At least 313 members of parliament have passed a resolution to create 15 new cities across Uganda.
Out of the 15 approved cities, seven will start operating this year 2020 and these include Mbarara, Jinja, Fort Portal, Arua, Gulu Mbale, and Masaka. In the second phase of implementation from July 2021, three more cities will be brought on board and these are Hoima, Lira, and Soroti.
The third phase will have Entebbe in July 2022 and Wakiso, Nakasongola , Moroto and Kabale are set to become cities in July 2023. There is marked excitement about the creation of new cities because of the anticipated benefits that come along with living in a city.
The new cities will have two divisions each apart from Kampala which will have three divisions down from the current five. This means that each division will have one MP plus one seat for a woman member of parliament.
Many of the approved cities have also benefited from the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) Program which has been running since 2013.
Development experts have called for a change in the mind-set of the leaders understand that running a city is a lot more costly and rigorous than running a Municipality; city life is fast and cities are open to all including investors, the youths many of whom are in search of jobs .
Under the USMID program, the 5 municipalities of Arua, Fort Portal, Gulu, Jinja and Fort Portal which have been elevated to city status have received about 187 billion Uganda shillings combined between 2014 – 2018 for both infrastructure development and institutional capacity strengthening.
As a result there are obvious visible improvements in infrastructure especially rehabilitated roads, street lighting and urban greening.