday, 6th September, 2011
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Apartments in a gated community in Luzira.
By Joyce Nyakato

MOST residents who live in gated communities cite security as the reason for choosing them as a home. According to Anatoli Kamugisha, the managing director Akright projects, one of the leading builders of gated developments in Uganda, security is critical when it comes to choosing a home.

In a nation confronting security jitters, living behind walls and knowing your neighbours is security enough for many.

Security is a top concern for the employed, since they spend most of their time out of home and want to be assured of the safety of their hard-earned assets. Such social demands have led to the increase in gated communities.

According to Alex Muhumuza, an architect, gated communities are becoming the in-thing today as they are easy to rent out compared to a single bungalow. Though they may be likened to estates, he highlights the difference. Some estates contain a block of individual gated houses. However, in gated communities, houses do share one gate or fence.

“Gated communities are communities with the same character, security and share a number of social amenities,” he says.

He admits that gated communities have become popular. Homeowners in gated communities live in upscale and mostly rich developments. Though they have not existed for long, gated communities, which are more likened to the estates, are fast developing in the middle class residential neighbourhoods in Uganda. With the high-rise building complexes and designs, the communities are good to the eye.

Currently, the biggest gated community we have in Uganda is the Kakungulu Satellite City off Entebbe Road, with 2000 bungalows. Other gated developments by the project include the estates in Namugongo. Palm Villas is another private gated community with condominiums and bungalows which was opened in Munyonyo in 2006.

It comprises 25 fully-furnished double-storey units and five luxurious bungalows in one compound. Security is guaranteed and they have a good lake view.

Currently, Tirupati development is constructing a gated community in Naguru, that is due completion in nine months.

The high-end gated community will have a suspended swimming pool, ample parking space, CCTV cameras and sports facilities. In the more affluent suburbs, like Naguru, Naalya, Muyenga and Buziga, the rent may range from $1,000 (sh2.7m) to $4,000 (sh10.8m) a month depending on the bungalow.

A number of these communities are mainly targeted by foreigners and high end nationals who cite security and sense of belonging as the main reason they opt for them.

According to Peninah Namukasa who lives in an estate in Naguru, most of the people who opt for these estates are very security conscious. “The estates are usually crime free,” she says. Namukasa is also a lover of quiet and peaceful environments and these communities offer just that.

Roselyn Karungi who lives in a gated community in Najjera, another Kampala suburb, agrees there is clearly a demand for such properties. Though dubbed as high end, the concept of gated communities is growing particularly among young professionals. They are attracted by the prestige that comes with living in such communities.

To meet the market demands, some projects like Akright have offered some houses at cheaper fees. This way, more ordinary Ugandans are likely to get a chance of living behind high walls.

Kamugisha explains that the cheapest rental in the big Kakungulu Estate Satellite City costs sh500,000 a month, while others have shot up to sh1m. “The costs all depends on the size of the house and the location, “he says.

However, the rising trend may cause concern that these new ghettos of affluence are dividing society and could undermine public services.

Muhumuza does not reckon that these homes cut off people from the rest of the community. He says the idea of having all the services in one gate is to ease the life of the tenants.

5,740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #34 ·
When building, do so for profit
Saturday, 10th September, 2011
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This building along the Ntinda, Kisasi Road has shops on the ground floor, offices in the middle and residential flats on the top floor
By Christopher Bendana

JOHN Kasenene has a good property, but it is situated in a bad place. When he was building, he did not undertake market analysis and seek professional help.

There are many people like Kasenene who have large properties, that cannot give them financial gains because of their location, or because they lack some facilities.

Sabiiti Bageine, a real estate consultant with Bageine & Co. a property management firm based in Kampala says, for a property to attract clients it has to meet the minimum requirements.

Property should be located near amenities like schools, hospitals and shopping centres. The property should also be planned and properly serviced with water, electricity, light and proper drainage systems.

Tenants prefer places with amenities as they do not have to move long distances looking for essentials.

It would not make economic sense for a tenant on the 14th floor of Crested Towers building to go for tea along Dewinton Road. “A building with more than three floors should ideally have a lift, toilet, kitchen, a standby generator and proper fire fighting equipment,” he says.

All buildings should have fire extinguishers. Property managers say a generator should not only be on standby, but it should be automatic.

A building with no standby generator disrupts work when power goes off. Computers, lifts cooling systems need power to operate.

On layout Sabiiti says, clients prefer an open plan. Open plan is where a building is not partitioned. This gives clients leverage to partition and floor the space they are paying for.

Sabiiti says, the property must have facilities like parking space, air conditioning, operating lifts in case it has more than one floor. And these facilities should be easy to maintain. “People should buy equipment for which it is easy to find spare parts in case they breakdown. Facilities and installations should be sustained in the current and future market,” he emphasises.

Sabiiti says, the finishing of the lobby; staircases and other shared places on a building should be done well.

Anatoli Kamugisha, president, Uganda Property Developers Association, and managing director, Akright Projects says when he is buying land, his top priority is on its accessibility and the neighbourhood.

Kamugisha says before building, he considers if the land is near roads, water, electricity, and a proper sewer system and garbage disposal.

He says a good neighbourhood that can easily embrace new developments is vital.

Dr. Kiggundu Amin Tamale a lecturer in the department of architecture at Makerere University and an expert in urban planning says poor occupancy rate of properties is as a result of no research by our investors. He says in countries like Malaysia you find multi-purpose buildings with shopping malls on the lower floor, offices on the middle and the top floor hotels. “Investors should broaden the functionality of their buildings and not limit them to shopping malls, but to other activities like hotel and residential,” says Kiggundu.

He observes that people in Uganda hardly reside in the city.

“Africans look at the city as a place for trade. They still cherish the rural environment; having a goat, a cow and plantations,” he says.

Tamale says links between universities and the Government should be strengthened to provide the necessary expertise in helping the Government develop and promote the real estate sector.

As supermarkets, banks, shopping malls and schools, sprout in the suburbs, Sabiiti sees these places becoming hotspots for real estate development.

Nansana is booming
Saturday, 10th September, 2011
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Nansana town is changing face radically
By Job Nantakiika

EIGHTY-year-old Janet Najeeno Mujoona has lived in Nansana all her life, but has been awestruck by the changes she has seen in the recent years.

Found in Wakiso district on Hoima Road, Nansana is growing at a supersonic speed. Not so long ago it was a forest with a few residents. Its locals lived like any of our rural folk. Clearly Nansana was a village.

“Nansana was a forest with many fruits like mangoes, guavas and jack fruit. People used to live in houses made of dry banana leaves (ebisoowa). Those who lived in houses made of mud were regarded the rich ones,” says Mujoona.

Esero Kizito was the rich man of the time because he owned a bakery in Kibuye that supplied bread to the whole of Kampala. His nickname was Bakery Kizito, explains Mujoona. Kizito was also the first to build a modern bungalow in the area which is still standing to date.

If you visited Nansana today, you will find a place called Nansana Masitoowa and another called Nansana Yesu Amala. The former was named after a man called Ssengooba who gave up his mud and wattle house for a coffee business. Whoever visited Nansana and wanted to trade in coffee or cotton, was sent to masitoowa.

Nansana Yesu Amala, on the other hand was named after a man called Wamala. He was a butcher and whenever people thanked him for his services he would tell them Yesu amala yakola byonna (Jesus is enough he does everything).

In the past, Nansana was believed to be haunted by a ghost called Mayanja which used to appear when the moon had just come up. It is because the ghost used to appear when the moon is out, that King Daudi Chwa called this place Nansana.

Currently, the area has embraced people from all walks of life and as such many buildings have been constructed, both commercial and residential.

Along the main road you find so many storied buildings and off the main road people have built posh bungalows.

Lasto Kizito, 35, of Bakato property consultants Nansana says, it is almost impossible for one to get a plot of land of 100 by 100 feet on the main road. However, if you chanced on one it would cost between sh250m and sh300m. This price goes for all pieces of land in the heart of the town (that is Nabweru Road to Yesu Amala). From Nabweru Road to Lubigi one can get the same piece of land at sh150m.

A small plot of land of 50 by 70 feet on the main road costs between sh70m to sh80m.

When you go 200 metres away from the main road a plot of land of 50 by 100 feet ranges from sh25m to sh40m. Small plots of 60 by 35 feet cost sh13m.

Some years back people used to look at Nansana as very far from the city centre, but this has changed with the Northern Bypass, which has made the place accessible and a busy business hub.

The storied buildings along the main road and Nansana Town Council Authority laws that require people to construct storied building in town have made Nansana town look gorgeous.

5,740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Masaka hotel industry growing steadily-Masaka Subregion Supplement
Publish Date: Jan 21, 2012

The back view of Hotel Brovad’s new extension
By Ali Mambule

Masaka town has seen huge amounts of construction as the twon rebuilds itself .Masaka never really recovered from the war in 1979 that destroyed the town .

The hotel industry in Masaka is developing day and night. Hotel Brovad was the only hotel, but today, Masaka has over 10 big hotels all with Presidential suites.

Hotel Brovad, itself has been upgraded with a new apartment much bigger and more executive than the old hotel which people are used to. Hajat Sarah Kiyimba the proprietor and director of Hotel Brovad has also created beautiful gardens, more executive rooms for accommodation and parking space for the hotel clients which has made the hotel more attractive.

Other big hotels in the subregion include Zebra in Masaka town, Sharbert Hotel, Vienna also in Masaka town, Tropic Inn the only one with a swimming pool in greater Masaka and Golf Lane another classy hotel that is boosting the industry.

Golf Lane Hotel is located at the top of one of the hills in Masaka town and neighbours Masaka Regional Referral Hospital. It has a beautiful view of all parts of the municipality.

Ntambi Africa who manages Golf Lane Hotel says whereas appears completed, the hotel is just reaching the climax of its first phase.

“We are just beginning. The first phase is yet to be completed and it includes accommodation, laundry, bar, hall for hire and boardrooms,” Ntambi says. He explains that with the laundry facility, there is a collection centre in Masaka town where those who are not guests, but would like to use the service can take their clothes.

Some people think that Golf Lane Hotel was constructed for the rich, but Ntambi has a very different explanation.

“This hotel is for all people regardless of their class. What we want is to serve the people of Masaka, the neighbouring districts and Uganda at large with quality services at affordable prices. We welcome all people who would like to use our services,” he told New Vision recently.

The second and third phase of Golf Lane Hotel construction would include putting up a big health club with a swimming pool, sauna and massage, gym, steam bath and other things. The structure for the health club is already set up and only waiting for the machinery to be fixed.

The third phase of construction according to Ntambi will basically include bigger structures like conference halls accommodating over 1,000 people.

There are beautiful gardens and sites for weddings and the national flag is always up at Golf Lane.

Whenever there are big functions and activities in Masaka district, everybody can get somewhere to spend a comfortable night.

There is also a variety of guest houses in Masaka town. Outside Masaka district, there is Serona Hotel and Motel High Way in Kyotera town, Rakai district.

These and other guest houses provide quality services to visitors heading towards the Uganda Tanzania border at Mutukula.

5,740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Changing face of Kabalagala
Sizzling Entertainment


Kabalagala's busy street, strewn with bars and restaurants

As motorists wait to turn right or left at the Kabalaga junction, some hawkers pull up to them.

Yelling, “Kabalagala,” they lower their buckets, which are covered with banana leaves. From the bucket wafts the sweet smell of kabalagala (pancakes), which whets the appetite. They are made from cassava flour and sweet bananas, spiced with chili pepper.

Just like airtime vending today, this junction was once popular for kabalagala, and was thus called Kabalagala. Originally, though, it was called Kisugu. However, the pancakes are a rarity now and newcomers like Macarena (the mobile pancake entrepreneur) have taken on the business.

Besides its pancake name, Kabalagala is popularly known for its nocturnal character. The bars never shut down till the last customer staggers out; the fire never dies in the restaurant kitchen stoves and the DJs never say, “Goodbye and Goodnight”- like they do in most nightclubs around town.

Perhaps, only terrorists and their bombs tried to quell Kabalagala’s excitement, but it jumped right back after a few weeks. Yet in the day, the suburb seems innocent and calm, except for the heavy traffic that disrupts the quiet.

People attend to their business of mainly retail shops and small boutiques by the roadside. As the sun sets, the suburb fully awakens to the nightlife. Bars, big and small, light up with red, blue and yellow bulbs. From the shack bars such as Lucy’s bar to the upper class De-posh and Timelezz, Kabalagala gears up to serve fun, food alcohol, music and girls (for those interested).

Like most parts of Kampala, it is also undergoing a facelift. For example, the hang-out joints along Muyenga Road now have a fresh coat of paint compared to the Bufundas (shack-like bars) that once graced the area. Notably, the newcomers have hit Kabalagala’s entertainment scene with a bang, which has left the old ones, like Capital Pub, sulking.

Although De-posh is a one-year-old toddler, it rakes in revellers from all over town. Some people (read prudes) have tried to tarnish it, saying it has “ladies of the night” but loyal customers don’t seem to care, like the Rastafarians who like its ambiance and 24-hour service.

Together with the latest joint, Timelezz, De-posh welcomes all: young and old, students and professionals, foreigners and locals. In contrast, Timelezz, owned by a Dutch couple, does not allow “ladies of the night”. Timelezz also offers a calm atmosphere with soothing sounds.

As revellers throng to the new cool places, older pubs that have seen better days look on longingly. In this category lie Capital pub and Cherie. They once commanded a big chunk of revellers in the earlier half of the last decade. Capital pub is no longer the giant that boasted of three bar counters and eight pool tables. It is now deserted much like a socialite who becomes a recluse; it only has a handful of customers. Some places, like Punchline, have stood the test of time.

Although it is not as hip as it used to be, Punchline enjoys the allegiance of loyal customers who include both young and old. Students particularly find it cheaper to throw parties at Punchline because they don’t pay for the venue, while older folks simply enjoy their nook and older music. Some bits of Kabalagala never really change after all.

Punchline - one of Kabalagala's most popular hang-outs

5,740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Living in Naalya - What it is like?

Naalya is a fast growing surburb with easy access to good housing, social facilities and services photo by ismail Kezaala

By Ian Ortega (email the author)

Posted Wednesday, March 28 2012 at 00:00

If there are any places overtaking Muyenga, Naguru, Kololo, then one would not be mistaken to mention Naalya ‘sub-city’ as it is now known by everyone who catches a glimpse of it. From being a village ten years back, Naalya is a shadow of its formerly ramshackled structures.

More than a decade ago, Naalya was simply an obscure area in Kiira Town council only riding on the tunes of the Kabaka Muteesa I who named it Naalya during his visit to the area. History has it that on one such a visit, the Kabaka who was watching the picturesque banana plantations from his Kyambogo palace remarkably told his subjects that “Naalya ku tooke” literally meaning that he will eat some of those bananas. From then on, the locals coined the name “Naalya”.

Perhaps to many residents like Jane Akumu who has lived in Naalya housing estates for the last five years, the construction of the housing estate – a high-rise condominium and apartment complex constructed by National Housing and Construction Company is what propelled the area to the paths of growth. However Ritah Lubega attributes Naalya’s speedy development to the outward growth of areas like Ntinda and not forgetting the famous Valley point of the time. “Valley point as a hangout spot saw people coming from all areas and as a result, many went ahead to buy plots in this area and set root”, explains Lubega.

So why choose Naalya?
The largest shopping mall in Uganda is one of the features that stand out so much in Naalya. Metroplex Shopping Mall has seen every factor being tilted in favor of Naalya. However to other residents like Kaddu Fredrick, the accessibility to all parts of the country is a feature so unique with Naalya. Depending on where one wants to get, be it to Mukono, Masaka, Ntinda, city Centre or to the far sides of the country, the road network in Naalya serves this to the fullest. It can also be argued that the Northern-by pass is a pull factor to the area.

A first time visitor to Naalya would think that the Metroplex shopping mall which also houses Shoprite is the only factor to pride in. Yet as one traverses towards the Naalya-Namugongo road, there is a sight catching revelation of the biggest Capital Shopper’s mall whose construction is nearing completion. Elizabeth Birabwa who works with Economic Policy and Research Centre describes Naalya as an area with stand-alone features.

By stand-alone she refers to the ability of a Naalya resident to do everything as concerns shopping, banking, education and other services which one may need in one area. A visit to the Metroplex shopping mall tells a more than shopping story. From Planet-sports, the biggest match telecasting arena in Uganda, a Woolworths shop, Shoprite, banks, restaurants , cosmetics and pharmaceutical shops, one’s needs all get served at one sport.

It is not only shopping that Naalya has to offer. Talk of education amenities, a book Centre along the way, private high scale primary and secondary schools like Naalya SSS just to mention but a few. Musiitwa Edward an events manager also sights the accessibility to the Martyrs Shrine which serves both touristic and spiritual interests. Yet capital shoppers mall promises more on completion, apart from the hopping facilities, one will be able to enjoy high class entertainment from this mall in terms of music clubs.

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Can I afford to stay in Naalya?
To many property consultants or brokers for that case, the question should not be whether one can afford to stay in Naalya but how one can be able to stay in Naalya. At least this is what Kayongo Charles a property broker based in Kireka’s theory seems to suggest. To him depending on one’s needs, everyone can be able to take up the opportunity to live in this city.

Naalya is developing into a middle class residential neighborhood with high-rise apartment complexes and modest residential bungalows. Take an example of the Naalya courts apartments in the calm neighborhood of Naalya housing estate, price per unit is 73.2 million according to a National Housing official. Such a unit is normally a two or three bedroomed house. But for those who prefer to rent, there are a variety of other apartments which don’t belong to the National Housing that one can choose from.
A three bedroom self-contained house goes for not less than Ushs 800,000 a month.

According to Charles Kayongo, a one bedroom may see one parting with around Ushs 400,000 and Ushs 500,000 or more for a two bedroom unit per month. However if you are the type that refers to buy a plot of land a mere 100 by 100 decimals may see you part with not less than Ushs 60m. Whatever your preferences, Naalya is one area that is turning both commercial and residential at a remarkable speed. You can choose to be like the Kabaka and eat of this grandeur city and have all your needs served in the vicinity of your home.

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Gulu is back from the dead but can we sustain its life?
By Daniel K. Kalinaki (email the author)

Posted Thursday, April 5 2012 at 00:00
It is funny, the things we take for granted. The Karuma Bridge over the River Nile used to be the Rubicon. Those who crossed it in northbound traffic would have crossed the point of possible no return, for they would immediately find themselves in Lord’s Resistance Army territory, all the way up to Gulu and beyond.

Those who were southbound could, on crossing the bridge, breath a sigh of relief for they had joined the rest of Uganda – the one that had enjoyed the peace and stability for ‘so many’ years.

The rebels did not control any territory, per se, but the threat of their vicious attacks was enough to drive people out of their homes – encouraged by government – into camps where, cheek by jowl, they waited out their misery.

Gulu, whence your columnist is writing, is back from the dead. Trucks carrying merchandise bound for South Sudan hurtle through its narrow roads, past banks squeezing against each other for space on the main thoroughfare. Even Uchumi has set up shop.

Gulu’s nightlife, once made up of fleeing civilians and punctuated by sounds of gunfire, is now a pockmarked by the sounds of music blaring out from dozens of bars wherein locals religiously and assiduously separate animal flesh from bone.

Life is good in Gulu. And the numbers support that statement. Amidst the doom and gloom painted in the latest Afrobarometer poll findings there was a small, unreported fact; the people of northern Uganda have become the most optimistic in the country.

Of all four regions, more people here than in any other part of Uganda feel that their lives have improved over the last five years. The most obvious reason is that there is a peace dividend; anyone who goes from living on the edge of death to some sense of security is bound to have a sense of viva la vida, or la dolce vita – the good life.

There is also the fact that northern Uganda is coming off a low development base in which small increments make a big difference: give a man with $10,000 an extra $1,000 and they might smile but give a man who has nothing $100 and he will remember your name for the rest of his days.

Of course, Gulu is not entirely representative – it has always been a big town, after all – but the sense of optimism in the dusty air throughout most of northern Uganda is unmistakable.

The fundamental problems remain, however. Northern Uganda lags behind the rest of the country on many development indices and the effects of two decades of war will not disappear overnight.

Youth unemployment, as in other parts of Uganda, is way above 50 per cent and rising on the back of a high population growth rate. Health, transport and education infrastructure is undeveloped or very poor across northern Uganda.

Four things will determine whether we keep the optimism in northern Uganda. The first issue is, obviously security. This is less likely to be compromised by the LRA, as the Invisible Children do-gooders tell us, but more by the outbreak of war in Southern Sudan, which would destroy the trade, boom and, worse, suck us into the conflict.

Second is how quickly we can roll out basic infrastructure – and commendable first steps have been taken in that direction with some of the road projects in the area but more needs to be done with a lot more urgency.

Thirdly, the question of the land must be answered. A lot of the land in northern Uganda is owned communally and, having lain fallow for years, is being eyed by capricious land grabbers.

Elders and politicians in the area are justified in being sceptical but they should not become cynical towards investment. It would be a shame if such large, fertile land returned to small-scale, hand-held-hoe farming.

Organise the people into cooperatives and have them work with, not for, investors, including Mukwano who is setting up an impressive-looking sunflower farm in Kiryandongo.

Finally, government must find a way to retool the young people of northern Uganda. Denied the opportunity of quality education (I am using the word quality in very loose, relative terms), they are less likely to find or create employment on their own – yet are most likely to resort to violence, thanks to the trauma of war.

We struggled to deal with the war in northern Uganda; we must not let the peace dividend slip through our hands.

21 Posts
Forget the dollar prices for rent in Kampala. Here you talk shillings and a bedsit will cost about sh180,000 while the two-roomed goes for about sh350,000. A bungalow is priced at between sh800,000 and sh2m. It all depends on location and your ability to haggle.

A 50x100m piece of land in the town centre is available at between sh25m and sh40m. Malls and high rise buildings are catching on in Gulu.

With the nose for business, property developers like Mukwano, Tirupati and Palm Springs have joined the construction fray and put up numerous housing estates in Luzira. Kampala City Council (KCC) has made the place more accessible by constructing more roads and private garbage collectors help keep the area clean.
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