The House was scheduled to debate the piece of legislation last week as the Government seeks to streamline operations at City Hall
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has rejected a request by the Executive to have the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Amendment Bill, 2015 ‘shelved’ for two weeks saying doing so would only postpone passing a piece of legislation that has been on the Order Paper for many years.
The House was scheduled to debate the piece of legislation last week as the Government seeks to streamline operations at City Hall and end the occasional impasse between technocrats and politicians that has at times paralyzed work.
Instead, the state minister for KCCA, Benna Namugwanya Bugembe sought to have the debate postponed over matters of a constitutional nature pertaining the Bill that had been raised in an earlier meeting by Medard Sseggona, the shadow minister of justice and constitutional affairs.
Following the said meeting, the minister for Kampala Betty Kamya sought the opinion of the Attorney General (AG), William Byaruhanga over the issues raised by Sseggona.
“The AG had not given us his opinion. We propose that debate be postponed for two weeks to allow us address these issues,” Namugwanya said, with Sseggona giving his assent to the proposal.
However, Kadaga who has of late taken issues with a backlog of Bills at different stages quickly slapped down the minister’s proposal.
“This is an old Bill. I give you one week,” Kadaga said.
The bill currently being processed by Parliament seeks “to provide for the Lord Mayor to be elected by the Council from councilors; to clarify the roles of the Lord Mayor [and] to rationalize the provisions relating to the Metropolitan Physical Planning Authority with the structure and provisions relating to the Capital City Authority and related matters.”
The bill also states that it is erroneous to provide for the Mayor to have executive powers and as the political head of KCCA yet Kampala is constitutionally administered by the Central Government where the minister should be the political head with executive powers.
However, in a telephone interview with New Vision Sunday Sseggona noted that the clauses that seek to have the Kampala Lord Mayor elected by councilors and for powers to be exercised by the minister for Kampala disenfranchise the voters in Kampala.
“The constitution says that all power belongs to people of Uganda who shall exercise it through their elected leaders. You cannot then turn around and say that you can elect your Lord Mayor through councilors but the minister shall exercise executive powers,” Sseggona said.
Sseggona also contends that the minister for Kampala exercising executive powers at City Hall runs counter to the spirit of decentralization which is recognized by Uganda’s constitution.
Despite Government’s position that the piece of legislation is simply tailored to eliminating the ambiguities in the parent Act which has at time spawned friction between the different actors at City Hall, Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago contends that the Bill was brought in bad faith.
In March last year, Lukwago while appearing before the presidential affairs committee implored Parliament to send the Bill back to cabinet saying it lacked merit. Ends.