By Joseph Kasibante
“Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do” - Steve Jobs (RIP)
In July 2007, with a handful of National Taxpayers Protection Organisation (NTAPO) officials, I proposed the present City Manager Council system now followed by KCCA to the Irene Ovonji Odida Commission of Inquiry.
The Irene Ovonji Commission was appointed by the Minister of Local Government in June 2007 to probe into the financial and administrative irregularities in Kampala Central Division.
Since malpractices stemmed from the Kampala District and affected all the five City divisions, we considered it wise to replace the whole Kampala district system with a new form of City Government known as city manager plan.
City manager plan is the response to the growing complexity of urban problems in United States and elsewhere which require management expertise not often possessed by elected public officials.
The answer is to entrust most of the executive powers including law enforcement to the provision of services, to a highly trained and experienced public administrator. City manager is among the three city governments others being; Mayor Council where mayor is the chief of the executive and the Commission plan which combines the legislature and executive, functions in one group of three to seven officials elected at city-wide level.
One of them is named the mayor. Although Justice Bamugemereire’s KCCA Tribunal leans on the Commission city government, it should be noted that the system since World War 1 was largely supplanted with the City Manager plan and, therefore, outdated.
It is pathetic to see that despite our clear headed contributions about the matter to the Parliamentary Committee on LG, the KCCA Tribunal and the Minister of the presidency, all recommendations fronted so far make matters worse.
In public interest, below are my comprehensive legal arguments touching the matter as prescribed in the books of laws of Uganda.
The position of a district council speaker emanates from the 1995 Uganda Constitution Article 184 (1). Article 184 (2) of the 1995 Constitution actually likens the functions of the District Council Speaker to those of the Speaker of Parliament. The position of the District Speaker is further resound in Section 11 of Local Government Act Cap 243 Laws of Uganda 2000 edition.
LGA Cap 243 section 18. 5 (A) provides that; where both the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson are unable to perform the functions of the office of the chairperson or the vice chairperson, the Speaker shall perform those functions until elections.
Further, LGA Cap 243 Section 27 (2) states that a person shall not hold a political office or full time office in the service of more than one Local Government.
Allowing the Lord Mayor to hold two fulltime posts destroyed the diffusion of powers and the mutual accountability designed to prevent any single group or individual from dominating the political system.
Political systems with checks and balances most of the times have a separation of powers—that is, an allocation of different political and legal functions to separate the independent branches of the government.
I, therefore, predict that no any forum, court order or any amount of pressure from the warring factions, including negotiations will settle the KCCA legal glitch, other than the Parliament.
Parliament should interrogate LG Cap 243 section 11, 18.5 (A), 27 and Article 184 of 1995 Uganda Constitution and give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.
Parliament, Executive and Judiciary should stop wasting time and billions of taxpayers’ money looking for solutions already written in the books of laws in their hands.
The writer is the president National Taxpayers Protection Organisation (NTAPO)