By Eric Wakabi
Drama takes centre-stage as honest allegations against Lord Mayor evaporate
The drama at the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) tribunal hearing allegations against Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago have proved interesting, especially during cross-examination of witnesses by his lawyers; Abdul Katuntu and Medard Lubega Ssegona.
The Minister for the Presidency, Frank Kagyigyi Tumwebaze, set up the tribunal after some KCCA councilors petitioned him to remove the lord mayor from office over alleged incompetence and abuse of office.
In the heated question- answer sessions many could see unpaid for drama provided by the petitioners and witnesses who kept on contradicting themselves after being questioned on similar matters. Sometimes one doubted the honesty of the allegations against the lord mayor.
It must be remembered that sometime back that the same KCCA councilors summoned the Executive Director, Jennifer Ssemakula Musisi on the same allegations being preferred against the lord mayor. I wonder what must have taken place in-between for the councilors to take a different position now. We hope the tribunal’s report shows fairness and justice.
Some of the allegations by councilors, like abuse of office, indicate that Lukwago failed to convene or call for both special and ordinary meetings that halted the progress of the authority, as councilors could not deliberate on the demands of their electorates.
However, many papers were provided by Lukwago’s lawyers clearly indicating that several meetings called by the lord mayor were boycotted by some councilors. This beats our understanding as onlookers.
Jennifer Musisi also fell prey to the question-answer hot rod as she also contradicted herself on many occasions. For example, she said that Standing Committees such as the Capital City Contracts Committee, the KCCA Accounts Committee, the KCCA Physical Planning Authority, and the Business Committee headed by lord mayor are all not in place yet the lord mayor had already appointed these committees.
They have, however, not been approved by both the Kampala minister, Frank Tumwebaze and the Executive Director. Therefore such a failure could be largely on part of the Jennifer Musisi and the minister in charge of Kampala.
The Executive Director further justified her position as to why she had not yet enrolled the Deputy Lord Mayor, Sulaiman Kidandala because his appointment did not have signed minute. Therefore, she said, by law Kidandala would not be paid by her as the accounting officer of the KCCA.
However, the Executive Director has been paying the councilors of KCCA without signed minutes; therefore the signing of minutes became relevant in allegations. The Lord Mayor signed minutes in which Kidandala was appointed as the Deputy Mayor. This was seen by many who attended as drama as controversy arose in witness presented by Jennifer Musisi.
Humor among the public who attended this tribunal proceedings was not only caused by the Executive Director but also some witnesses who are councilors. Some witnesses could not use proper English. Muwaire Sarah, a city councilor of Makindye and Angela Kigonya of Lubaga North.
It was shown on record that Muwaire who was testifying against the lord mayor has never spoken in all the meetings which the mayor has been calling and that she felt that views of her voters were not properly represented by the leadership of the lord mayor.
This also left the tribunal in laughter as to who had failed to represent the people. It emerged she had never raised the concerns of her electorates by speaking out in her area in meetings called by the Lord Mayor.
In the question- answer session with Lukwago’s lawyers, the same councilor said they have not been having meetings because the lord mayor had failed to hold them. She, however, contradicted herself after being asked about a meeting she boycotted called by the mayor.
In response, she said they had many meetings and she was not certain which particular one the lawyer was referring to. This and many incidents in the tribunal, mostly from the witness side, proved comically irrelevant to tribunal interests of finding justice.
Whatever may come out of in the final report of the tribunal findings regarding the allegations preferred against the lord mayor, it would be better to exercise high level of conscience and honesty based on the evidence presented, and not to turn the whole process into a comedy. All parties involved must consider seriously the reason why the tribunal was set up.