- Forget the many surburbs in the city with hardly enough space for the main road, every structure put up in Kalisizo has to adhere to strict council regulations, leaving provision for paths between houses.
Kalisizo town lies on the main highway between Masaka and Mutukula, the town at Uganda’s border with Tanzania.
The town which has a population of about 15,000 people, is located approximately 29 kilometres by road, southwest of Masaka town.
Its name, as Sunday Richard Ntambazi, the Kalisizo Town Council chairperson, shares, emerged after grazers referred to the area as ‘Kalisizo’ meaning the only place with pasture.
“Drought used to hit areas and pasture was only left in this place. Grazers then branded it as Kalisizo because it was the only place where they grazed their cattle,” Ntambazi explains.
Dan Tukundane, the Kalisizo Town Council senior assistant town clerk, says the area grew into a business hub because of its proximity to the border. “It acted as a store for traders who smuggled goods from Tanzania and this [ironically] contributed to its development,” Tukundane shares.
In 2003, Kalisizo was turned into a town council after being a town board for 59 years.
Tukundane says the maiden town council leaders thought it wise to have a detailed physical plan.
“The plan which we follow up to now, allocated areas for business, residential and schools and they make sure that it is respected because we want Kalisizo to be Uganda’s model town,” Tukundane says.
This, as Ntambazi notes, followed lessons learnt from Kyotera, a neighbouring town they believed had challenges such as congestion and occasional fire outbreaks because of poor planning.
And indeed when one traverses Kalisizo, you easily notice that the town whose vision is, “A town fully planned and developed, accessing quality services’ is walking the talk.
Kalisizo has more than 10 tarmacked roads with good drainage channels.
All the buildings along these roads are noticeably a good distance away from the road reserve.
Tukundane says this was intended to give packing space for cars offloading goods and for water pipes and telecommunication wires in case a need arose.
There is space every after two buildings, which residents use as shortcuts to connect to different streets.
He adds that this also helps to mitigate fire outbreaks, saying in case an outbreak, it is hard for fire to catch another building.
Asked how landlords comply with this, Tukundane says: “no one is given a building plan without confirming that there is a five feet gap left between buildings”
The people of Kalisizo are farmers who earn big from coffee and other related agriculture products.
According to Mathew Sebuwuufu, who hails from Kalisizo, people travel to the area to get different goods and services from Kalisizo Town. “This has seen traders get ready market for their enterprises”.
He says besides shops, other businesses such as entertainment centres, and schools are also booming.
There are several coffee factories and a fish processing factory.
Health and education
Health care is at its peak, the town has two hospitals; one is private, and Kalisizo General Hospital.
Besides these, there are a range of private clinics and pharmacies where financially able natives go for services.
The town has 24 primary schools, with five being private. Seven secondary schools, including Christ the King Kalisizo, one of the oldest girls’ schools in Uganda.
Jessica Kasumba, the clerk to council, who is also in charge of schools, says the town is yet to have a technical school, but has Kasolo Foundation, a skilling centre established by Haruna Kasolo, the area Member of Parliament, who is also state Minister for Micro Finance.
The town depends on tapped water distributed by National water and Sewerage corporation.
To fight water scarcity, which worsens during dry season, the town built reservoirs.
There are also two wells in Namagoma forest reserve and Bwasa swamp.
Hotel and accommodation
The area has two hotels with Nabisere being the best.
Besides these, are number guest houses and gardens with more being under construction. The charges vary but for Nabisere a night goes for Shs100, 000.
Cost of land
In the business centre, a 50 by 100 ft plot of land goes for Shs20m,and outside the centre where many have put up residential houses, the cost of the same plot is between Shs5m and Shs10m depending on the distance from town. To prevent fraud, Ntambazi says only registered property dealers/brokers are allowed to conduct this traders. Leaders warn that one should not go for cheap land because it normally comes with a lot of disputes. To maintain the town’s vision, land owners are not allowed to sell plots below 50 by 100 feet.
Ntambazi also advises buyers to first consult town council officials because they might buy land in areas where the council intends to pass a road.
Ntambazi says garbage littering is a big problem in this area as residents do not use allocated garbage bins.
He adds that tax avoidance is another challenge because many traders do not want to pay tax.
Besides these, Ntamazi says they could do with more police officers as the population keeps growing yet they only have a handful of officers to fight crime in the area.
The crime rate is very low, as Innocent Tusiime, the officer in Charge of Kalisizo police station shares.
He says most of the few registered crimes are related to domestic violence, specifically wife battering and fathers neglecting their parental responsibilities. Other cases, he says relate to witchcraft accusations. “I have noted that there is a lot of superstition in this area,” Tusiime says.
Although they used to be common, Tusiime notes that cases of theft are now very minimal. “This is mainly attributed to our intensive night patrol and community policing,” Tusiime shares.