MPs accused of failing Masaka’s quest for city status

Masaka district’s quest for a city status faces yet another hurdle as Members of Parliament oppose the idea of annexing part of their constituencies to the proposed city.

In June this year, Local Government Minister Tom Butime rescinded an earlier decision to delay the approval of Masaka municipality’s request for a city status up to 2023/2024 after the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, added his voice to calls to elevate Masaka to a city status.

The minister resolved to fast-track the process of granting Masaka municipality a city status which would then come into effect in the 2020/2021 financial year.

This, however, would only happen after meeting preconditions that included annexing of the neighbouring sub-counties to attract the required population of at least 300,000 people and a land size of 100 square kilometres.

The greater Masaka districts leaders’ led by their consortium president who is also Masaka LCV chairperson, Jude Mbabali resolved to annex the sub-counties of Kingo in Lwengo district and part of Kalungu district to Masaka municipality in order to meet the requirements.

However, area MPs Hajji Muyanja Mbabali, Florence Namayanja and Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu have opposed the move blowing a sharp misunderstanding with the architects of the idea.

Mbabali said that although the consortium had convinced the leadership of the two sub-counties to join the proposed Masaka city, these have backtracked on their resolutions after they were rebuked by the MPs for taking decisions that affect their political clout.

Mbabali confirmed that the two sub-counties have since withheld their council minutes agreeing to join Masaka, so further frustrating the process of meeting the requirements as set by the Ministry of Local Government.

Last week, some politicians from the greater Masaka sub-region met and resolved not to annex Kalungu and Kingo sub-counties to Masaka for purposes of creating a city but instead ask the Ministry of Local Government to limit the proposed city within the current boundaries of Masaka district.

Bukoto South MP, Muyanja Mbabali, one of those accused of frustrating the process has blamed the architects of the idea of rushing it without dully consulting the stakeholders some of whom could be having reservations about it.

He, however, denies allegations of manipulating councillors in Lwengo to fail the process of generating the required council minutes.