By Joseph Kasibante
The nonpartisan ballot should be invoked as the common denominator to equally balance the interest of the disparate groups in the Kampala Capital City Authority.
Common denominator is a mathematical jargon meaning the whole number that can exactly be divided by the lower number.
Kansas City (Missouri) is an example where the city manager regime had failed. A nonpartisan ballot was introduced as a common denominator and it solved the city problems.
The Kampala Capital City Authority problems, which obviously stem from the crude partisan politics, have exhibited an efficient tradition the partisan electorates have failed to solve. This issue should be referred to the nonpartisan ballot box as the common denominator.
Kansas City is among the large American cities. Located in the Midwestern US with an estimated population of 2,885,905 million people almost the same population of Kampala Capital City is represented by only nine councilors compared to the 34 councilors for Kampala City.
Kansas representatives drafts and pass ordinances which have seen Kansas City develop into a modern architectural city aboard commercial, industrial and financial centres unlike the muddled Kampala City.
In Uganda, for decades, partisan politics has placed Kampala City under the hands of elected officials who lack management expertise often possessed by skilled public managers. Elected officials come with selfish political motives to win a particular level of seat after which they vie for elections to higher political offices.
In that vicious circle, Kampala City administration was turned into a ground for personal venture.
The National Taxpayers Protection Organisation once tabled the proposal on a Council Manager plan to replace the oldest Mayor Council before the Ms Iren Ovonji Odida Commission of inquiry appointed by the Hon Minister of Local Government in 2007 mainly to probe into the Administrative irregularities in Kampala Central Division. It was incorporated in the final draft report which born Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
However, barely two years, the City Manager plan developed widespread conflicts between the legislative arm lead by the supposedly a ceremonial Mayor and the executive arm lead by the Executive Director.
The obvious conflict arose from KCCA Act 2010 final drafters who misplaced the position of a Speaker into the hands of a ceremonial Mayor. The error went into conflict with Local Government Act 243 Section 27 prohibiting one to hold two political offices.
Therefore, the nonpartisan ballot should be considered as the last stage in the lifecycle of the City Manager Council system to fully develop it into maturity.
Nonpartisan league has a number of advantages for the cities among them; home rule over local affairs; a council- manager charter of its own drafting and adoption and subject to amendment after a term limit of at least 30 years; a nonpartisan ballot for election of the City Council of only few councilors to draft and pass ordinances; a charter provision for the merit system and sound personnel standards.
More changes in the fine-tuning of the KCCA Act 2010 should be to promote mutual accountability, shared responsibility, elevated educational threshold for KCCA Councilors to that of a Member of Parliament, provision of space for the members of public to speak as part of Council agenda (Case study: Evanston City Illinois) and to institute the portfolio of a Speaker to foster respectful manner and civil dialogue in KCCA Council meetings (Recap my article in New Vision Letter of the day; Friday April 19, 2013 headed “Position of Speaker could solve current KCCA conflicts”)
The writer is the president of the National Taxpayers Protection Organisation