Saturday, June 22, 2024

Two months ago, prime minister Robina Nabanja tried to inspect the state of public works within the Kampala City but abruptly abandoned it, expressing disgust, frustration and anger at the pace, quality, and cost towards the contractor rather than KCCA management. From her media outbursts recorded by several television stations, Nabanja terminated her inspection to give the Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) and the Contractor time to deliver good work which she would return to inspect later.

Nabanja’s tour followed that by president Yoweri Museveni accompanied by daughter Natasha Karugire on 19th November 2023 as runner-up for Uganda hosting the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and Group of 77 plus China summits in January 2024. Our collective anger and disappointment should be directed at KCCA appointed and elected leaders charged with managing city affairs including contracts for public works.

It is necessary to put a background to the current administration at KCCA where there is malfeasance of inertia, incompetence, corruption through racketeering, and a slow decay, which if not halted will drive Kampala and indeed, Uganda into an abyss. Since Kisaka’s entry as Executive Director over four years ago replacing the high-profile Jennifer Musisi, there has been convenient peace with a usually troublesome Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.

The special salary grade offered to KCCA staff and politicians was supposed to attract the best skills, brains, most diligent and committed servants, and dissuade them from unethical behaviours, but seems not to work. Many people had assumed that the prevailing peace would allow the technical and political arms of KCCA to build a convergence in policy formulation, teamwork, and service delivery, but alas, thanks for having Kisaka and Lukwago in the same calm waters, nothing is really moving as had been expected. The two ministers who had come with hubris, now look like lame ducks, or perhaps two square pegs in two round holes. The opposition charlatans who have controlled KCCA for the last two decades should not be given free hand to sing their fixation that Museveni is the reason for their specular failure to build infrastructure in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono districts. Lukwago with his phony political antics has sufficiently exposed his all-round incompetence and the political gravity should surely revenge on him, if Kampala voters were, to put politely, serious.

They, alongside innumerable potholes on virtual every major and minor roads, uncollected liter and flies buzzing over uncollected garbage, traffic gridlocks in every direction, uncontrolled street vending, boda boda motorcycles, and matatu passenger stages are Kampala’s unmistakable eyesores. The widespread indiscipline by Kampala urbanites who do not manage their refuse well thus clogging roads, drainage system and every available empty space is not a bonus to the incompetent public management. The decorative trees and flowers, mostly donated and planted by well-wishers towards the NAM and G77 conferences to beautify Kampala have been left to waste away.  

Lukwago appears more interested in Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) internal conflagrations where he nominally leads the Katonga road faction as Kizza Besigye’s sidekick in the hope he could be installed on the throne for the 2026 general elections than in KCCA affairs. Others even say that Lukwago has discovered the long-held adage “if you cannot defeat them, join them.” So, probably he is getting patted on the shoulders by corrupt public servants racketeering with private contractors to fleece KCCA while enjoys the peace in silence.  

At this rate, and without being too harsh to Dorothy Kisaka’s career, it would not be far-fetched to suggest a minute’s silence for KCCA and whatever its leadership currently stands for. Kisaka has been both unremarkable and barely functioning in the most critical sectors of the city for most people’s liking. If I were an undertaker, these eyesores would bury Kisaka, Lukwago and them all. Till we meet again.