Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago’s municipal executive committee skipped a council meeting at City Hall, causing a rift among councilors.
Speaker Zahrah Luyirika of the Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA called for a council meeting yesterday to report the house on the reopening of the Old Taxi Park, the repossession of government markets, and the appointment of the City Public Accounts Committee, among other concerns.
The committee’s mandate under the 2010 KCCA Act, as amended, is to ensure the execution of council programs and decisions, as well as to monitor sector performance. As a result, the committee receives responses from the technical leadership and informs the council.
Despite the fact that the conference was supposed to commence in the morning, the location remained deserted, with only a public address system and a jumble of plastic chairs inside the tent. The sergeant-at-arms, who traditionally clears the way with the mace, did not accompany the speaker when she finally arrived.
The technical team had advised staff that there would be no sitting, so they couldn’t carry the mace, which is a symbol of power, bring her official seat, make minutes, or supply a sound system, the speaker told councilors.
The speaker informed the house that the meeting had been rescheduled till after the induction of councilors, as Deputy Lord Mayor Doreen Nyanjura had written to her on Monday. The induction was scheduled for June but was postponed due to the 42-day lockdown. It is now scheduled for September.
The speaker, on the other hand, responded on Tuesday, reaffirming her earlier invitation to the meeting and stating that she saw no reason why the council can’t sit as they await admission. Nyanjura, she added, had no authority to reschedule a council meeting.
The speaker received another letter from the Deputy Executive Director’s office, Eng. David Luyimbazi, yesterday, requesting that the meeting be postponed until after induction.
“It is crucial to note that a large percentage of the elected political leaders for the term of office 2021-2026 are new in office and hence require induction on their various roles and responsibilities, council and KCCA policies, operations, and procedures,” Luyimbazi wrote in his letter.
Mosh Sendi, a councillor representing Makindye East III, described the CEC and the technical team’s actions as an act of impunity, and expressed disappointment at their lack of understanding of the seriousness of the situation. Sendi believes this is an intentional attempt to destabilize the council and deny public service.
Lubaga Woman from the South The absence of the officials, according to Councilor Faridah Nakabugo, is a political act meant to upset the National Unity Platform-dominated council and depict the new party as a non-performer. NUP is supported by 41 of the council’s 52 members.
Angel Kwagala, the Kawempe South Woman Councilor, shares same sentiments. She wants NUP councilors to inform their party’s president, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, about the situation.
Nakawa The issue of induction, according to Councilor Faizol Nkugwa, is merely an excuse for the CEC to weaken the Speaker’s powers. He questions why the induction issue was not brought up when CEC was pressing the council to approve a recent budget of shillings four billion. He charged the committee with abusing the council for personal gain.
Meanwhile, Speaker Zahrah Luyirika has promised councilors that she will not be intimidated by those who seek to undermine the council. Luyirika added, “I’m not going to let myself or the council be taken for a ride.”
Councilors agreed in an informal meeting that the Speaker should write to the KCCA technical leadership and the CEC, expressing her displeasure with their behavior and demanding an explanation.
We were unable to reach the Lord Mayor or other members of the City Executive Committee for comment.