- In most Ugandan towns, people do not live where they work.
- However, most of Kayanja’s residents are employed in the town.
On the Kampala-Jinja High Way, is a fast growing suburb called Kayanja.
Kayanja is 27km away from Kampala. When you are driving from Kampala, Kayanja is the town after Namataba Town in Mukono District. Immediately after Kanyanja is Namagunga Trading Centre where one of Uganda’s topschools, Mt. St. Marys Namagunga is located.
Kayanja’s predominant green cover is one of the reasons many people are occupying the place for both residential and commercial purposes.
Charlie Kateregga Ntumwa, the LC 1 chairman of Kayanja, and a resident of this place since childhood, says back in the day, the lower part of Kayanja was gifted with sand.
He says majority of the reisents used to mine this sand for commercial activities, which created a number of ditches and water gradually started filling these ditches.
Kateregga says this gave way to small water bodies, which the residents referred to as akayanja (small lake) hence the name Kayanja.
Cost of land
According to Kateregga, in the 1950s, land used to go for as little as Shs1, 000.
He notes that then, land was still being sold in bibanja (untitled land) and it was in mailo land system. Land started appreciating in 1986 when security in the country started stabilising. During this time, a 50 by 100 plot of land would go for Shs300, 000.
Currently, Kateregga says a 50 by 100 ranges between Shs10m and Shs15m. He says the cost multiplied tremendously because the place is next to a high way with good transport and electricity.
“It is easy for people to connect to either Kampala or Jinja since we are located on a high way, we also have feeder roads that connect to several areas like Seeta and others that connect to Nagojje,” he observes.
He also notes that the area’s proximity to Mt St Mary’s Namagunga, one of the best girls’ schools in the country, has attracted many people to settle in Kayanja, especially the employees of Namagunga Parish and the school.
Davies Lukyamuzi, the district councillor for Nagojje Sub-County, where Kayanja falls, says the area has a number of economic activities.
He says the soil in this area is very fertile because of River Ssezibwa, thus favouring Agriculture.
He explains that there are a number of estates such as Kiriti Tea estate, Ssezibwa Sugar miles and there is also a beer camp.
Lukyamuzi says these estates have employed a big percentage of the people in the area hence reducing on unemployment rates in the area.
“If you come during working hours in Kayanja Town, you will notice that the place is quiet and empty. This is because many of the residents are employed in the nearby surrounding companies,” he notes.
Apart from working in the estates, Kateregga notes that some residents practice subsistence farming.
He says on Saturday, people always take their food to the weekly market.
“Our market is always on every Saturday and people always put their goods on sale, this helps the farmers to get market for their products and it also makes it possible for those who don’t have food to buy from the market,” he notes.
Brenda Namubiru, a resident of the area, says though Kayanja is developing very fast, they lack a health facility.
She observes that this is one of the major challenges that the area is faced with.
She adds that there are a number of accidents that occur in the area because of the sharp corner on the road but victims of these accidents are always rushed to Kawolo Hospital which is far.
The long distance
She also says when there is a government community health sensitisation programme, residents have to travel to Kawolo Hospital or Mukono Health centre IV, which is inconveniencing.
“We ask government to consider our area and give us a health facility, this will help us not to always look for means of transport to take us to Kawolo or Mukono in case of an emergency,” she notes.
Lukyamuzi says they formed security committees, which help patrol in the night. He adds that the community also pays a monthly fee to security guards. This has helped curb crime, especially robbery in the area.
He adds that they also hold monthly security meetings which they hold every month, at which they register new members in the area. This registration, he notes plays a big role in neighbourhood watch.