Friday, December 5, 2008

Gulu City: Still a far fetched dream

Part of a "back-street" in Gulu town, Northern Uganda. Quantitative growth devoid of quality inevitably blurs Gulu's march to city status.

I was in Gulu this week and the feeling of being home after about 3 months was always going to be joyous. Apart from the congestion that greets you as you enter Cere Leno, there wasn’t so much change. The streets remained dusty, the awkward round about at the Caltex gas station still stood still like an elephant while the market still looked miserable, in dire need of a face lift. Now for starters, Gulu is one of the few so-called fastest growing towns in Uganda, clamoring for city status. It boasts airfield, an array of commercial banks, three huge hospitals, several NGOs, and of course several people. But on account of what I witnessed, I still ask myself; Is Gulu ready for city status? A few tiled houses and several even looking architectural design commercial buildings sprouting in and around a town dusting itself from the ravages of a two decade war are by all means commendable; however the destination-city status is still far fetched. A lot of qualitative work needs to be done. If only the quantitative growth can be matched by qualitative initiatives then Gulu’s march towards city status will be fast tracked.

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