Thursday 24th of April 2014 07:12:31 PM

You buy the Truth, we pay the Price

Many won’t mourn Lukwago’s fall

E-mail Print PDF

The mayor has consistently opposed and obstructed every effort to reform the city and thereby rendered himself irrelevant

Finally, the NRM has found a way to get rid of Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago, a man who has been a thorn in their feet. A commission of inquiry chaired by a high court judge found him guilty of abuse of office, gross misconduct and incompetentence – what a way to humiliate an opponent.

Because the battle between NRM and Lukwago is basically political, I am inclined to withhold my support for government schemes to remove a democratically-elected mayor. However, Lukwago has consistently and maliciously obstructed all attempts at reforming the city to improve its performance.

In many ways, most supporters of Lukwago (who are equally President Yoweri Museveni’s strongest opponents) do not see how the mayor and the president share a common approach to politics and management.

For Museveni, almost every decision he takes is based largely on the calculation of its ability to help him retain power. So, if there is a chance for Museveni to do something good for the country but which threatens his job as president, he will not do it. I am aware this behavior is the stuff that all politicians are made of – even in such democracies are Norway and Sweden.

However, it seems to me that Museveni has taken political expedience to the extreme end of what you find especially in the US. This has led to the growth of the impunity of special interests. At the top level, Museveni has tolerated corrupt politicians and civil servants who indulge in open theft of public resources when such people possess political value i.e. they deliver votes from their ethnic or religious constituencies. He has allowed and often aided rich businessmen who contribute to his campaigns to take public land, build in road reserves or the city’s green areas.

This impunity of the upper class has gone hand in hand with the impunity of the lower classes that are powerful numerically (in terms of votes). For example, attempts to clamp down on boda boda riders and subject them to the traffic laws have been resisted by Museveni.

Market vendors and hawkers who litter the city have always been protected and defended by Museveni. Poor people in the countryside; who encroach on game parks, wetlands and forest reserves, are aided and given police protection by Museveni.

These decisions calculated to win the president favor with such popular constituencies at the local level (whether it is a city, a district or even a sub county) have had dangerous consequences at the national level. They have promoted corruption at the top and impunity at the bottom.

This has led to institutionalized corruption and incompetence in government hence and the breakdown of public goods and services. It has also destroyed the environment from below so much so that Uganda is loosing forest cover at a rate of 2 percent per year.

Subjectively, Lukwago and Museveni may be opponents but objectively they stand for the same political principles, or lack of them. Lukwago’electoral base is made up of vendors, hawkers, taxi drivers, boda boda riders, idlers, pick pockets, unemployed youths, etc.

Because they constitute numbers, Lukwago’s war against KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi is to resist every reform that may hurt these groups even if it improved the city generally. In pursuit of this, Lukwago has sought various excuses - some of them convincing, most of them empty - to fight Musisi instead of working with her.

Since she came to office, Musisi has done what had evaded the city for decades. With increasing resistance from elected councilors who were profiting from the dysfunctions in Kampala, she is filling potholes, building pedestrian sidewalks, planting trees, retrieving green areas, etc.

On my NTV show last week, I made a miscalculation arguing that Lukwago will not be re-elected. On second reflection, Lukwago has a political strategy. By positioning himself as the defender of those groups being clamped down by Musisi’s reforms, he is buying himself political favor for the next election.

In spite of weaknesses in her administration, Musisi has done for Kampala a great job. Initially, I had feared Museveni’s support for her would not last the rough waters of political maneuvering. Surprisingly, the president seems to have remained supportive.

However, as we move to 2015, Museveni’s support for Musisi’s reforms will begin to wane and the city may degenerate into the garbage heap it has always been. For now, most reasonable people appreciate the work Musisi is doing in spite of constant obstruction from a mayor determined to serve only one interest – how to be re-elected.

All reform creates losers and winners. The costs of reform are felt immediately, so they are certain. This allows the losers to overcome what economists call “collective action” problems. So they become militants determined to resist reform.

The challenge is that the benefits of reform come at a later date, so they are uncertain. This makes support for reform lukewarm and tentative at best or absent at worst. In the contest between those who stand in defense of reform and those opposing it, the opponents punch above their numerical strength because they can easily unite around their interests.

Secondly, a good reformer has to sequence her/his reforms. If you attempt to reform everything all at the same time, there will be too many toes you will be stepping on. This may mobilize broad-based resistance to reform.

A good tactician will therefore ally with one group against another to achieve a specific reform. For example, you may ally with shopkeepers against hawkers and vendors. Once you are done with them, you can ally with consumers against shopkeepers. Today’s allies can be tomorrow’s adversaries.

If Musisi begun reform with boda bodas, vendors, hawkers and taxi drivers, it is because she can only inconvenience them when Uganda is far away from an election year. The closer we get to 2015, the less possible it will be to tackle them. Hence 2015 and 2016 can be the years to tackle the rich business barons, for then one can politically whip up the sentiments of the poor against the rich.

By defending the parochial interests of his constituents against a meaningful reform of the city, Lukwago has shown that he places his personal interest to remain mayor above the collective good of the city. To this extent, he and Museveni are birds of a feather that fly apart.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Comments (49)Add Comment
Spot ON as always Andrew.
written by Rwasubutare, November 24, 2013
A very insightful analysis which is ipso loquitor across the board. A bobaboda rider,driver and a PhD holder will all agree with this analysis. Politics and truth are such strange bedfellows that one wonders how politicians steer nations to any degree of progress. So our beloved AM, since politicians are an evil created to stay and they are invincible like organised crime, isn't wiser to join them instead of fighting them? Just for survival?
Lukwago is a liability and should go back whence he came from, Low-rated comment [Show]
Lukwago hates his family unwittingly, Low-rated comment [Show]
An elder's advice to Lukwago, Low-rated comment [Show]
"Abstruse" Who is Musisi?
written by Rajab Kakyama, November 24, 2013
It is unforgiveable for Mwenda to gross-over such a ditty like, 'what is the problem in Kampala?' He does not only agglomerate issues but also makes a crashing end when he alters a known proverb just to "make believe" his analysis. To understand Kampala's problem is to take a backseat and "deconstruct" Mwenda's very analysis. Lukwago and Museveni are never abut. The take-over of Kampala by government was decided way back in 2009. The glaring question is, why now? The answer lies in the personalities of the two politicians- Museveni as "canny" and Lukwago as "strict."
written by Rajab Kakyama, November 24, 2013
Museveni's canniness has turned almost all his opponents into unsuspecting "prey." This is what befell Al-hajji Nasser Ntege Ssebagala. For Lukwago, the President must have tried his best but his best fell short of delivering Lukwago into his palms. He sought a friend in Musisi, a Lukwago "character-like." From this angle of argument, Musisi was to become an "agent provocateur" in the matters of Kampala. The more reason why there has been an aberration of every spell of the Law. For instance, there was a court pronouncement stopping the levying of a taxi drivers' tax, however, the Minister for Kampala overturned this judgment!
written by Rajab Kakyama, November 24, 2013
It is on record that even when the Council was deemed to be in recess, counsellors continued to draw seating allowances. It is under such circumstances that the Lord Mayor is faulted for not having appended his signature to such minutes as "resolved" by the Council. And it is therefore also under such circumstances that the likes of distinguished journalist like Andrew Mwenda show their appreciation for the "filling" of pot-holes in Kampala by the Executive Director, irrespective of the means (cost). The sheer lack of objectivity in Mr. Mwenda's analysis, is the very cancer that feeds on our societal fabric.
written by Rajab Kakyama, November 24, 2013
But as the adage goes, "Every dark cloud, has a silver-lining." You will take away Lukwago and the office of the Executive Director will become dormant or less; non-existent. Cause if the Laws the institute the office of the Lord Mayor can be side-lined now, so will those that institute the office of the Executive Director will be then. About the number of attendance at Lukwago's funeral, let me remind my favourite columnist (most won't agree) that the office of the Lord Mayor is an "elective" one and not appointed. I do not know what he means when he asserts that "many won't mourn" when Lukwago garnered more than 230,000 votes.
written by Rajab Kakyama, November 24, 2013
In all modesty, this is a sizeable number of mourners and given the circumstances that might lead to his "death", trust me, many will bleed. Don't ask me how many will mourn, if Jenifer was to "die." A Merry Christmas to 'The Last Word.'
Heheheee, my chest!!
written by OJA, November 24, 2013
Recently I was for holidays in Kampala and the goodnews I got was a strong flu and cough because of dirt and dust. The same potholes are there. When it rains, it is muddy, when it shines, it is too dusty. So, I don't know what type of changes Kampala has seen. My eyes never saw them. I saw real changes although short-lived in 2007 during the preparation for CHOGM. Streets marked, roadsides planted with flowers, traffic lights installed, etc.
Lukwago may have his weaknesses. But does one have to blame a mayor who has been in power for 2 years vis-a-vis the real power broker and the money man-Museveni who has clung on for the last three decades? Lukwago is according to me a scapegoat. I can't be easily bought into accepting the above argument deceived.
Re: not enough yet
written by Musinguzi, November 24, 2013
I would like to agree with OJA that we have nothing to celebrate in Kampala yet. Musisi's can only be seen as intentions that are yet to be translatd into actual actions and results on ground. They still construct roads without side walks, not enough trees etc. Be honest and hold KCCA to task. Their salaries were multiplied 20 times compared to KCC and no corresponding outputs in kampala, nothing! And this piecemeal action is also not warranted. All towns and municipalities are rotting away (read newvision's search for a clean town in Uganda), why not hold them to the same standard if M7 is serious. This country's leadership cannot meet our aspirations and we wonder when we are ever going to get the leaders this country truly deserves.
written by Musinguzi, November 24, 2013
How can we even fail to copy and paste what is next door in Kigali and we are here celebrating mediocre performance! Please!
written by Musinguzi, November 24, 2013
and by the way, inability to execute development projects should not be correlated to electoral politics. The governor of Nairobi who is from an opposition coalition of CORD is busy demolishing illegal buildings for road projects, taxing buldings and landlords etc. Going by this reasoning, he should be worried that he will give away his game to JUBILEE in the next election but he is not. These guys in Kampala are mere jokers. Musisi, Lukwago, Musinguzi, Wafula, Olara nameit, we dont care, all we are about is service delivery and it is no where to be seen for now!
Many wont mourn M7 demise
written by Steven Nsubuga, November 24, 2013
You have to suspend common sense to make room for reason behind Mwenda's heading of the article. I submit to 9 that the heading "Many wont shed a tear at the demise of m7's regime"deserves more debate and undisputedly more truthful!!! But since m7's support is down to paid staffers and blood relatives, of which 9 is, he cant gather the courage to summon that debate.
written by opio, November 24, 2013
ha banange, Its the usual confused mishmash from mwenda. Anyway andrew when u go for yr usual tea with jenifer and m7, tell him that whether he likes or not pple of kla will eventually find out thereal reason he's fighting lukwago to keep his family business secrets in kla hidden . Tell musisi 2 stop implementing lukwago's election manifesto as if its her own ideas. Tell m7 we the vendors in kla don't mind our elected major lukwago stepping in our tomatoes when comes down 2 see us. We like it and don't need protection.
written by derek, November 24, 2013
Following musisi's coup against lukwago and 500,000 of his voters/supporters with no one now to check her dictatorial tendencies she will move with bulldozers to demolish the unplanned houses in unplanned areas of kampala like ntinda,kitintale,muyenga,rubaga.... of the her now present praise singers with no one to protect mourning lukwago/lord mayor political demise.

written by derek, November 24, 2013
Following musisi's coup against lukwago and 500,000 of his voters/supporters with no one now to check her dictatorial tendencies she will move with bulldozers to demolish the unplanned houses in unplanned areas of kampala like ntinda,kitintale,muyenga,rubaga.... of the her now present praise singers with no one to protect them.

Those not comfortable with kampala's current state, there is plenty of empty flat land between gayaza and zirobwe and other parts of the country were they can go and build a new well planned city afresh.And leave kampala in its mess to those vast majority of the current residents who can tolerate it.
written by Staff Gen. Adam Kifalisso, November 24, 2013
Andrew my friend ....Are you behind the relocation of Luzira prisons to clear the locality to develop your luxury estates ? Just asking , I heard some rumours that you want to develop Luzira into something like Miami ....anyways its Winnie who told me . NRM has always ''punished'' Kampala because its a seat of opposition to the thieving regime
written by opio, November 24, 2013
i applaud andrew 4 letting me/us 2 comment freely here unlike his twitteratti friend kobushenga who is a disgrace to this noble proffesion and the idea of freedom of speech and free press. Any comment considered even mildly critical of m7, kobushenga's No Vision, sorry i mean New Vison will censor and never show it. Thats unforgivable for a publicly listed traded company in which im a shareholder. THANK U MWENDA
written by derek, November 24, 2013
Those not comfortable with kampala's current state, there is plenty of empty flat land between gayaza and zirobwe and other parts of the country were they can go and build a new well planned city afresh.And leave kampala in its mess to those vast majority of the current residents who can tolerate it. We have shifted our capital city before it can be shifted again other countries have done it before nigeria chaotic lagos to well planned abuja, brazil sao paulo to modern brasilia. Incase of lack of money to build new cit,y jinja can do for those obsessed with planned cities.
The Foul Smell of Kampala: A Reflection on some Words of a Derrick Kiyonga-The Observer.
written by OJA, November 24, 2013
Museveni had once lamented, under the reign of John Ssebaana Kizito, "how the opposition had taken the city (Kampala) to the dogs." In one of the nasty exchanges, Museveni said Kampala had a foul smell because Ssebaana had failed to rid it of garbage. SSEBANA SARCASTICALLY SHOT BACK THAT THE SMELL EMANATED FROM STATE HOUSE! Contextually the occupant of State House and his followers up to this day, think as then, that Kampala smells foul because Erias Lukwago has failed to "rid it if gabbage". Is Ssebana Kizito's rebuttal then not also applicable now?
written by Namulime majeri, November 25, 2013
I agree with You Andrew 101% how ever it is only sad that a thief chases a thief. Lukwago for sure has his interests and Muzee as well but according to me Lukwago seems a threat to Muzee. since they work to please the same group of people, i think Muzee thinks that at one point Lukwago will fight for his seat and win in kampala as Muzee loses. on the other hand Lukwago has failed to see that Musisi is spot on with the city we need the development and so she has done it. i think going foward the three parties need to dialogue
Yes, Opio!
written by Nkongih lll, November 25, 2013
I fully agree with you, Opio ... Andrew Mwenda must be applauded for encouraging freedom of speech and free press. Many would also share your concerns about the so-called New Vision. I think No Vision (if I may borrow your phrase) is a disgrace to the profession of journalism and the editor should one day be charged with treason.
Lord Mayor
written by Chris, November 25, 2013
But Andrew why dont they wait for an election and ensure that Lukwago doesnt come back? this idea of getting elected leaders out of office breeds impunity. What if next time they come for an elected MP? Lets all resist it!
written by hassan, November 25, 2013
Andrew on Lukwago
These days your in depth analysis of Kampala leave us more confused about the issues. being the old man of the clan your articles leave us in a cloud. These days you sit on the fence and check what's in the compound go back to your office and write. This is why some think that you got Mucuzi from inside the house. sema kweli !!!
Upgrade the quality of politics.
written by Tina, November 25, 2013
Most of the politicians are not honest that is why its hard for them to make honest decisions on vendors,bodas,slums coz this is their strong power base. we shall continue in this cycle of lamentations if politicians continue pretending. some how everyone is in the city center wants to earn quick bucks and it looks like quick cash can only be got through disorganized means e.g Bodas,street vendors( can you imagine someone is from the airport and on their way to the city,they are received by toilet paper vendors oh please a visitor may think that we eat alot .
written by Marvin ya Kuku, November 25, 2013
"Lukwago has consistently and maliciously obstructed all attempts at reforming the city to improve its performance" - Please feel free to give examples. I will personally buy you a cup of tea and 3 hot mandazi if you can give me just 3 examples. If you give me 5 solid examples it will be milk tea with sugar. Offer ends December 10th.
mwenda is getting more confused by the day
written by kainerugunda, November 25, 2013
those of you who dare to know: mwenda gets his cheques from the powers that be on a regular basis. in addition he is allowed to write the opposite of truth so he can stay in business. so, don't tae what he writes seriously.
Lessons from Lukwagos Struggles
written by Bayomba, November 25, 2013
I have watched with dismay the way the Tribunal has handled Lukwago's case. You have to step back and ask yourself why is Lukwago doing this? He seems like a fairly well to do man. Regardless of what we think of him he is a good lawyer and his firm seems to be doing well. He could have sat back like many of us selfish Ugandans and enjoyed his wealth. But instead he gets roughed up everyday by the Police. This is where Mwenda needs to pause and think outside the box. Lukwago may never become president, he might lose his sight or limbs because of this. Without the Besigye's and Lukwagos of this world a lot of Ugandans would never have known who the real M7 is. Atleast now people will not pretend they do not know what/ who they are voting for.
written by Kalisoliso, November 25, 2013
Andrew Mwenda has, like never before let the cat out on this. I have all along fallen for his pretence but this one is just but an eye opener! Many of is didn't know that Andrew is also another facilitated volunteer, claiming to have solutions for almost every issue but time has indeed caught up with him just as it has with his godfather Museveni. Like it or not Museveni's regime is in its evenning, no amount of spin can turn the tide now.
The limits of Actor Centered Institutional Design
written by Maceni, November 26, 2013
KCCA is a classic example of actor-centered institutional design.It was created with a narrow focus on actor (The President and young 'government entrepreneurs') defined outcomes -assumed to be desired by all.Rational functionality crafted by a few smart people may have the unintended consequence of social dysfunction. KCCA lacks social functionalism and will either collapse or be redefined.In many way Lukwago represents social functionalism while Musisi rational design. History tells us institutions by rational design almost never end up serving their intended purpose and will always have effects other than the anticipated ones.
The limits of Actor Centered Institutional Design
written by Maceni, November 26, 2013
To deal with Kampala the government should borrow a leaf from the design process of opensource software. Essentially a system designed by a 10000 fools is more robust and works much better than one designed by 100 geniuses. Its better to insulate against as many possible dumb things than anticipating a few smart uses. KCCA 's role should have been to simply provide the framework to allow 10,000 fools to solve Kampala's problems.
Vicar general
written by Kirokitwla Omunaku, November 26, 2013

The ceremonial mayor maybe refused to welcome the major of Kigali. Is that where the incompetence comes from? The NRM's days are numbered.
Mwenda's thoughts
written by Mau, November 26, 2013
Mwenda is an accomplished man and an inspiration to many,but to misuse his current state annoys me.

It's not yet time to mourn
written by Denis Musinguzi, November 26, 2013
I have no capacity to guage how many would or would not mourn Lukwago. But going by the antics that sorrounded the tribunal and impeachment proceedings, and the legalities still at large to complete the process, and, more importantly, the fact that Lukwago would comfortably win a bye-election if he were not barred from it (another high impossibility), it seems to me the time to mourn or not mourn is still far from here. I believe that although Lukwago invited this humiliation, he's not entirely to blame for it, let alone erase him off yet! Let's keep watching the space; the battle is far from over!!
written by Mwenda Peter, November 26, 2013
Impeaching the major was a total waste of time. Mark my words.
written by Steven Nsubuga, November 26, 2013
I for one can never forgive the Uganda police for the crimes they have inflicted on citizens. LISTEN...the m23 who currently reside in Uganda enjoys more liberty than the citizens of Uganda. That war criminal Sultan Makenga enjoys more liberty than Erias Lukwago. Many foreigners in Uganda have more rights than Ugandans. That's why you see Indians rape young girls with reckless abandon. That's why Sudanes beat and main Ugandans with no remedy from the police on the citizens behalf. That's why..i can't see myself ever forgiving this criminal police. That's why m7 is nothing but a mercenery for foreigners who came to just loot our country. How can anyone gather any courage to forgive these hoodlums?
written by waiswa, November 27, 2013
Lukwago could not stand Mao as leader of DP. He did everthing possible to fail his election and leadership. Ehhinicity was key here. Lukwago is not a democrat. enjoy the dance now, as it your turn to dance.
written by winnie, November 27, 2013
Our level of democracy is proportional to our level of thinking. The President told Lukwago to repent but he refused so let him suffer he is even not sick which patient eats apples,mangoes,bananas,pumpkin at once?he should return the mayor's car and its number plate plus the gown( when its dry cleaned).
written by winnie, November 27, 2013
The following should be dos and don't s of electing leaders otherwise we risk having disastrous leaders like Nambooze,Lukwago,Ssemujju,Besigye and the like.1. Sensible leaders should have gone to schools like Buddo,Gayaza,Mwiri,Ntare,Smack not this drama of Masaka SS,Kampala SS and so on.
2. Most leaders in the world belong to the Anglican Church that's why all our presidents,kings and top lawyers in ug are Anglicans .
3. A good leader should be well traveled and should play exotic games like squash,squabbles,chess,golf and in door tennis.
We lost Andrew Mwenda
written by Uganda Jobs, November 28, 2013
The only sad point out of this is that we lost Andrew Mwenda. He used to be a very objective person but it is really to bad he might have accepted some money to sing for a bad band
written by Herman, November 28, 2013
The author of the article appears to be an NRM cadre. Its not the one independent minded i used to know. Wooo Is Museveni going on bribing all of us?
Mwenda thinks Ugandans are fools
written by kainerugunda, November 28, 2013
These Mwendas believe that they can bend the truth and get away with it. That's a miscalculation of unimaginable proportions. They don't realise, they only lie to themselves.
written by Kimeze Dickson, November 29, 2013
Lukwago is unbend-able. That is his only weakness unlike you. They called him ceremonies and now they say he is incompetent. Tell me Andrew, how do you find a ceremonial person incompetent. You used to say this those days before you had a complete ideological metamorphosis that M7 is leading this country like a village chief. Why is opening taxi parks and markets in Kampala when we have a 'ceremonial mayor'.
written by Osapako, November 29, 2013
He is still very relevant - Just watch.
False prophet?
written by Kiryabwire, November 29, 2013
"Many won’t mourn Lukwago’s fall"? Who is having the last laugh now bwana Andrew? Did you see the masses who were jubilating even before he has officially won the main application? Andrew, Andrew? Whatever happened to you?!!
Ha ha ha ha
written by Diane Kenneth, November 29, 2013
Andrew, see how wrong you are about "many wouldn't mourn Lukwago's fall"? Give yourself a kick in the butt. We (supporters of Lukwago and rule of law in Uganda) are in millions. You and the Tumwebazes can only fool yourselves! By the way, congratulations; there is now an order from M7 to the parliament of Uganda to buy and distribute to the MPs for free your paper (The Independent).
Government Abuse of Power
written by Ocheto, November 29, 2013
This whole episode just goes to demonstrate yet again the oft charge by the critics that the "rule of law" as practiced by the current regime is a sham. They surreptitiously removed a Mayor, a duly elected official, and lawyer without granting him a day in court. Whatever he is accused of his rights have been assaulted by the government by underhandedly and maliciously disregarding the core tenet of jurisprudence: any outcome is not legitimate without adherence to due process. Clearly in this case the government overreached. At least for once the court is showing some backbone. Such blatant abuses of power are why government attacks on ICC should be viewed with suspicion.
written by Angry Ugandan, November 30, 2013
Don't worry guys, we will silence all of them including their spin doctors. What does it take afterall?

Write comment


NTV Newsnight