Mayor faults gov’t over Jinja city status drag

jinja mayor

FURIOUS: the Mayor of Jinja Municipality, Muhammad Baswale Kezaala is frustrated the NRM government cant grant his town a city status

The Mayor of Jinja Municipal Council Mr. Muhammad Baswale Kezaala, has accused the NRM government for failure to grant the eastern town a city status.

Kezaala said nine years down the road, Jinja, which pioneered the agitation for city status in 2006, is still a municipality despite meeting the requisite conditions.

The mayor added the municipality petitioned then local government minister Mr Kahinda Otafiire after neighbouring sub-county councils like Mafubira, Kakira, and Budondo submitted their request to become divisions of Jinja, to boost the municiplaty’s city status drive.

“ Instead the government decided to turn part of Kakira and Bugembe into Town Councils while leaving the rest of Mafubira and parts Kakira under Jinja rural, typical of well calculated and deliberate diversion,” the Mayor asserts.

Mr. Kezaala, a Democratic Party (DP) stalwart, says it is possible the NRM government is delaying the whole process because he belongs to the opposition.
Jinja town, about 80kms to the east of the capital Kampala, was once the country’s industrial hub, and one of the three biggest towns, the others being Kampala and Mbale.

The Mayor also blames the current Minister of Local Government Adolf Mwesige, saying he has failed to appreciate the Municipality’s bid to attain city status.

“Right now the current local government minister (Mwesige) is justifying his intentions of granting Mbarara city status before Jinja; the minister is blaming us for not planning for Jinja to attain city status, something we did way back in 2006 and they chose not to respond,” he says adding that the government has paid lip service to the development of the centre of Busoga region because it is led by opposition.

“We are only fortunate that the population is industrious and Jinja is developing naturally coupled with our leadership,” the Mayor says

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Jinja Municipality headquarters

 

However, in an interview, the Jinja Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Richard Gulume Balyaino, said the government is committed to granting Jinja city status but that the requisite modalities have not been put into place.
Citing poor infrastructure, the RDC advised the Mayor and his team to establish plans to enable Jinja acquire city status.
The debate over the clamour for Jinja city status has several times hit boiling levels, with the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, herself a daughter of Busoga, recently threatening to block any other city status acquisition before Jinja is approved.
Other towns seeking city status include Mbarara (West), Arua (North West) Gulu (North) and Mbale (East).