The 2015 KCCA Bill which was tabled for the second time in Parliament last week by State minister for Kampala Affairs, Ms Benny Namugwanya, is likely to spark a political battle, city voters have warned.
“Making the Lord Mayor ceremonial and stripping off all his powers will mean that such a person won’t have the people at heart and this may keep the city backward because he will no longer be accountable to anyone,” said Mr Sulaiman Mubiru, a taxi driver, also a voter in Kampala.
Mr Mubiru explained that if the minister is given all the powers to control the city as the Bill proposes, it may render other leaders in the city irrelevant, which might erupt into political battles.
The 2015 Bill seeks to revoke the powers of the Lord Mayor that are provided for in the current KCCA Act and vest them into the hands of the minister who shall subsequently be the political head of the city.
Although the Bill proposes that the elections by adult suffrage of the Lord Mayor be scrapped off, Kampala Minister Beti Olive Kamya has since made a U-turn, saying that voters won’t be disfranchised of their rights to vote and that Parliament will only streamline the powers of both the minister and the Lord Mayor.
But Ms Racheal Nansubuga, a fresh foods vendor at Nakasero Market argued that if the powers of the Lord Mayor are trimmed, there won’t be any relevance for voting for somebody whose voice will no longer be respected.
“When this Bill is passed into law, this will be the end for us the urban poor because our concerns will never be addressed as expected,” she said.
While addressing journalists at her office last week, Ms Namugwanya explained that since Kampala is in the jurisdiction of the central government according to Article 5 of the Constitution, the Bill will empower the minister with powers to be the political head of the city because he is a representative of government.
But in a meeting with Kampala MPs and councillors at city Hall yesterday, Kampala Lord Mayor challenged the Minister’s excuse to amend the Act, citing Section 71 of the KCCA Act which states that the President shall be represented by Resident City Commissioners in the city.
“The Eighth Parliament in their wisdom found it important that the Authority is the governing body of the city and shall administer the capital city on behalf of the central government according to Section 5 (3) of the KCCA Act. The intention of this Bill is basically fight Lukwago as a person and nothing else,” he said.
He resolved to hold consultative meetings with his voters in order to make an informed decision.