Behind closed doors, Minister for Kampala Frank Tumwebaze recently unveiled plans to amend the KCCA Act, 2010.
Tumwebaze says the changes will draw a clear distinction at City Hall between the roles of the technical wing, headed by the KCCA executive director, and the political wing headed by the lord mayor.
In the September 11 meeting with central division councillors led by mayor Godfrey Nyakana, the minister said the changes will resolve the three-year standoff at KCCA between politicians and the technical wing that was born out of ambiguities in the KCCA Act.
The three-hour meeting, also attended by Kampala deputy Resident City Commissioner Allan Kajik, was held in Tumwebaze’s boardroom at the president’s office. The meeting was initiated by Nyakana, who had earlier threatened to sue both KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi and Tumwebaze for “usurping” the powers of division councils.
In their four-page petition to the minister, a copy of which The Observer has seen, Nyakana and his councillors asked Tumwebaze to pronounce himself on five outstanding issues related to the power feud in Kampala.
“Section 35 of the [KCCA] Act, 2010 and the 3rd schedule of the act gives various functions and services to the divisions however, all these functions have been usurped by the technical arm of KCCA,” the petition partly reads.
“From what is happening at KCCA, we see a deliberate move to make us dysfunctional and politically impotent, and we are saying no to such anomaly,” they said.
“We have wasted three years and we are not wasting any more time. We present our prayer to you as the minister in charge of Kampala to ensure that division urban councils are functional,” they said.
They also argued that whereas sections 31(2) (d) and 49 of the KCCA Act mandates division town clerks to present budgets before their respective councils for consideration and ensure value for money, that has not happened in three years.
“We think this is not right. As leaders, we must be able to account to our people on whatever programme government or KCCA is implementing against how much.
KCCA is the only authority that collects and also spends, and as representatives of the people, we play an over-sight role and we must know how much we collect and spend at a particular time, and on what,” they wrote. The councillors are also unhappy with the reporting lines drawn by City Hall.
“The structure designed by the executive director and her team omits the requirement of the town clerks to report to the council since the staffs at divisions are just supervisors who report directly to the directorates at the centre.”
They say this has led to lack of transparency in expenditure, prioritisation, economic planning and final selection of projects. The councillors also complained about “poor functionality at KCCA” which they said had denied divisions the opportunity to function.
“Instead, the ED and directors have usurped these powers. One wonders how you implement, supervise, and monitor yourself,” they wrote.
They also questioned the rationale for KCCA’s insistence on buying the controversial Usafi market without the approval of the authority’s councils rather than redeveloping and expanding Kamwokya market “which is more strategically located in residential areas.”
Aising that the current law should be given a chance to operate before rushing into amendments, the Central division councillors called on the minister to consult them about the proposed changes in the KCCA Act, When contacted, Minister Tumwebaze confirmed he had met the Central division councillors.
“I took note of their concerns and pledged that I would follow KCCA closely to ensure that the division council leaders are fully involved in all development programmes in their respective divisions, right from the planning stage where development priorities are determined,” he said.
The minister said he had aised the councillors to consider how roles in the management of the city can be shared between the division councils and the authority such that each can have a minimum level of independence to determine its priorities.
Tumwebaze expressed confidence that the proposed amendments would do away with “conflicts over who is more powerful than the other or who is usurping the powers of the other.”
Source : The Observer