Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA council degenerated into chaos on Tuesday as two Executive Committee members and the Speaker clashed over failure to present the Authority’s Annual performance report.
This was part of the three key items listed on the day’s agenda. The others were tabling of bills and presentation of quarterly reports by the Central Executive Committee. CEC tabled five bills that were forwarded to standing committees but the same couldn’t happen for reports.
John Mary Ssebuwufu, the executive secretary for Finance and Administration, said that the CEC didn’t have a report since the Executive Director Dorothy Kisaka asked the Lord Mayor to wait for the audit process by the Auditor General to end before they could access audited reports.
He tabled the letter from Kisaka to Lukwago before the council.
However, the letter didn’t have an acknowledgment stamp from Lord Mayor confirming receipt of the same. This infuriated councilors and the speaker Zahrah Luyirika who demanded that a signed letter be tabled. The speaker said the CEC could easily deny and dismiss the unsigned letter.
Ssebuwufu was forced to excuse himself from the council to pick a stamped letter. He returned in a few minutes with photocopies of a stamped letter. The speaker questioned why CEC had earlier presented a document that is not received and yet claim to have been received by the Lord Mayor’s office.
She then accused CEC of conniving with the technical wing to deny council access to the reports. She further questioned why it was Sebuwufu and Hakiim Sawula from the National Unity Platform-NUP were the ones defending the failures of CEC while Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, his deputy Doreen Nyanjura and the other member of the executive committee Olive Namazzi, all from the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC were absent without communication.
To Luyirika, the two, Ssebuwufu and Sawula were being fronted tactfully to face the NUP-dominated council and engage in an argument to paint an image of infighting with NUP councilors. With rage and pity, she said the two members were being used by the “Junta” to frustrate council business, a statement that didn’t go down well with the two CEC members who raised objection with Ssebuwufu stamping his feet on the ground.
“Do you know what you have said means, you don’t have a right to insult us like that” said Ssebuwufu as the speaker answered in the affirmative and kept calling for order in the house. “That is a very big statement,”said Sawula standing in protest against Luyirika’s statement.
Luyirika said she had evidence that CEC was conniving with the council and the two members challenged her to bring it in vain. The exchange went on for more than two minutes until Luyirika banged her table forcing the two CEC members to withdraw. They demanded that Luyirika withdraws her statement and issue an apology.
After the exchange, several councilors condemned the conduct of the two CEC members, some proposing extreme measures like passing a vote of no confidence in the members. Kawempe North Councillor, Muhsin Kakande asked members to be respectful to the speaker and read to them council rules that require that the speaker isn’t interrupted when speaking.
He then proposed that the council find a solution to the recurring excesses and failures of CEC. Mosh Afrikan Ssendi, the Makindye East III councilor expressed pity for the two members who he said could be helping the technical wing to dodge accountability. Ssendi vowed that no efforts intended to bar the council from holding KCCA accountable shall be tolerated in the house of people’s representatives.
The speaker closed submissions on the matter and moved to the next item on the agenda, which was the presentation of quarterly reports by CEC. Again, these were not available. Ssebuwufu said he was busy with elections in Kayunga district and that’s why he couldn’t prepare and present reports to the council.
Ssebuwufu’s reason was like another provocation to councilors. Makerere University Councillor Mikdad Muganga wondered how a member of the council could abscond from statutory duties to attend to party issues. He called for respect and a better working relationship between the CEC and the Council.
URN talked to Hakim Sawula, the Executive Secretary in charge of works after the sitting, and asked him about CEC’s relationship with the council, which seems to be souring. This is not the first time council has collided with the council. More than twice, CEC did skip council sitting leading to adjournment of the same since there were no reports for discussion.
Later, Council rejected a proposal for a City Forest because it had been referred to as the Lord Mayors Forest. Sawula says these are mere misunderstandings that shall be ironed out with time as they learn to work with each other. He says they are committed to working as a whole to serve the people of Kampala.
Ssebuwufu on his side said no one is using them and that the decisions they present before the council is reached by consensus during CEC sittings. He says since the council didn’t appreciate the explanation given by the Executive Director in the letter, CEC would get reports from the technical wing as they await the conclusion of the audit process.