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KCCA halts debate on budget paper over Kitaka’s appointment

FILE PHOTO: Ag. Executive Director Eng. Andrew Kitaka

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA council has halted debate on the budget framework paper until they establish the legal status of the Ag. Executive Director Eng. Andrew Kitaka.

According to the KCCA Act, the executive director is the accounting officer of the Authority. Under the Public Finance Management Act, an accounting officer is responsible for the budget among other things.

However, the KCCA council is questioning Kitaka’s stay in office since he has stayed beyond that six months that a public officer can hold a position in acting capacity.

Kitaka was appointed by the Kampala Minister, Beti Olive Namisango Kamya in December 2018 to take over duties of the Executive Director in acting capacity following the resignation of the former ED, Jennifer Namakula Musisi.

He has never been confirmed. Now, the KCCA Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago, says both Kitaka and his Deputy, Sam Sserunkuuma who is also serving in acting capacity have no legal competence to present a budget before the Authority.

He says the council has resolved to meet the Kampala Minister, Attorney General, Public Service Commission and Finance minister before they can debate the budget framework paper despite the November 15th, 2019 deadline.

It is unclear why the minister has failed to act despite advise from the Public Service Commission. On September 9th, 2019, Justice Ralph Ochan, the Chairperson Public Service Commission wrote to Kamya asking her to regularize Kitaka’s appointment.

He says the Commission had sat and observed that acting appointments didn’t apply indefinitely and needed to be regularized through the normal appointment process.

“Members further observed that without a formal acting appointment, the decision of the acting executive Director, if not challenged in court of Law, would jeopardize service delivery and also lead to litigation in courts of law. In addition, Eng. Kitaka’s continued unregularised stay in office was likely to lead to audit queries,” read Justice Ochan’s letter.

Lukwago says the council will not engage in an irregular process, saying they rather delay the budget discussions.

Eng. Kitaka insisted on the floor of council that he had been appointed and was the accounting officer with mandate to present the budget to the council for consideration.

He expressed dismay that council was discussing such an issue. Eng. Kitaka also expressed concern that KCCA would delay passing the budget if they started discussing such issues.

Ag. Deputy Executive Director, Sam Sserunkuma said they will find ways to ensure that people of Kampala get the services they need if the budget isn’t passed.

He says the office of the president cannot fail to find a solution to the matter at hand.

Councilors say they are disappointed that KCCA has directorates that are not fully constituted.

Makerere University Councilor, Doreen Nyanjura wondered how President Yoweri Museveni who is the appointing Authority easily appoints presidential advisers and not technical people like those at KCCA.

She said as members of the council, they are not ready to continue with the budget discussions with such an irregularity.

Alice Amony, the Nakawa 1 Woman Councilor also expressed concern that such important positions at KCCA have no substantive officers.

She said it doesn’t matter if the budget process is delayed but they will not be a part to such anomalies.

Council is scheduled to continue tomorrow after consulting with the other government entities.

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