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*“With proper funding of Physical Planning activities, sustainable development can be achieved”*

Atypical Physical Planner wakes up with hundreds of mails, texts and missed calls from a wide range of developers across the town. Reads and responds to the mails and texts more often and hastens to attend routine meetings with various stakeholders in regards to proper development. The early morning calls to enforce illegal developers makes the greatest dissatisfaction of their longingly awaited jobs with corresponding field assaults, low budget facilitation and lack of life insurance.

Planning is such a field-based profession that brings more revenues to the city though it’s very unfortunate that less is injected back to support the activities of the Physical Planner. Surprisingly, the situation is worsened by the severe field starvation, longer walks, irritating developers and the ever-bouncing rays of the scorching sunlight that scuffles onto their dummy hairless ‘skulls’ as they maneuver through the towns.

The suffering Physical Planner uses his privately owned vehicle to traverse through the wicked urban and rural roads for routine inspections and never misses the garage at the weekend. To his dismay, there is an immense pressure exerted onto him by his superiors mounting from poor performance which asserts the lack of consciousness gained over time as he purchases his dream career.

The fact is, there has been adorably increased spending on medical care, defense and education but ultimate neglect sprinkled into Physical Planning operations. Moreover, Physical Planning has kept on the tongues of City leaders as a remedy to city wide challenges and hailing its ability to convey change irrespective of its underfunding and low budget.

However, when architects and engineers formerly initiated a “war” to uplift their fate, the government hastened to finance the National Building Review Board. This came with a gradual reduction in the funding of the National Physical Planning Board with deliberate fright that it could soon be added to the National Planning Authority during the next institutional reshuffle.

There is an accelerating phobia among legislators within the country that poor physical planning is affecting proper development and has taken the country into a land use tragedy. This prompted Hon. Isaac Musumba to promise to introduce the Urban Planning Police to help in dealing with urban challenges but hitherto, the tales have continued.

Selfishness has become a foundation stone for the community challenges faced where neither the rich nor the poor would rather remain with a completely unaccessed plot than cutting 5feets to open up a community road.

It is worse in towns that are politically impaired. The mayor and councilors always take it upon themselves to effect their interests using political power and hence jeopardizing the work of a local Physical Planner forgetting that it is only for a free and well facilitated Physical Planner that proper and orderly development can occur.

The struggle to implement decisions of a politically hungry leader who promised freedom and independence to the natives has left politicians beloved but verbal-some pillars of society that defies all means to proper development.

Conclusively, complaints about the quality of Physical Planners has been cracked by the enactment of the Physical Planners’ Registration Act 2022 with a clear path for the future of proper urban planning due to its ability to detect quack Planners and to oust them out of the profession, this should be followed by proper funding through direct grants to support this department in the preparation and implementation of modern land use plans.

The government should as well advise politicians to back off the decisions of Physical Planners if Uganda is to achieve sustainable urban environments.

The writer is an admin on “THE CITY POST” Facebook page of urban development. ([email protected])

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💡𝙰𝚜 𝚠𝚎 𝚌𝚘𝚖𝚖𝚎𝚖𝚘𝚛𝚊𝚝𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚆𝚘𝚛𝚕𝚍 𝚃𝚘𝚠𝚗 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝙲𝚘𝚞𝚗𝚝𝚛𝚢 𝙿𝚕𝚊𝚗𝚗𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝙳𝚊𝚢....

For a long time, the government of Uganda has trekked a narrative to restore the rapidly depreciating wetland resources from investors and citizenry reclamation through ordering both parties to vacate these water catchment grounds. It was not until last month that the president of Uganda lifted the order only to favor investors who he appealed had been hoodwinked by the colonial government.

This however happened after the government evicted hundreds of settlers in Lubigi wetland and abolished rice growth on an estimated 30-acre in a wetland in Otuke in early July to dissuade farmers from cultivating in catchment areas. Nonetheless regions like Bukedia and Busoga have continued to establish rice and sugarcane plantations which exert pressure on river Mpologoma that flows from Elgon to Kyoga.

To this matter, Uganda lies at the verge of losing more than 60% of its original wetland coverage from 17.5% in the early 1990’s to 8.5% to date due to human activities, some of which have been permitted by NEMA to operate factories and warehouses in gazatted industrial parks located in wetlands for example, Namanve, Luzira, Bweyogerere, etc.

Therefore, much as the government wishes to retain investors in wetlands, these places house a huge number of civilians that comprise the Urban Poor living in low lying parts of urban areas like in Ndeeba, Katwe, Kasokoso, Kosovo etc. Such people have been robbed in the same way like the alleged investors since its envisaged that most of them buy land parcels during dry seasons with limited knowledge on the prevailing flooding conditions.

It is not out of desire that civilians stay in water logged places that leave their lives in jeopardy, this has been a result of a magnitude of factors forcing them to degrade the natural environment for survival for instance; poverty, limited sensitization, lack of alternatives and increased land values.

But despite the inhumane conditions that persist in wetland communities characterized by indecent housing, poor sanitation and worsening levels of starvation with no efforts to imbue life, People look at this situation as normal since government has no dimension to resettle them even in situations where elites have condemned the silence on the matter.

While government strategies to evict the urban poor hassling with improper housing in wetlands, it is on the other side cherishing investors ironically by aiding them establish factories in similar places that have exposed wetlands to risks through issuing them certified operational permits. However, climatic havocs will continue to occur and natives will one day rise to fight against this status quo.

Unless proper rezoning ordinances are established to over-see a dynamic shift in settlement patterns aimed at reducing reclamation of gazatted wetlands as more citizens search for cheap land to establish homes and business centres, the poor urban dwellers living in water logged communities will have nowhere to go. “If you evict them, where will they go?”

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝗽𝗵𝘆𝘀𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗿



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