Mbale municipality has teamed up with the three divisions in the municipality to beautify the town in their ongoing fight for a city status. Mbale municipality is comprised of Northern, Industrial and Wanale Divisions. Mutwalibi Zandia, the Mayor Mbale municipality says the campaign dubbed “Keep Mbale Municipality Green and Clean” will be implemented in phases.
He says the first phase would include planting of trees, grass and flowers on the major road reserves in the Municipality. Zandia says they have budgeted 10 million shillings for the first phase of the project. He says the 2nd phase would include painting all buildings in Mbale town to enhance their beauty and installation of street to give the town a modern city look. Zandia says they will also demolish all the structures in the road reserve, condemned buildings and Kiosks. He says they are doing this in collaboration with development partners and corporate organizations in Mbale.
He says the effort is part of their plans to regain the past glory that Mbale Municipality held as the most beautiful town in East Africa. He observes notes that similar campaigns failed in the past because of disagreements amongst the political leadership in the Municipality. He however says that the political leaders both at the lower councils and mother council have resolved to bury their differences and work for a common goal of attaining a city status.
Masa Musa, the LC 3 chairperson of Industrial Division says they have agreed to work together as a team to ensure they succeed. He says the plan to beautify the Municipality was long overdue.
He says they will start with the eviction of all the boda boda motorists operating in ungazzated areas. They have also resolved to arrest people who will be trespassing and found destroying the flower gardens, and impound all stray animals in the town.
Safi Wakaite Mafabi, a business man in town and a member of the Mbale Development Forum is happy about the move. He however appealed to the Municipality officials to ensure they get a way of sustaining the project. He says as the business community, they will rally support for the campaign.
On 24th November 2008, the Mbale Municipal council passed a resolution urging government to elevate the municipality to a city status. Councilors argued that a city status would boost the tax base and stimulate socio-economic development and that as a city; Mbale would become a strategic regional centre for the East African Confederation.
The requirement for a city status includes having a population of 500,000 people, a master plan for land use and presence of water sources. Mbale does not meet the first requirement as the 2002 census put its population at 70,000 people. However, 11 years down the road, the council is optimistic that the population has grown beyond the expected.