Has the Supreme Court Failed the Kampala Test? [opinion]

Jennifer Ssemakula Musisi and her group in KCCA and State House are acting in haste, trying to quickly fix Kampala without following any known physical plan or involvement of key players.

I think the motivation is to prove that Lord Mayor Ssalongo Erias Lukwago was the roadblock in Kampala’s development path. So much must, therefore, be accomplished during his illegal and State House-backed forced absence. I am happy councillors who were bribed by State House to engage themselves in this illegal act have realized it was a mistake to undermine their own institution.

They have had to continuously blackmail State House to keep the handouts coming. One of them, Bernard Luyiga, has already stormed the residence of the lord mayor, asking for forgiveness. It is difficult to believe Luyiga who has made treachery the only permanent thing about his politics. Whether he was a spy or trying to blackmail his sponsors through a Lukwago visit, one cannot fail to read desperation from this.

And if you read the Daily Monitor on Monday, this point was well made – KCCA councillors complaining that State House didn’t meet its bargain. But the point today is the development of our city. I have always said that to some of us, Kampala is more than a capital city. It is our ancestral home. I am a grandson of Namuyimba in Kibuye, behind the police station.

We are, therefore, more interested in an organised and a well-managed Kampala than those who hail from Kiruhura or Kibaale, for example. And by making this point, we are chasing nobody but castigating this artificial love.

At the beginning of her reign, Jennifer Musisi collected old tyres and placed them in the central barrier of Jinja road near UMI. She planted some flowers in them. I only hope that this beautification didn’t cost us tens of billions of shillings just like the one spearheaded by Hope Mwesigye during the 2007 commonwealth heads of government meeting.

At the beginning of this year, the same Musisi returned to Jinja road and destroyed the flowers she had spent money planting and watering. The flowers were removed to allow the reconstruction of the road. These flowers had been planted by hundreds of casual workers whom we paid lots of money. The KCCA wage bill of Shs 43 billion is as big as the entire budget of Wakiso district.

You remember the story of Pioneer Easy buses. Ministry of Finance and Musisi almost committed us in guaranteeing a $500 million loan for the operators, if Erias Lukwago had not made enough noise. The buses were even unleashed onto the roads without number plates, and certainly without paying taxes. They are now grounded near Namboole stadium.

Lukwago and some of us who campaigned for a well-thought-out and reliable public transport system in Kampala were labelled saboteurs. They dubbed these buses Kibaluma (it pains them) and Musisi launched them. Kampala is no longer the old seven hills. The KCCA Act creates a metropolitan city that stretches to Mukono and Mpigi.

When Muruli Mukasa was minister for Kampala, he proposed names to serve on the Kampala metropolitan physical planning committee. These names were never approved by the president. The president has, instead, vested all functions – management, planning, policy, etc – in Musisi, who is easy to manipulate.

Can you imagine, Wakiso district is allocated just Shs 45 billion, and a bulk of it being teacher and medical workers’ salaries! Kampala, which is by the way smaller than Wakiso, has a budget of Shs 200 billion. Musisi has more than Shs 72 billion to work on roads and the whole of Wakiso is given less than Shs 2 billion for the same.

And the lord mayor, who must nominate names to serve on the public accounts committee of KCCA, did his job but Museveni blocked their appointment. That is why Musisi can use the money to plant flowers today and destroy them a month later. And the people of Kampala don’t know what is going on because their elected lord mayor was illegally driven out of office.

One had hoped that the Supreme court, to which an application to quash the ruling of Justice Steven Kavuma was referred, would rule on the matter. But it is now months. I have already shared with you dear readers my reservations about the Court of Appeal, headed by Kavuma. The High court has not entirely been overrun and so is the Supreme court. And it is these lawyers who say justice delayed is justice denied!

I don’t know why the same Supreme court that allowed the rebel MPs to stay in Parliament, chose to keep Lukwago out of office, and it is buying time in delivering its ruling. If they think Lukwago should quit office, let them say so. Elected leaders have a short tenure which is the reason their matters take precedent in courts.

In the absence of a public accounts committee, metropolitan physical planning committee and now the lord mayor, you can expect mayhem at KCCA. Last week, taxi operators from Kyaliwajjala stormed my office, pleading help at the hands of KCCA enforcement officers.

These officers have turned KCCA into a terror organisation, subjecting people to inhuman treatment. Summary sentences are being handed down at the City Hall Magistrate’s court and I think the Judiciary should investigate this court.

The author is Kyadondo East MP.

Source : The Observer

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