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Monday,November 23,2020 03:43 AM

New cities in leadership dilemma

By Geoffrey Mutegeki

Added 8th June 2020 10:37 AM

In some places, there are suggestions, that the current mayors of the municipalities become the interim mayors of the cities but also others want the district LC5 chairperson to become the mayors.

New cities in leadership dilemma

New cities will require new leadership before elections are held in 2021. (File photo)

In some places, there are suggestions, that the current mayors of the municipalities become the interim mayors of the cities but also others want the district LC5 chairperson to become the mayors.

CITIES   INFRASTRUCTURE

Effective July 1, Fort Portal municipality and six others; Arua, Gulu, Jinja, Mbarara, Masaka and Mbale will attain city status.

This means these new urban centres will require new leadership before elections are held in 2021.

However, at the moment, there are no clear guidelines on how the new leadership will be put in place which is causing a lot of confusion.

The interim leadership will be in leadership for six months before substantive leaders are elected.

In some places, there are suggestions, that the current mayors of the municipalities become the interim mayors of the cities but also others want the district LC5 chairperson to become the mayors.

The new cities will require new leadership before elections are held in 2021. (PPU / File photo)


During a zoom meeting organized by Kabarole Research and Resource Center (KRC), to discuss the Role of Central Government in the Development of Fort Portal Tourism City, Majid Batambuze the mayor of Jinja municipality and Chairman of Urban Authorities Association of Uganda (UAAU) said mayors should be the interim City Mayors.

He noted that the Local Government Act equates the city to a district status and thus mayors can be interim city mayors.

"There is a lacuna in the Local Government Act on who takes charge of these cities as interim but as it is the under Section 180, it explains well on how the interim government can be put in place," Batambuze said.

In response, the Minister of Local Government Raphael Magyezi asked local leaders to wait for guidelines on how to proceed since the Local Government Act is not enough to explain these positions.

"You want the current mayors uplifted to City mayors, is it an upgrade or promotion? What about your councillors are they also going to be uplifted? Are you going to lead the people who never voted you? Are you resigning your current position," Magyezi asked?

He guided that although the city is at the level of a district it does not mean the LC5 chairperson becomes the mayor.

The new Nile bridge. (File photo)


"Some LC5 chairpersons are saying they can choose to remain in the mother district as LC5 or move to the city as mayors. But you were elected district LC5 chairperson and not a city mayor. We shall guide you on how to handle this," Magyezi explained.

He challenged leaders to stop political biases and think beyond, their personal interests which are a threat to the development of the city.

"We are going to come up with an agreed position and detailed guidelines on how we have to move," he said.

Magyezi, assured the current municipality staff, that their jobs are protected and will be fit in the city.

Ariel view of Gulu municipality. (PPU / File photo)


"Don't worry, we shall protect your jobs but you will have to be qualified to work in the city. If you are an engineer of the municipality you need to have qualifications to work as a city engineer," Magyezi said.

Demarcation of Fort Portal

The other issue causing big confusion in Fort Portal is the boundaries which were already decided by the leaders. 

Fort Portal City will be made up of Central Division which will include the areas currently under the East and South Divisions of Fort Portal Municipal Council; Ibaale Parish of Busoro Sub County, and the parishes of Rubingo, Karambi and Gweri which are located in Karambi Sub County.

The North Division is proposed to be made up of the area currently under the West Division of Fort Porta Municipal Council, Buteebe Parish in Karambi Sub County; Karago, Kiguma and Nyakatojo Parishes of BuKuuku Sub County; and Ibonde, Karago and Kitarasa wards in Karago Town Council.

Some of the leaders raised a concern that the North Division is too rural compared to Central divison with major sources of revenue and will create an imbalance in development.

"The boundaries should not be an issue, as long as you have clear leadership, the city is one entity and development will be in both areas," Magyezi said.

He assured the people of Fort Portal City, that government is ready to fund the city to ensure it serves its purpose of bringing services nearer to the people. 

The South Division LC3 chairperson, Hebert Mugisa Adyeeri who wants the demarcation revisited said that the three sub-counties in North Divison cannot raise even shs100million in revenue.

"We shall have a rural division and we would not like to be seen as beggars," Mugisa said.

On the interim leadership, Mugisa requested the Ministry to expedite the process of issuing guidelines.

"The earlier the guidelines come out the better. We are ready to offer clear and development-oriented leadership for the city," Mugisa said.

The Buryahya County MP Margaret Muhanga said the focus of the leaders should be on service delivery and not petty things like boundaries which don't bring development.

"We should be talking about roads; water supply, waste management, public health and not petty things like boundaries. Kampala started from Mengo and Namirembe. But now it has developed beyond even its boundaries. Let us go with the current demarcations, but ensure we provide leadership," Muhanga said.

Stephen Basaliza, the former MP for Burahya County, challenged political leaders not to fight now but support the development of the city.

"I want to call upon the people of Fort Portal to vote for people who will take our city forward. Let those who want political leadership not fight over personal interests," Basaliza said.

Robert Goodluck called for the transfer of some ministries and government agencies to Fort Portal city to boost its status.

"I don't see why the Ministry of Tourism should not be transferred in Fort Portal. It is the best location for it now," Goodluck said.

Alex Ruhunda, the Fort Portal Municipality MP, said Fort Portal is ready to take off and called upon the locals to seize the opportunities that come with the city


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