Opinion | An Outsider’s View Of The Kampala Lord Mayor’s Woes – By Moses Khisa

Posted November 20, 2015 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Opinion ~ 3,995 views



For his sheer resilience, consistence, and determination, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago stands out in the current struggle against a corrupt and decadent system of rule superintended by General Museveni.

Critics, mostly us the so-called elite, have faulted Lukwago for engaging in populist politics and playing victimhood. Fair enough. But faced with florid actions by the state to totally clip his wings, what can one do? There is the option of caving in, in return for some good crumbs from State House’s dining table. Professor Gilbert ‘They-used-to-laugh’ Bukenya just did it and may well be smiling all the way to the bank.

Inordinate resources, money and time, have been dispensed to solve the Lukwago problem, yet it appears that not much success has been registered. All manner of legally-suspect machinations, scheming, and plotting  have still not delivered the coup de grace for Museveni and his courtiers, notably the luridly-arrogant minister for Kampala, Frank Tumwebaze.

There was a tribunal, chaired by a judge, whose impartiality and professional conduct came into question. Its proceedings ended in the travesty of convicting Lukwago for, among other things, failure to sign minutes! Billions of shillings were wasted finding a legal solution to a political problem that required some small measure of dialogue if we didn’t have a government full of fortune-hunters (Amama Mbabazi’s words) and an imperial president.

Consequent to the conviction by a political rather than judicial tribunal, a rancorous pursuit of the man has been on for years, at the behest of Minister Tumwebaze, whose vindictiveness defies logic.

From a dubious impeachment at City Hall and bastardizing the courts, including allegedly getting a judge to hide a case file, to stealthily luring Lukwago’s deputy, and the latest attempt to subvert the suffrage of Kampalans through the legal fiat ‘election’ by councillors, the Museveni government has gone to ludicrous heights.

The campaign to isolate Lukwago has been in all political corners and social spaces, in parliament, including among opposition MPs, in the judiciary, within the business and professional circles, and across the intellectual class. The subterfuge has involved someone revered as a prudent chief executive, a born-again Christian to boot: the city’s executive director.


But what exactly is the problem with Lukwago?

We have been told that the man is anti-development, an anarchist, and a nuisance to public decency. And that after he was successfully locked out of City Hall, the technical team, led by a star-performing executive director, has turned around a hitherto filthy Kampala.

The evidence is there, unless one just doesn’t want to see it. Yes, we see the turnaround, but we are not supposed to see how much has been spent on what. There was a time the city authority planted some nice flowers along the Jinja road stretch from the Wampewo avenue/Airtel roundabout to Lugogo. But before long, it was realized that the flowers were planted along a terribly-worn-out road that needed redoing. Sorry, flowers…

Then something was erected in front of KPC/Watoto church where Kampala road meets Ben Kiwanuka street. Was it called a ‘relaxation park’? We don’t care so much that it cost a huge amount of money and soon became dysfunctional; what is important is that something ‘new and nice’ graced our dear city.

I am running the risk of sounding facetious. The much-talked-about transformation of Kampala in the last few years is a big joke. For a city whose population is growing rapidly and unplanned physical development expanding so fast, there has to be a grand plan of addressing the major structural problems.

Public transport is one of them. And that is where Lukwago’s problems started: he dared the mafia group, including elements in his own Democratic Party (DP), who had been milking the public transportation cash-cow.

Our country has been reduced to clamoring for quick fixes and begging the rulers to help us. In Kampala, after years of maladministration under successive DP mayors, many people became disenchanted with the mess and became desperate for quick results. Lukwago’s problem has been to rigidly insist on following the spirit and letter of the law, on being systematic, and sticking to the laid down procedures.

On the other hand, the agents of General Museveni at KCCA have been adamant on delivering quick, tangible results to win public support in Kampala for the Sabalwanyi. The tangible results are supposedly there and visible, but the support hasn’t quite come along.

Lukwago is still politically unbeatable, thus the sinister plan to abolish universal adult suffrage in electing Kampala’s mayor, or perhaps remove the position of mayor altogether. Some rather ignorant Ugandans applauded the move before government capitulated. In this stratagem, quite a few individuals and offices have ended up with egg on their faces, not least the chairman of the Electoral Commission.

On his part, Lukwago remains unfazed in the trenches. He may not have the competences and experience to lead the transformation of Kampala, yet for his unwavering resolve in opposing the ongoing fraud and abuse of our country, he would have my vote, any day.

 The author is a PhD candidate and teaching assistant at the department of Political Science, Northwestern University, USA.

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Source — The Weekly Observer

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

One Comment


    The article is good but i still see some language in it of nothing has changed as it has always been with our writers

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