Kagadi: Struggling with Positive Change
Approaching kagadi from Hoima.

Kagadi: Struggling with Positive Change


UPC rolls out its agenda.

By Gerald Rulekere
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First published: January 6, 2006


Going on your journey from Kampala to Kagadi with your best clothes is a decision you are bound to regret. It is not just because of the long distance (260 miles) from the city center, but there is the unforgettable dust from the marrum roads.

But the town of Kagadi still continues to attract more and more people who find homage and venture fulfillment in this part of mid-western Uganda.

From whichever side you approach Kagadi town, you will be welcomed by an almost uniform formation of compact houses perched on a hill with abundance of green.

Not necessarily spectacular. But if you were here two years ago, you will be surprised at the town Kagadi is fast becoming.

Small, medium and large size permanent houses form into long stretching lines on both sides of Kagadis main street. The street also known as the market street is almost a kilometer long. So are the houses on the other adjourning streets, as well as those on the road leading to Hoima, another road leading to Fort-Portal and another to Kibaale district headquarters and Kampala, the three inlets and outlets of the town.

The people here are very progressive. They united and built a town for themselves, first through creating a big and organized market. It is a peoples own town, a result of local peoples hard work. Save for Kagadi hospital, there are no government buildings here, says Wellen Bamwesigye, the LC3 chairperson Kagadi sub-county.

Most of the buildings in Kagadi are commercial houses housing shops, some painted and most as ordinary as newly built brick houses. But as you move on the upper side of the town, it will not take you long to realize how tiled houses have started making their slow but sure invasion of Kagadi town.

A sparkling Sengas restaurant with white wall tiles stands out on Fort-Portal road as are Neul Guest House on Kibaale-Kampala road and several others.

It is the yonder environs that will make the adventurer in you want to dash out of Kagadi as soon as you reach the town. The scenic splendor of the overlooking rocky but green Kiraba hills south of Kagadi town is tempting.

Kiraba Hills on the left
Kiraba Hills on the left


There is a river at the top of the hill flowing through the rocks. But you cant go there since it is shinning so hard. People go there in a wet season, Bamwesigye says.

On the north side about 2 kms from the town center are the Nyangereka hills where the legendary Chwezi are said to have disappeared and got lost after falling on hard times.

It is surprising how Kagadi has developed spectacular suburbs if one may call them that. A collection of green and light blue houses on another hill make an imposing site that makes you feel you will regret not finding out about the place. It is the Uganda Rural Development Training (URDT) Institute that has just been turned into the African Rural University. URDT hosts the area popular Kagadi Kibaale Community Radio.

Kagadi is the centre of Buyaga County, one of the three counties that make up Kibaale district, one of the three districts, which make up Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom.

Buyaga is named after the Bayaga kings, subsidiary kings of the ruling Babiito dynasty in Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom.

Apart from the towns fame of producing more than half of Ugandas Waragi (a highly intoxicating alcoholic brew), Kagadi is a beautiful place that comforted and hooked many newcomers at different times, probably the reason it is developing faster that other urban centers in Kibaale and neighbouring areas. But of recent there have been tribal clashes between indigenous Banyoro and mainly migrant Bakiga with the former accusing the later of tribalising elections because of their huge numbers.

Scenic view at Kagadi
Scenic view at Kagadi

Many of even the so called indigenous people here seem to have forgotten that many of their parents came to Kagadi forcefully in the early colonial days to work. This place was called Quarter Guard where men from neighbouring areas as far as 60kms in Bugangaizi, Karuguza came to station to do Kasanvu forced labour like growing coffee and cotton for the government or to participate in road construction (Oruharo). A good number of such people were captivated by the beauty and agricultural fertility of the place and forgot all about their original homes. They worked very hard on the cotton and coffee plantations and got land for themselves to settle and do business.

The place was referred to as ha kagadi by natives- a mixture of Runyoro and English pronunciation to mean at the Quarter Guard, says Julius Byaruhanga, an elder in Kagadi.

Kagadi has been named among the fastest growing towns in Uganda, and with developing venues like Kagadi rocks, Neul Guest house among others; Kagadi is becoming a good sport for both settlement, business and resting.

That is the feeling you get in the evening when you move through the town. But you cannot fail to notice the uniform debilitating sound that disturbs the quite environment, the sound of generators making up for the lack of electricity.

In fact, Kagadi would have developed faster if we had electricity. People are trying their best with solar and generator power, Bamwesigye says.

The government, in December 2005, signed a contract with a power firm that will see power reach Kagadi. The town was also in 2005 granted town council status to better manage the fast development. One can only be hopeful for this dynamic town if the people can have all the opportunity they require to exploit their diverse potential.

By Gerald Rulekere
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First published: January 6, 2006
To learn more about Ultimate Media Consult go to www.ultimatemediaconsult.com.

Gerald Rulekere is a Journalist and member of Ultimate Media Consult. He has written and published extensively on business and gender issues and been writing for Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd for the last two years. A professional and graduate journalist, Rulekere is always looking for an opportunity to better his writing especially for international media.