Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has called off the annual Kampala City Festival. The cancellation was announced by KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi Semakula at a press conference held in Kampala this morning.
The event which has often drawn multitudes to the city centre over the last seven years was reportedly started to celebrate culture, innovation, unity and social life. It also offered an opportunity to companies, traders and organizations to showcase and market their products.
Musisi says that over the years, between Shs 700 and 900 million was spent on organizing the festival, whose revenue has been used to fund the rehabilitation of KCCA schools.
Kampala city has 79 primary schools many of which were constructed in the early 1960s and 1970s. Until recently, the schools with a population of 85,000 pupils are characterized by dilapidated structures due to lack of renovation, coupled with population pressure that has put excessive stress on the available infrastructure.
Some of them have since been given a new look, with the construction of extra classrooms, rain water harvesting systems, provision of school furniture, libraries, dormitories, toilet facilities, teachers houses, wall fences and new roofing. However, several others still remain in a poor state.
Musisi says that all contributions from the festival sponsor's this year will be used to improve the status of the remaining schools and health centres across the district. The task will include getting rid of asbestos roofs in schools where they still exist.
"This year, we have agreed to focus the contributions of our partners on actually implementing projects to improve our schools and health centers. We shall start with re-roofing Nakivubo Blue and Nakivubo Settlement primary schools," she said.
Musisi says a total of 11 schools in Kampala had asbestos roofs. KCCA has so far worked on five of them, adding that the Authority needs Shs 1.9 billion to replace the remaining roofs with iron sheets.
Asbestos has been classified as a known human carcinogen (a substance that causes cancer). According to health experts, exposure to asbestos causes cancer of the lung, larynx, ovary and mesothelioma, a relatively rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen.
Asbestos exposure can also cause shortness of breath, coughing, and permanent lung damage as well as abnormal collections of fluid between the thin layers of tissue lining the lungs and the wall of the chest cavity.
She says part of the money will be used to construct a maternity ward for Kiswa health centre, in Nakawa division.