Top leaders in Bugisu sub region have revived calls for the elevation of Mbale municipality to a city status, saying it is high time the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM party government fulfills their long term request.
Mbale municipality passed a resolution for elevation to a city status on November 29, 2008. However, since then, nothing has been done.
Now, various leaders from their region have thrown their weight behind the push for a city status.
Ambassador Charles Walimbwa Peke, the former Manafwa district LC V Chairperson, says in addition to elevating Mbale municipality to a city, government should also elevate Sironko and Manafwa town councils to municipal status.
He explains that urbanization will help to resettle people in landslide prune areas and bring services closer to residents. Walimbwa, who is the current Manafwa district NRM Chairperson, says that while in Bugisu recently, president, Yoweri Museveni warned residents to desist from destroying forests, which he described as “undressing mother nature”, saying this can only be possible if people are resettled.
The population of Mbale Municipality is multi-ethnic comprising the Basoga, Bagwere, Baganda, Banyankole, Langis and Itesots, as well as the Indian Community and a semblance of Swahili people from Tanzania and the coast of Kenya. However, the majority are the Bamasaba ethnic group (the Bagisu).
According to the National Population and Housing Census 2014 provisional results, Mbale town is among the 20 largest urban Centres in the country in terms of population. It has been growing at the rate of 2.5 annually.
Currently the town is inhabitant to 96,190 while 10 years ago it was a resident for 71,130 people and a decade earlier it was a home for 53,990 people. This is how in terms of population the town has since changed, with the majority being in their youthful age.
The Local Government Act under Chapter 243 requires that a municipality seeking to gain a city status must have a population of 500,000 inhabitants although government recently revised it to 300,000 since it is hard for most towns to reach a population of 500,000 people currently.