According to the Sauti ZaWanainchi survey conducted between July and August 2020, flush toilets are used by just 1 per cent of the country’s population. It showed that even in urban areas, only 3 per cent of the population had access to flush toilets.
newly established cities need to plan and manage settlements to avoid the same
pitfalls that befell Kampala, the Capital City.
in July inaugurated seven new ‘cities’ by elevating former municipalities of
Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Jinja, Masaka, Mbarara, and Fort Portal to city status
partly to decongest Kampala.
However, the elevation of those municipalities and others in offing into cities continues
to generate debate. Some critics say elevation of several municipalities as Uganda heads to the elections could be part of political gerrymandering
for the benefit of the ruling National Resistance Movement- NRM party.
urban planner and surveyor, Livingstone Okello Okello acknowledges that
Gulu, Masaka and Mbale which had been municipalities for many decades probably deserved
the elevation to city status. He is of the view that elevating many municipalities to city status was probably rushed.
“What happened in this county, giving so
many cities at ago gives a wrong impression that these are political cities. Kenya
has got three cities. And Kenya is much bigger than Uganda. But be that as it
may, I think people would like to have cities. How they come it doesn’t matter.
I think that aspect painted a wrong picture that we are doing politics with
cities” said Okello Okello.
But he hastens to add; spaces
for wider roads and management of garbage and sewerage waste will be key as the cities are rebuilt. According
to Okello Okello, the seven Ugandan cities incorporated at the beginning of
July have to embark on planning as an immediate challenge.
//Cue in “I think the key...
Cue out...So planning is key.”//
His challenge comes at the celebration of World Cities Day, marked annually on October 31 to recognize
the significance of urban basic services as a foundation for the overall social
and economic development. The Day also ties into the Sustainable Development
(SDGs), with Goal
aiming to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient
Kenya has three cities including the capital and the largest city, Nairobi, the
second largest and the coastal city
of Mombasa, and the third-largest and inland port city of Kisumu.
Nakuru, Kenya’s third-largest urban authority
where global World Cities day 2020 is being commemorated is yet to attain the city
on the other hand, has six cities including Dodoma which was incorporated by President
John Magufuli in 2018.
says the new cities need to develop what he called structural and detailed
plans. He says plans should detail the land use aspects.
Okello says most of the social and environmental problems that Kampala faces today are because most it is not planned.
//Cue in; “Unfortunately in Kampala...
Cue out; then
don’t do it.”//
to a 2015 World Bank Report on Kampala, the capital city continues to experience significant urban and
economic growth, informal development in unplanned areas has put a strain on
its natural environment and is eroding the vital ecosystem services it provides.
is estimated that 40 per cent of Kampala’s population lives in informal settlements
predominately developed near wetlands throughout the city, without basic
infrastructure such as water services, storm drainage, sewage treatment and
solid waste collection.
Okello-Okello's concern comes at the time when Twaweza’s Sauti Zawanainchi survey report
indicating that pit latrines continue to be widely used in Uganda.
The survey conducted between July and August 2020 found that
flush toilets are used by just 1 per cent of the country’s population. It showed
that even in urban areas, only 3 per cent of the population had access to flush
According to the Sauti ZaWanainchi study, citizens
report that the most widely used form of toilet in Uganda is the pit latrine
with a slab (66 per cent), followed by ventilated pit latrines (15 per cent) and pit latrines
without a slab (15 per cent).
A 2018 Urban Informality and Vulnerability: “A Case Study
in Kampala” found that only 7 per cent of the population in Kampala
is served by a sewer system. It said low sewer coverage is predicted to
continue for decades as a citywide sewer system is neither affordable nor
feasible. Majority of planned sanitation in Kampala takes the form of poor quality septic tanks
that frequently leak into groundwater.
Okello-Okello, the former Chua county MP says little may have changed in terms of sewerage,
garbage and generally human waste management. He urges the new cities to learn
from the emerging global best practices in terms of sewerage waste.
//Cue in; “Septic tanks are...
Out…everything goes there.”//
This years' World Cities Day is the seventh global celebration since it was launched in 2014 in Shanghai, China. The 2020 World Cities Day
themed ‘Valuing our communities and cities’ underlines the importance of
the local communities who are at the heart of building sustainable