A total of 30 city councilors, out of 34, have signed a petition to endorse Sulaiman Kidandala as the acting Lord Mayor.
By Brian Mayanja
KAMPALA - A total of 30 city councilors, out of 34, have signed a petition to endorse Kawempe councilor Sulaiman Kidandala as the acting Lord Mayor for Kampala.
The petition now awaits four more signatures to be forwarded to Kampala minister Frank Tumwebaze.
The councilors working on the petition want it ready for submission by Monday.
Councilor Joseph Mujuzi of Rubaga told Saturday Vision that before handing over their petition to Tumwebaze, they will first hold a press conference to explain their position to the public.
“We are collecting signatures from our fellow councilors to prove to the minister that Kidandala is duly recognised by the authority,” he said.
In their petition, the councilors want Tumwebaze to write to the city’s executive director Jennifer Musisi to sanction Kidandala’s monthly salary and other benefits as deputy and acting Lord Mayor.
Kidandala was appointed deputy Lord Mayor in 2012, but was never cleared and has not been receiving benefits of a deputy mayor.
The KCCA technical team accuses the embattled Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago, of refusing to sign the minutes to kickstart the process of paying his deputy.
Until recently, Kidandala and Lukwago were close friends. But now Lukwago accuses Kidandala of attempting to oust him by accepting to take his office in acting capacity.
Lukwago, therefore, sacked Kidandala and vowed to replace him in the next council meeting. Kidandala protested, arguing that Lukwago, currently out of office, now has no powers to fire him.
Does Lukwago have powers to sack Kidandala?
According to section 12 of the KCCA Act, the deputy Lord Mayor is censured by majority councilors. But these have to first petition the Minister for Kampala, who sets the tribunal to find out whether the councilors have a prima facie case against the deputy lord Mayor.
Lukwago, however, while appearing on a TV talkshow recently, said since he had powers to sack Kidandala since he is the one who appointed him.
Saturday Vision has learnt that during retreat KCCA held in Entebbe recently, Tumwebaze tasked councilors to generate consensus on how to help Kidandala assume the office of deputy Lord Mayor.
Mujuzi said that on Monday, they sought legal advice on Kidandala, before they embarked on a rigorous process of collecting the signatures.
The councilors intend to accompany the petition with the KCCA minutes, which Lukwago was supposed to sign after Kidandala was appointed.
“We want Kidandala to start conducting KCCA business, including chairing meetings as we wait for Court to dispose of Lukwago’s case,” Mujuzi said.
Behind the scenes
For the last one month, Kidandala has lobbied and consulted Buganda Kingdom officials, his political party, Democratic Party (DP) and the Kibuli Muslim faction, seeking their backing.
He told Saturday Vision: “I have met the Katikkiro of Buganda and DP president Norbert Mao and we discussed many issues. I want my office to function.”
DP secretary general Mathias Nsubuga said Kidandala must be allowed to serve the people of Kampala as deputy Lord Mayor.
Another source said the Muslim leadership in Kibuli backs Kidandala to take over Lukwago’s office, but on condition that in 2016 he does not contest against Kawempe North MP Latiff Sebaggala.
The Kibuli faction reportedly believes that Sebaggala, who is the Imam of the Muslim MPs, is still vital to them.
Before their misunderstanding came into the limelight, Lukwago had reportedly started canvassing for votes for Kidandal ain Kawempe North, where Sebaggala is the incumbent. But Lukwago has since apologised to Sebaggala.
Tough days ahead
Although the gates now seem open for Kidandala, he may still have to answer some questions. There is a cross-section of NRM councilors who do not want to trust him blindly. They believe that since he has been very close to Lukwago, he may have learnt some of his bad traits.
“We chased away Lukwago to bring sanity in the city, so we may have to scrutinize Kidandala before clearing him to occupy that office,” said councilor Bruhan Byaruhanga of Kyambogo University, who led the petition to impeach Lukwago in November 2013.
If he is cleared to occupy the office of the deputy Lord Mayor, Kidandala may have to bag over sh300m in salary arrears.
World Mayors’ Forum
Besides wanting Kidandala to end the chapter of idle councilors at City Hall, there is something big that is going to take place in Kampala next month, which requires KCCA to have a political head.
Saturday Vision has learnt that KCCA will be hosting the World Mayors’ Forum next month and that one of the requirements is that the city must have a mayor.
In the cities where the forum has been hosted before, the mayors play a central role.
Will Kidandala manage KCCA business before 2016?
With almost two years remaining for the authority to wind up its businesses, if Kidandala starts to chair meetings, he will convene them every week.
This is because by the time Lukwago was censured, the authority had spent one year without sitting.
“He will have a backlog of issues to handle. KCCA has to discuss projects being implemented in Kampala and the KCCA budget,” Mujuzi explained.
For the authority, which is composed of the Lord Mayor, his deputy and the councilors, not to function, has caused many projects, KCCA is implementing in the city to be questioned by the accounting bodies.
To save the situation, Mujuzi said, Kidandala should take over.
Genesis of Lukwago’s woes
In November 2013 majority city councilors censured Lukwago, accusing him of being incompetent and for abuse of office.
Kidandala set to become Kampala mayor