Authorities in Masaka have initiated the construction of the district headquarters at Nkuke Village in Buwunga Sub-County, sparking protests from a section of local leaders. The contentious issue revolves around the location, with former Vice President Edward Ssekandi offering free land at Kyambazzi Village, Kyanamukaaka Sub-county, suggesting it would enhance accessibility to services.
The construction, which started with site grading last week, is expected to cost over Shs3.5 billion. More than Shs2 billion for the project will be raised by selling some of the district properties in the city, pending approval from the Ministry of Local Government.
District Chairperson Mr. Andrew Lukyamuzi Batemyetto and other leaders launched the project, emphasizing the new location’s improved accessibility for locals compared to the city. However, protests from some leaders, including Mr. Mudashiru Bbaale, a councillor representing Persons with Disabilities, claim fraudulent practices in the decision-making process and await a final decision from the Ministry of Local Government.
The Minister of Local Government, Mr. Raphael Magyezi, expressed unawareness of the construction and mentioned plans to seek a briefing from the district chairperson to determine the next course of action.
The relocation of the district headquarters has been a contentious issue since Masaka Municipality’s elevation to a city on July 1, 2020. While some leaders opposed the move, citing decentralization policy, others supported it. A previous petition alleged political influence in the decision to place the district headquarters at Nkuke, with tensions further exacerbated during a council sitting on January 27, 2022, where the majority favored Buwunga over Kyanamukaaka.