Forty five-year-old Sarah Nsangi, is a resident
of Katanga Kimwanyi zone in Wandegeya Market in Kawempe division in Kampala
metropolitan area. She has been part of tens of hundreds of residents of this
area now counting over 30 years.
also runs a shop with a colleague who is a tailor while she makes books. When
URN visited her, Nsangi was rushing out fearing that the rain could start before
she could reach home.
biggest fear though was safety for she said electricity supply had been cut off
due to illegal connections and thieves were using the opportunity to break into
houses and snatch resident’s property.
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Kimwanyi is one of the Kampala slums. According
to UN-HABITAT, a slum household is a group of
individuals living under the same roof in an urban area who lack durable
housing of a permanent nature that protects against extreme climate conditions
and sufficient living space which means not more than three people sharing the
Others include lack of
access to safe water in sufficient amounts at an
affordable price, adequate sanitation in the form of a private or public toilet
shared by a reasonable number of people and security of tenure that prevents
by this standard, several areas in Bwaise, Namuwongo, Kisenyi, Kifumbira
Kamwokya and Katanga in Kampala constitute a slum. Apart from insecurity, the
housing in slum areas is poor. The houses are congested and sub-standard.
has to squeeze through corridors to find their way through while strangers can
easily lose their way. Nsangi says the small houses are cheap and affordable for
low income earners. Depending on the size and quality of house and the landlord,
one can acquire a house from as low as Shillings 30.000 a month.
These houses usually lack utility supplies like
water and electricity. Some don’t have toilets or latrines contrary to the
Public Health Act of 1935 that requires that every new building have a
provision for latrines before local authorities approve a plan for its
wishes that government works out a plan to develop the slum to improve the
standards of living of slum dwellers. She has no plans to leave the area citing
its proximity to the city center, which eases access to facilities in the city.
//Cue in: "Embeera yamayumba...
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Ahimbisibwe, the Katanga Kimwanyi zone Secretary is concerned that the
residents are exposed to diseases due to the poor sanitation. The poor access
of the area also worries Ahimbisibwe.
however, blames the development of slums on poor planning by government.
says government through Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA as an urban
authority watch while buildings emerge in contravention of physical planning
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The State Minister for Housing, Isaac Musumba
says government has plans of developing slums but still faces challenges of
multiple interests on land.
these areas, you find the owner of the land, owner of the structure and tenant
as different people,” he said. Musumba says this possess a challenge to
government as they would need to engage all stakeholders something that slows
He however says government has started an
initiative in Katwe and is engaging with stakeholders to see how they can
develop the slums.
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Sam Mukasa-Kintu a retired Urban Planner, says government
needs to draft a comprehensive plan to acquire land in slums and developed
them. He says with proper planning government can find resources from donors to
compensate residents and landlords in slums such that they can developed them.
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Amanda Ngabirano, an Urban Planner and lecturer
at Makerere University also says government needs a comprehensive urban plan to
deal with slums. She says government needs to dictate land use and implement
guidelines on urban development.
Ngabirano says government should establish
affordable housing for slum dwellers. This she says is achievable if government
draws a clear long term plan and influences people to appreciate shared housing
rather than live in single ownership houses that are in a sorry state.
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Government has attempted to establish what it
referred to as low cost housing. National Housing and Construction Company-NHCC
has set up hundreds of housing units in Kampala for instance the Namungoona
has also worked with private companies like Admas Construction Company that
constructed housing units along Lake Drive in Luzira. The project has however
have been criticized for not serving its goal.
The Namungoona units were priced
at Shillings 300 million while those in Luzira cost Shillings 630 million,
which is way above the reach of slum dwellers.
Vincent Agaba, a real estate agent, says that
while provision of cheap and affordable housing is one of the measures to
eradicate slums, there is need to address factors that influence the prices of houses.
For instance, he says government should work
with private companies willing to invest long term in housing and slum
development projects. The investment could involve setting up houses that
people would pay for progressively over a longer period of time.
adds that financial institutions should be persuaded into providing cheap
mortgages such that low income earners can also invest in housing.
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According to the Uganda National Housing policy
2016, the overall housing situation in the country is characterized by
inadequate housing in terms of quality and quantity both in rural and urban
areas with a housing deficit of about 1.6 million housing units, out of which
210,000 units are needed in the urban areas. An estimated 900,000 housing units
are sub-standard and need replacement or upgrading.
Uganda is one of Africa’s most rapidly
urbanizing countries, with a population base estimated at about 43
million, a high population growth rate of 3.2% and a high rate of urban
growth estimated at over 5% per annum. Over 20 million of Uganda’s population
live in urban areas. Growth in urban population has given birth to a
number of slums.