Mbale City residents were left in shock after the new clock tower design was revealed. The city’s clock tower has been under rehabilitation for a while now and expectations of some changes are to be made.
The changes included the replacement of the gong, erecting of a statue of a circumcision candidate, a key cultural practice among the Bamasaba, and planting a coffee garden around the clock tower.
Bugisu is known for growing Arabica coffee. Apparently, Capital outdoor advertising which is undertaking the rehabilitation works has already installed two coffee beans on top of the clock tower. The ongoing works have already raised alarm with many people suggesting that its original outlook should be maintained. Some residents have taken to different social media platforms to criticize the two coffee seeds erected on top of the clock tower.
“The coffee would be placed down all around the corners of the clock tower not up like this. Our planners though,” said Uthman Mukote, the proprietor of Mr Goat Café posted on the Whatsapp Mbale Facebook page. Tom Wanasolo, another netizen said, “the coffee seeds using an angle of elevation appear to look like a bum. Kindly scatter coffee seeds on the base of the tower.”
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Asuman Kizito and Joseph Wakwale, also members of the same Facebook page suggested that to clearly depict that the city is for Bamasaaba, they need to see a statue of a boy being circumcised. Josephine Lunyoro, the production and social services secretary in Mbale city says that the colour of the coffee beans erected on top of the clock tower is not real.
Martin Wabusa, the Vice President of Mbale City Development Forum says that the coffee beans were not part of the initial plan, arguing that coffee was supposed to be planted around the clock tower garden. He said that they are waiting for the official handover of the project to the city authorities before they can take any action.
However, Sale Naminya, the Proprietor Casa Safaris and Lodges in Mbale city says the move by the city authorities to give Mbale an identity is a step in the right direction because many towns have an identity, which Mbale has been lacking. He says that growing coffee, putting the statue of Mount Elgon, and circumcision candidates around the clock tower are good identities for the city.
James Kutosi, the Mbale City Public Relations Officer couldn’t be reached for comment by the time of filing this story as his known numbers were not available. He however had indicated in his earlier response to the social media critics that the city authorities consulted a few people on the new design.
“We are going to erect a circumcision monument at sleeping baby roundabout. We are likely to plant some coffee plants around the clock tower,” he posted on the Whatsapp Mbale Facebook page.