MBARARA – Mbarara residents, leaders at the weekend celebrated the launch of the new city in a colourful event held at Lake View Resort Hotel.
In his address, the Minister of Local Government, Hon. Raphael Magyezi pointed out the need for competitiveness, inclusiveness, resilience and sustainability of the City.
He said Mbarara was given City status because it deserved it. He noted that the growth of Mbarara is unstoppable and pointed out improvement in education, health, transport, housing and other amenities which are all indicators of growth.
He said it is his duty to offer guidance as regards to governance of the institutions and pledged government support in this new journey of the City.
After speeches at 2:20 PM, Mr Kakyebezi was dressed in a black gown and sat on a chair, symbolizing that he has assumed the role of (Interim) Mbarara City Mayor.
Mr Magyezi presided over the installation. He handed to Mr Kakyebezi a booklet of the guidelines made by the ministry and asked him to use them alongside Local Governments Act and the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
“This is interim, he is simply caretaking, that’s why he has not been sworn-in,” Mr Magyezi said.
The City mayor will choose a deputy City Mayor and three secretaries from 59 councillors, including 10 that came from the district council.
Mr Magyezi announced that Kakiika, Biharwe, Kamukuzi, Kakoba Nyamitanga and Nyakayojo have ceased being divisions.
Instead, they have been rearranged into Mbarara North and Mbarara South Municipalities.
Kakiika becomes headquarters for Mbarara North and Nyamitanga for Mbarara South and their two leaders Mr Gumisiriza Kyabwisho and Mr Moses Kajubi respectively became Interim Municipal Mayors.
“We have considered centrality, availability of land for expansion and infrastructure,” Mr Magyezi said in reference to the two municipal headquarters.
Each will choose a deputy and three secretaries from the former two division chairpersons and councilors.
“We have created these cities so that people don’t have to go to Kampala for city services. We expect orderliness and a well-lit city,” Mr Magyezi said.
He added, “The cost of land will increase, and the population will increase. We are establishing this city to build inclusiveness.”
The population of Mbarara City is estimated at 250,000. Mr Magyezi said the city will use the budget for the (former) municipal council of Shs 43 billion while the two municipal councils will operate a budget of the respective merged divisions.
“By November, you should have made a development for the city. We shall keep giving you money from the centre,” Mr Magyezi said.
He warned the leadership of the city against increasing taxes and challenged them to adopt to modern practices of revenue collection. He also asked them against selling and leasing public property.
“Let’s as much as possible protect the public property,” Mr Magyezi said.
The city has inherited property of the district including the administration headquarters buildings. Mbarara City also inherited liabilities of Mbarara district whose headquarters are being shifted to Bwizibweera Town Council in Kashaari South Constituency.
Mr Kakyebezi urged his colleagues to put their differences a side. “I don’t want conflicts, let’s work together; I’m ready to ask for forgiveness from those I wronged and I expect you to do the same,” Mr Kakyebezi said.
Mbarara Town was founded in 1901, became a township in 1959, a municipality in 1974 and a city in 2020.