Leaders Struggling to Integrate New Communities into Masaka City Administration

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Leaders in areas that were annexed to Masaka City are struggling to integrate their communities into the new urban local government systems. To qualify for elevation to city status, the former Masaka Municipal council was required to extend its boundaries into the neighbouring Kalungu and Lwengo districts.

Apparently, the leaders in Kasanje, Kibisi, and Kirowooza parishes that were formerly part of Kalungu district indicate that despite the excitement and high expectation the residents got on their addition to the city, they are struggling hard to conform to the demands of the new government structure.

Martin Ssali, the Kasanje ward councillor to Nyendo-Mukugwe City division says many of his constituents are already regretting some of the unforeseen demands by the new city administration, arguing that these are presenting unprecedented cost implications to residents.

Ssali indicates that the absorbed parishes were geographically located at the edges of the mother districts, and as a result, communities were typically rural with barely any qualities of urbanization that have suddenly become a requirement.

He says that in addition to the compulsory requirement of paying for building plans, the residents are also bemoaning the new direct taxes that are imposed on them. Recently, the Masaka City Council revised its tax rates for trading licenses and tendered the collection of ground and property taxes to maximize their revenue collections.

The arrangement according to Ssali is strange to the residents in the area who are already decrying the direct cost implication it presents to them.

Josephine Nassanga, a councillor for Kibisi ward, observes that a needs to vigorously carry out sensitization in the new communities to make them appreciate their obligations under the urban authority.

She indicates the communities are so demanding of improved services deserving of a city yet they are still hesitant to meet their tax obligations.

Michael Mulindwa, the Nyendo-Mukungwe Division Chairperson says they are mindful of the challenges of the slow pace at which the communities are adapting to the new demands of the city, however indicating that they have embarked on community sensitization exercises to make them appreciate the realities of the new system.

He says the enforcement of some of the city policies is still lenient to the new communities to allow them gradually integrate and match up to the demands of an urban authority.

SOURCE:URN

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