Government has approved city statuses of both Masaka and Mbale municipalities.
Masaka and Mbale alongside Mbarara, Gulu, Fort Portal, Jinja and Arua, are now the seven cities that will have two city divisions equivalent to a municipality for easy administration and coordination.
Masaka was among the 15 municipalities approved as regional cities but in April this year, it was excluded in the first lot, which is scheduled to start operations in July 2020.
This forced the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Mutebe II together with Buganda politicians to raise their concerns on why Cabinet left out Masaka while approving other cities.
Kabaka Mutebi wondered why Masaka town, which has all it takes to become a city, wasn’t considered among the first five approved new cities and rather postpone its operationalisation of Masaka Municipality as a city until 2023.
“We are really wondering why our town, Masaka, which has all the requirements to become a city, was not considered among the first new cities. When I get time, I will look for experts in urban planning to tell me why this was done like this because for me, I have failed to understand it” said Kabaka Mutebi in June this year.
However, on Tuesday, while addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre the State Minister of Local government Jennifer Namuyangu said although both cities were left out in the first lot, the stakeholders from both proposed cities and expressed readiness for them to become operational with effect from July 2020.
“The Ministry found the requests acceptable and presented to Cabinet a memorandum for the revision of the phasing as follows; First seven cities including Arua, Mbarara, Gulu, Fort Portal, Jinja, Mbale and Masaka,” she said.
She added that Uganda’s Vision 2040 envisages an urbanised Uganda, an ambitious plan that seeks to elevate it to middle-income status.
“There is no doubt that the future of Uganda’s growth will continue to lie in new cities which will be strategic and regional,” said Namuyangu.
She confirmed that the cabinet approved the operationalisation of Mbale and Masaka Cities to take effect in Financial Year 2020/2021.
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