In April, 2016, KCCA marked its fifth year at the helm of Kampala City management. The last five years of the constitutionally rebranded version of City Hall structures have been reviewed with mixed feelings from a cross section of city dwellers, including the rest of the Ugandans who merely sprint through as they run their day-to-day activities. Pundits have even asserted that the recent landslide triumph of the Opposition leaders in Kampala vis-à-vis the ruling NRM, hugely had a bearing on how the city had been managed or mismanaged in the last few years.
The five year mark commemoration, however, also comes with an air of praise as well – just recently, Kampala was ranked as the best East African Capital City to live in.
According to the latest Quality Of Life Survey, conducted by Mercer, the world’s largest human resources consulting firm, Uganda was ranked 169, ahead of Nairobi in 184, Kigali in 191 and Dar es Salaam in the 198th position.
Commenting on the same, Peter Kaujju, the Public Relations Manager of Kampala City Council Authority, said that it is no surprise because such an international organization can only base its findings on empirical evidence which he thinks is now apparent, “there are real systems we have put in place and they are bearing results,” he asserted.
The report was based on a number of parameters, which include security, environment, general infrastructure, physical planning, education, health services, social-economic welfare and governance among others.
On what the report means for the men and women at City Hall, Peter Kaujju, underscores that it is a sign of confidence in what has been done in Kampala over the last four to five years. “We have also recently got an A1 Credit rating by the World Bank Credit Rating Agency, meaning we can borrow money globally from any institution and finance investment projects in the city. Over the last two consecutive years we have received favorable opinion from the auditor general indicating our accounts are reliable and we certainly do our accountability in time. This is far apart from what it used to be a few years back, when there were over 151 bank accounts, all ways through which resources were being hemorrhaged to oblivion,” he adds.
Yet despite all this clean boardroom talk, one wonders whether it resonates at all with the common folk who lives in the environs of the city center [where the affluent sit to decide on behalf of everyone else]. We went to Nakawa Division at Kyambogo University which is one of the hallmarks of this Division.
It shares boundaries with Banda, the last town on Jinja road that is under direct jurisdiction of Kampala City Council Authority.
While this town is home to this very prestigious and nationally acclaimed public University, yonder it overlooks a squalid and overcrowded urban, informal settlement, characterized by poor people and substandard housing. The living conditions are aptly dire, in terms of drainage, sewerage management and water supply systems – to mention but a few. The conditions here though only differ from other slum conditions only in size and location. Living conditions are mostly similar and the sentiments are widely shared among the locals.
Hakim Katamba is contemplating thirty years of age. He religiously wears his cap and white apron – but he is mostly famous for his work which is a trade in the chapatti and beans delicacy. When we approached, he was standing behind his stall, artfully painted with an ad, “Kikomando”
“I was born in this place and I earn my living here,” he conveyed to us. His clientele is mostly the University students who stroll down from their Campus to have for themselves a rather cheap lunch, in this place that you might also call ghastly – more so when it rains and everybody virtually has to swim through mud and garbage.
Katamba contends that the only time KCCA ever thinks about them is when it is evicting them from the only place they have a chance to survive in this city.
“My first real encounter with KCCA is when they were running down my stall off the railway reserve. And that’s Jennifer Musisi for you,” he submits angrily.
Katamba is certain never to see KCCA again if not for them to cast him out of the city once and for all.
However, this point of view, Mr. Kaujju vehemently dismisses; and for this perception to be so popular, he faults the politicians.
“They have deliberately and selfishly misinformed and incited the masses. This has been one of the greatest drawbacks to the city’s developments.” He adds that it is no surprise that they pluck out street lights and steal manhole covers. “They have been brainwashed and just won’t perceive that it’s all for their good.”
Politics At City Hall
Soon after winning his re-election last month as Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago straight off went on the offensive against the President Museveni, and it all sounded exactly like he did in 2011.
“I have not defeated Peter Ssematimba but his promoter, President Yoweri Museveni,” he had said. And because of that he would spend a greater part of his mandate out of office, on account of insubordination.
The belligerent Lukwago after winning the recently concluded mayoral race, said, “The President called us mere rats… the rats have produced and multiplied and have been able to bite the cat,” he said. Lukwago then went ahead and demanded for an apology from the President. Many people have looked at Lukwago as a man who indeed learnt nothing and forgot nothing. And surely it all projects more of the same as there ever was; a standoff between him and the Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi, the astute lawyer who has also been talked of as an Iron Lady and for Lukwago, a tough nut to crack.
When the question of having a healthy working relationship between Politicians and Technocrats was put to him, Mr. Kaujju rendered that “for us we don’t compromise. When we’re given a contract, we’re given what to do and we develop and deploy a work plan. We have to implement what is expected of us.”
Achievements Of KCCA
According to KCCA, there has been more success than failures and Mr. Kaujju enumerates the achievements one by one.
It’s indeed a broad spectrum of works that has KCCA thumping their chests considering the new dispensation has been around only five years with the greatest hitch being the limitedness of their budget – despite having increased their Revenue Collection by 166% from UGX 30.3 Billion as reported in 2011 to a total of UGX 80.5 Billion as at the end of the last financial year.
KCCA insists that capitalizing on the challenges that still are is to miss the point. The issue is with how to increase Revenue and maintain accountability.
Otherwise with so little, a lot has been done and this includes creation of employment for the youths and generally enhancing the city’s economic growth.
Five Years From Now
According to KCCA, plans over the next five years include the development of neighborhood plans, construction of 600kms of road, the introduction of light rail services in the City, construction of the Bus Rapid Transit System, 100% cover of street lights in the City, construction of modern hospitals and model schools in each urban division among others.
To solve the question of workers KCCA is looking forward to a couple of projects.
Busega market currently under construction, is apparently on schedule and will be ready by October 2016.
KCCA has recently acquired 6 acres of USAFI market. Draft architectural drawings have been completed and the plan is to convert the entire area into a modern market and transport hub.
Other markets being considered for improvement include; Kinawataka, Busega, Kitintale, and Nakawa among others.
Having embarked on the introduction of solar lights and to date, KCCA reports over 427 solar lights have been installed along several roads in the city and also procured more 750 solar lamps to be installed by Easter this year.
KCCA plans to upscale the use of solar street lighting in the city too as an alternative green energy.
Mr. Kaujju emphatically promises Kampala citizens a more organized city where there’s trade order, reliable public transport, more work spaces, and in infrastructure sector, standards are going to be reinforced with all roads having carriage ways, walk ways, with good drains, well lit, well greened. In terms of health services, two new city referral hospitals are on the way, each with 170 beds i.e. Kiruddu and Kawempe and it will be extended to all divisions. “We’re looking forward to a better city,” he reaffirms.