By Ojok Robert Mone

There is fear among some dwellers in the suburbs of the proposed Gulu City. The residents especially those living the areas targeted for annexation to the upcoming city are worried losing their pieces of land to rich individuals and investors. However, they have been urged to remain calm. Gulu district chairperson Martin Ojara Mapenduzi is calling for calmness by the residents saying Gulu City should be for the benefits of the residents.

An aerial view of some of the newly constructed roads in Gulu town

Ojara was addressing political leaders of all the areas earmarked to form the city at the district council hall. “Some people think when the city comes, they are going to lose their land while others fear displacement. Others say they have no money and cannot build the way the city wants. It’s a perception and so we need to get out and educate the people. The city is not coming to displace the people”, Ojara assures the people, and adds that, “Some people now in the areas of Layik and others are selling off their land that ‘we cannot stay in the city, we have to go to the villages’. You don’t have to sell your land and run to the village”, you only need to take advantage of the city’s coming”.    

An aerial view of Gulu Modern Market (Photo credit: The Observer)

The residents occupying areas in Gulu district and parts the neighboring Omoro district shall become part of the city, come July 2020. William Ocitti, the LC3 chairperson of Ongako sub-county in Omoro district where some parishes shall be annexed to the city wants the boundary demarcation to be done clearly to avoid conflicts among the people. Thomas Raymond Opira, the chairperson of Pabbo Quarters in Layibi division has high expectations but with some reservations. “Any developed area comes with challenges. That depends on how we shall manage it. As leaders, we shall talk to the people and ensure that those challenges are managed” says Opira.

Ring road during a rainy night

Geoffrey Oceng the NRM media officer explains that planning is key. “Planning for the city is just starting. That is why all these stakeholders are being called upon to get involved. Our mindsets should now begin to think about the city so that we can have the best city in Uganda”, says Oceng.

According to the President of Gulu Municipal Development Forum, George Aligec Lapir reiterates the importance involvement of all the stakeholders. “We are going to involve the whole society, leaders and all the rest within municipal and the city that is coming. That is the only way to go. The society has to own all the properties and be part and parcel of the development so that we move together” explains Aligec.

One of the roads constructed under USMID

Gulu is among the proposed seven regional cities across the country that shall be operational comes July next years. The certificate of financial implication has already been issued by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. In May this year, cabinet approved the creation of Gulu and nine other municipalities that include Arua, Mbale, Fort Portal, and Mbarara to become regional cities beginning July 1, 2020. Hoima, Lira and Jinja will be operational in July 2021. The Vision 2040 recommendation to create the new cities is to de-congest Kampala, Uganda’s only city to increase revenue and scale up employment opportunities for the citizens. End

Other pictures showing buildings in present-day Gulu town

A faculty at government-owned Gulu University

Hotel Free Zone at the heart of Gulu town

Front view of Bomah Hotel Limited-Gulu

Swimming pool at Bomah Hotel Limited

Acholi Inn Hotel, one of the oldest in Gulu

Hotel Pearl Afrique

Gulu district administration offices