By Pascal Kwesiga & Paul Mayambala
Prof. Mahmood Mamdani has advised embattled Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago, to take advantage of the 'suffering' of the people in the city to strengthen his political support base.
Mamdani was referring to the people who have been evicted from the railway line in the city by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to pave way for the resumption of the passenger train services.
Lukwago, Mamdani said, should use the evictions as an opportunity to explain to the people in Kampala his alternatives.
“You are not fighting a legal battle, it’s a political battle. You can tap into the needs of the suffering poor people and influence them to support you and alternative development programs,” he said.
Mamdani was speaking during a dialogue on the eviction of people from the Railway line at Makerere University’s Institute of Social Research on Wednesday.
“Kampala is a city of poor people and they cannot be moved around like that by those in power. They need a sense of belonging,” he added.
Lukwago said evictions were influenced by populism. Although he has not been in office for months, Lukwago explained that he influences all major decisions taken by KCCA.
“They are doing a number of things to show that my office is irrelevant but they are all influenced by populist motives,” he added.
The Uganda Railways Corporation and KCCA want to revamp passenger train services along the Namanve-Kyengera and Port bell-Kampala railway lines by December.
The passenger city commuter trains will load passengers at Namanve, east of Kampala, through Bweyogerere, Banda, Kinawataka, Kataza, Industrial view and Namuwongo suburbs to Kampala.
There will also be passenger city commuter trains from Kyengera, in the southwest of Kampala, through Nalukolongo, Ndeeba and Katwe suburbs to Kampala.
Some of the encroachers who have been settling along the railway line since the passenger railway services collapsed decades ago were forcibly evicted recently.
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