15 years ago, most mechanical engineers in Uganda started their journey in Kisenyi. It is Kisenyi that went on to define the local industrialization in Uganda. University students would move here to practically execute on their projects.
Even today, you can’t speak of any industry in Uganda without having Kisenyi in the story. From Coca-Cola to Riham, they are all sustained by Kisenyi. If you can’t find anything in Kisenyi, you can’t find it anywhere else in Uganda. Kisenyi is to industries what Kisekka market is to the automobile sector.
For example, the man of Biyinzika started his journey in Kisenyi. Almost every industry in Uganda has its roots in Kisenyi. It is in Kisenyi that we realized Ugandans could fabricate their own machines, setup small scale industries and make their own products here.
It is in Kisenyi that Ugandans got the ability to mill their own maize, and grind things such as gnuts. Kisenyi defined the engineering culture of Uganda.
But I am writing this story worried with tears in my eyes. The Kisenyi we knew will be no more. It is almost gone. Thanks to our stupid love for malls and arcades, they have slowly but surely displaced Kisenyi.
Most artisans in Kisenyi have closed shop. If you are looking for a bearing or some shaft in Uganda, you will probably die in your movie a few years from now. Instead, what you have now are shops selling imported fabrics from China.
Some of the displaced people tried their luck next to Nabagerekka Primary School only to be pushed away months later. The rest moved to Ndebba and the story is no different. Ndebba is also disappearing.
In most countries, industrial towns simply transform and get better. In Uganda, industrial hubs get wiped off the scene.
By losing Kisenyi, it means that if you wanted an agricultural machine fabricated in Uganda, you are most likely going to buy it from a Chinese. Even Musa Body became a reseller of Chinese equipment.
And the thing about these Chinese machines, they look fancy but once they get faulty, that’s it. You don’t have any after sales support.
When a guy in Kisenyi fabricates a machine for you, it implies that you have life time after sales support. So one day you will wake up and be shocked that this and that factory has a breakdown and they’re waiting for some component from Europe. In the past this was impossible, the people in Kisenyi were on hand to improvise something.
I see Ugandan government talking about industrialization, but what is industrialization if you are killing the roots of that dream. The few Ugandans who have set up factories in Uganda all started their journey in Kisenyi.
Instead government should have consulted with Kisenyi people and together they created a modern industrial hub, where mechanical, manufacturing and industrial engineering comes to life.
For that reason, we took out time to do our level best to address the dying Kisenyi. We created the Byuuma app. It is basically a platform to connect these Kisenyi people to those who need their services. It is the last attempt to save a sector that has sustained Uganda over the years.
To imagine that a mall would replace the engineering hub of the country is to lose hope in this country.
Imagine you woke up to a world without Kisekka. Within days most Ugandans would end parking their cars. It would become costly to maintain and repair a car in Uganda.
If Uganda woke up without Nasser, well, most people would have no degrees. Go to Google Play Store, look up for the Byuuma app and link in with the disappearing folks of Kisenyi.