- UGANDA APPROVES 15 NEW CITIES
- FORT PORTAL STARTS JULY 1ST 2020
- KRC ORGANISES SERIES OF EXPLOSIVE ZOOM DEBATES AMIDST THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
By John Murungi Amooti
The hitherto quiet KRC Resource Room buzzed into life, as a few masked KRC staff and stakeholders took their seats. The precision with which the safety measures were being observed was as meticulous –as the new direction KRC is taking in shaping public debate to build civic competence. The participants were coming to attend a debate on the creation of Fort Portal City –one of the newly created cities in Uganda.
The civic awareness public debate was organized by Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC-Uganda) in partnership With Fort Portal Municipality and Kabarole District Leadership under the theme “Envisioning an Inclusive, Resilient and Sustainable City”. Rev Fr. Kabura moderated the debate and was assisted by Mrs Monica Rubombora
Save for a selected panel that sat in the KRC Resource Room, the rest of the participants followed and participated through zoom technology, and the debate was live-streamed on VOT FM and KRC FM as well as on twitter and Facebook social platforms with a toll free line that was used to receive feedback and suggestions from the viewers and listeners. The debate had participation of over 3000 people that included leaders, citizens, farmers, business community and the private sector from the Rwenzori region and neighboring districts as well as the entire country and diaspora –whose views will form an integral part of the development process for the new Fort portal tourism city.
Almost all the participants agreed that they needed a city that is well informed by strategic planning in respect of shared values for nature, culture and social inclusion.
In his opening remarks, Fr. Dr. Pascal Kabura called upon the participants to strive for a Fort portal Tourism city, whose future and success was dependent on the quality of leadership, defined by a shared vision
While giving his keynote address, the Fort Portal Municipality MP, Hon.Alex Ruhunda, re-iterated Fr Dr Kabura’s call for a shared vision, and allocation of resources into priority service delivery and investment areas identified by the people. Hon Ruhunda, whose maiden campaign edifice in 2010 was hinged on the elevation of Fort Portal into a city –with his slogan of ‘Nikisoboka’(its possible), stressed the need for strengthened public private partnership, to foster high level innovations and demand driven technologies for productions of essential goods and services required in the tourism city.
The current Fort Portal Mayor, Reverend Kintu Willy Muhanga Highlighted four things, which included; the development of the master plan for the city, managing performance of policy makers, community engagement, where central government allows the created cities to manage their own collected revenues and be used to develop deferent sectors in the city. Finally, the Mayor appealed to the leaders to be accountable to the people they are leading.
Hon. Richard Rwabuhinga LC5 Kabarole district told the participants that he was very happy to have superintended the birth of a city, which was curved out of a district he heads. He expressed optimism that the city will enhance service delivery through increased budget, for improved livelihood.
The oratory politician also noted that the newly created city was for the whole region and therefore Kabarole Physical development plan that is in place would help to build on a well-planned city.
Hon. Rwabuhinga further noted that the service sectors within the rural Kabarole including the farmers , Hotels, Mountain climbers and other sectors would help in the building of fort portal tourism city
The CEO of the Kabarole based Private Sector and Consultancy Center(PRICON) Mr Paul Kasande noted that in order for the local people to benefit from the city they needed to have income generation activities , employment avenues and the development of the people should harness SMEs and access to affordable finance.
Former Kabarole Woman MP and current KRC Board Chairperson, Hon. Beatrice Kiraso noted that there was need for clear headed leadership encapsulating the tenets of good governance. She called for ‘tested and trusted leadership. The brazen spoken Kiraso had no kind words for mediocre leaders, and she pledged to offer voluntary leadership training (Hon Kiraso is a Harvard graduate in governance and leadership) to the leaders if they so requested. She further noted that in other developed countries they leadership institutes to train and mentor competent leaders and therefore a well- trained leadership structure is very pivotal in the city development.
Mr. Muzinduki Patrick Head of Governance Policy and Advocacy Unit of KRC noted that there was need for collective voice , inclusiveness , resilient and sustainable policy frame work well known , documented and implemented framework, which was important for a growing city.
Mr. Muzinduki was also the main organizer, also put emphasis on the need for a well- planned city that should have a physical plan, resource mobilization plan, Natural resource plan, and health plan
Mr. Mohammad Ahmed Sharif the Acting Executive Director, KRC, further buttressed the need for supporting the protection of indigenous food diets in the new city. He also noted that there was need to preserve water management in order to manage traditional farms within the city – and this would help in the production of food on smaller farms within the city.
There was also a presentation of Mr. Samuel Musana- Senior Physical Planner Fort Portal Municipality who pushed for the need for well-planned and demarcated city in terms of good infrastructures, residential, a city free from Carbon emissions and a city that is congestion free.
There were other participants who had been following the debate on zoom and other media channels. These included inter alia; Sr Maria Gorret, based in Kampala who noted that sensitization of the community was very key to the development of the new city
Mr. Malingo, the proprietor of St Jude Primary School Kyegobe, who called for clean and good leadership to help build a great city
Araali Bingi, based in the USA, but a resident of Bukwali, noted that there was need to look at Fort portal tourism city for the next 100 years to avoid short term plans. He called upon the leadership to include all the people especially those who had Fort Portal at heart.
Another participant, Albert Bakasara, also zooming in from the USA, but a resident of Kitumba Nyakagongo, noted that as the city was being built there was need to be original and avoid copy and paste. He called for focus on the unique futures of Tooro, unique culture ‘ Amakune ga Tooro’ – something that will attract people across the world
The debate had other several contributors, but they all majorly called for a multi-stakeholder approach towards development of a new and beautiful tourism city
Both Father Kabura and Mrs Rubombora, in their concluding remarks noted that there was need for inclusive ideology, information sharing amongst stakeholders, documenting , refining the city vision, formation of the city thing tank for incubating ideas for civilized leaders and given to the city planners.
The new cities that were recently passed by the Uganda Parliament as follows
Effective 1st July 2020
✔Fort Portal City
July 1, 2021
July 1, 2022
☑Entebbe and Lira Cities
July 1, 2023
☑ Moroto, Nakasongola, Soroti, Kabale and Wakiso Cities
Meanwhile, there have been subsequent debates on the Fort Portal City and their key outcomes are –as hereunder encapsulated
The debate had various actions as hereunder stated
- An inclusive and sustainable city
- A city that is well planned. Guided and driven by a clear policy framework
- A city driven by values of good governance ,accountability, and transparency
- A city that appreciates diversity and promotes co-existence
- A city with developed bio-diversity, eco-system, and sustainable food systems
- A city that manages its carbon food print and utilizes natural resources equitably
- An economically independent city
- A unique city –and not just a copy cat
- Conduct weekly public debates till July 2020
In a related development, KRC also conducted a second debate where the panel comprised Hon Richard Rwabuhinga, Mayor Muhanga Kintu Willy and planner Samuel Musana. The debate focused on the political structure
The debate also had a number of resolutions
- Hon Alex Ruhunda, tasked to follow-up with the ministry
- Liaise with Ministry of urban planning to come with the Fort Portal City plan
- Put in place a transitional team
- All civil servants in the current Fort Portal municipal council to be taken up by the city council authority
- Create awareness among the communities on the newly created tourism city
As hilarious as all exciting ventures come, KRC and the planners of the new city organized a Third explosive debate where tenacious entrepreneurs like Patrick Bitatule, the budding businessman behind the famed Simba Telecom and the pioneer private airliner Captain Tonny Rubombora.
Key outcomes included;
Key issues from the 3rd Debate on Fort Portal Tourism City
- Establishment of a Think Tank to help incubate ideas and promote the Tourism City . The presenters at the Third debate suggested to form the core team of the Think Tank
- Establishment of a Leisure and Hospitality Training School
- Establishment of an International Airport
- Involvement of all stakeholders-including the local communities
- Set up a Fort Portal Tourism City Development Fund
- Use the beauty of Tooro to become the best city in Uganda. The enormous tourism potential –Crater lakes, Natural forests, the great landscape
- The government had put 1 trillion funds to be accessed for local investment
- As people of Tooro, we should use our own available means and resources
- Clear vision must be accompanied by a master plan.Master plan built by people of all walks of life –Politicians will come ad go but the master plan must outlive us all
- Address our weaknesses –Lack of unity –and not united in purpose.’ Ntamuhira’
- The Batooro in the diaspora should not dictate –but the people on the ground should take lead in the building of the city
- Build the city beyond 8 kilometers diameter beyond 8 kilometers
- Build a city while cognizant of the population pressure. Plan our city properly to avoid slums
- Come up with a local grading system of local hotel
- Share information and opportunities available in Tooro
- Plan to attract local tourism
- Be able to train the local people to be at the forefront of the development agenda
- Support communities to increase production –and how to market them
- Fighting corruption as a prerequisite
- Fort Portal tourism city master plan
- Issue of security should be given first priority
- Unity is our strength