Hajji Nasser Ntege Sebaggala bounced back as mayor of Kampala in last weekâ€™s elections. He lost the seat in 1998 after a short stint at City Hall. Mariam Nalunkuuma interviewed him about his new plans
How did you win?
In politics you must have structures to help you canvas for
How did you win?
In politics you must have structures to help you canvas for support. I created the structures 10 years ago. All local councils were and are still under control of the opposition. In the recent elections eight of the nine MPs came from the opposition and I had a hand in their victory.
What is your priority as mayor?
Kampala has three categories of people. The seya (common man) are 90%, the middle class are 7% and 3% are the high-class. I want all the three categories to enjoy themselves in the city. I want to empower the 90% who include the hawkers, food vendors, mechanics, market vendors, carpenters, shoe-shines, bodaboda cyclists, car washers, among others. I want to see these people go back home daily with essential commodities like sugar, salt, milk and food. I am not going to give them cash but I will do whatever it takes to empower them.
You want vendors to remain on the streets?
I would want vendors to sell their products on particular days. Each street will have a particular day for trading. This means the street will be closed to enable vendors sell their products. At the same time buyers will still go in the shops on the same street.
What bout the problem of dust?
In the first six months I plan to introduce street cleaning vehicles, have wind breakers and also have a green belt to turn the city green.
Are you aware that KCC allocated the land for your plans to tycoons?
KCC allocated land to many city â€˜Mafiasâ€™. But I am going to institute a commission of inquiry to investigate whether the money collected from the land was used in KCC activities. In cases where there was false allocation, I will direct the termination of their land title or I will make the â€˜Mafiasâ€™ pay a rate valued for the property in the allocated lands. I will not allow the Mafia to benefit from KCC without paying.
Any solution to cholera outbreaks during rainy seasons?
The health status of many slum dwellers is pathetic. In the health department, I will introduce four vehicles to work as mobile clinics, which will have particular days to work in a particular slum.
How will you handle the boda boda riders?
Boda boda cyclists are on the increase in the city. In the past years they have been used to tarnish the image of KCC. This is an important group of people who have helped many on rush programmes avoid traffic jam. I want them to form an association to man their affairs. Itâ€™s not possible to have a permanent stage for these people. They are mobile.
What is your plan for questionable tender awards in markets and UTODA?
I donâ€™t believe in the system where one person takes control of the market. Market fees are high, forcing vendors to get loans from financial institutions and fail to pay back. This is what I want to fight for the common man. I will not accept a market to be manned by an individual. This is exploitation of the common man who pays daily market dues. I will make sure that tenders go to vendors themselves by introducing co-operative societies. The market vendors will elect their own leaders who know their fellow vendorsâ€™ problems and have their colleagues at heart. The elected leaders will serve for two to four years and shall negotiate with the vendors on where the profits would be invested. The vendors can also suggest hiring a good and skilled manager to run their investment. This is away of empowering, the common man and creating employment opportunities.
What about UTODA?
This is another place where one person exploits the drivers, taxi guides, conductors, owners and brokers. I donâ€™t agree with this arrangement where an individual coordinates all the work in new and old taxi parks. The number of taxis in the city increases every other day so the owners and those who drive them must be involved in all the activities. In this area too I will want them to elect their leaders still to serve for two to four years.
On my campaign trail I received complaints from the taxi owners, drivers and guides that UTODA was collecting sh4,500 every day whether the car has worked or not. This should not be a problem if the collected fee benefits those who pay it. And about hiking transport charges in the evening on say rainy days, back to school season, I think UTODA just has to reschedule its charges and announce them in advance so that people know beforehand.
Are you aware of the outcry about garbage?
So far this is Kampalaâ€™s biggest problem and has been a challenge to KCC for years. I remember there was a time when President Museveni said that Kampala was full of green flies and he blamed Ssebaana for it. I appreciate the system of privatizing garbage collection but I must say this system has failed. That is why city dwellers are still complaining about it. Today garbage takes 50% of KCC income but I want to make it an asset than a liability. KCC collects 906 tonnes (70%) of garbage on a daily basis. Kiteezi dumping site receives 4.5m tonnes of garbage. This it is an asset. Garbage is organic and contributes 80% of menthol gas, which can run in the turbines as power. I want to introduce this project where KCC can reap US $28m annually.
Garbage in the city is basically from residential and commercial premises and little is industrial waste. There is great potential for bi-products like gas and manure. Fifteen metric tonnes of assorted garbage provide 40MW/H of thermal energy (power). The same can be transformed into electric power. Yet KCC collects 900 tonnes of garbage daily.
In addition, I want to start urban farming and the gases from the garbage can be used as fertilisers. Many people in Kampala have a lot of land where farming can be carried out. And from the plastic garbage collected I plan to generate tar to tarmac and rehabilitate city roads.
Will traffic jams end?
My plan is to introduce mini-cities on Gayaza Road, Bombo Road, Hoima Road, Mityana Road, Jinja Road and Entebbe Road. In them buses would be introduced. The mini-cities will also help traders to shift from the city centre where property owners charge high rent because of the high demand for the premises in shopping arcades. Fewer people will be coming to the city centre and taxis to the centre will also reduce, thus reducing congestion in the city. But I will not encourage a foreign investor to take over the bus project.
I want to improve drainage, housing system, education, help street kids, solve floods in Bwaise, among others. In all I will not be a mayor who sits at City Hall. I will be a mayor to plan, negotiate with the people and implement their decisions.
Sebaggala outlines vision for Kampala