Sheema: Kitagata Hot Spring users are worried after receiving news that the hot spring, which is located in Kitagata town council, Sheema district, is to be modernised by foreign investors from Hungary.
Sources reveal that recently, minister for tourism Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, who is also the legislator Sheema South , where the hot spring is located, brought investors from Hungary to modernise Kitagata hot spring. According to Kamuntu, the Hungarian investors will build swimming pools and saunas at the hot spring. “According to the research, these people told me that 67 years back, the Hot springs in their area (Hungary) were like this one here. But today, their Hot springs are very modernized; they have swimming pools, sauna, they put an engine underground which pumps water in a certain tank which they will build such that you will always go there to tap water.” Kamuntu said.
He added that “They will have a doctor who will first test every user before using the Hot springs because it was found out that some of you just bathe in the water, not knowing whether the disease you are suffering from can be cured by these waters or not. Therefore the doctor will be telling you whether to use it or not and if yes, how long you should use it. All these developments will be brought here and I’m telling you Kitagata will look like Bulaaya!” Kamuntu noted that that the current status of Kitagata hot spring is worrying and favouring one class of people (local people). “People here bathe together, a child bathes with her mum and dad. You find men bathing with women. Many people of high class feel ashamed to use this hot spring yet they also need it. Therefore if we modernise it, we shall divide it into parts whereby each gender will have where to bathe from and even the high class people will get their part.” Kamuntu said. However, Kamuntu’s words left many users worried that their access to the hot spring is to be cut off when modernising the area starts.
Fred Nuwagira, from Kijumo Kiruhura district, whom we found at the hot spring said that “My worry is that the investors are all about making money, which will end up spoiling the sources of our hot spring.” He added that “Even if they modernise it in the way they have told us, local people are likely not to afford accessing the hot spring any more. Remember people lack money for transport to come here and some of us dodge going to hospitals because of money and come here. Now they want to bring here doctors to first test us before using it, where will I get money to pay that doctor and even the tax they are going to put on it. I disagree with them.” However, Frank Kyereere, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Sheema district warned the users to stop claiming that some government officials want to steal their hot spring “This hot spring belongs to nobody; it is for the government. Therefore it is only the government which has authority whether to modernise it or not.”Kyereere said. For some years, government has been trying to levy taxes on everyone who uses the hot spring although locals often resist, saying it’s a natural resource. Last year Sheema local government erecting a fence and gate at the hot spring but the locals threatened to burn it.