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Mbarara leaders lock horns over headquarters

By Adolf Ayoreka

Added 5th July 2020 06:32 PM

Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi, the city mayor, said it was wrong for Kakiika leaders to try to grab the division leadership. Meanwhile, a section of local leaders from Kakoba division have protested the location of Mbarara South headquarters in Nyakayojo division as opposed to Kakoba.

Mbarara leaders lock horns over headquarters

Mbarar Mayor Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi

Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi, the city mayor, said it was wrong for Kakiika leaders to try to grab the division leadership. Meanwhile, a section of local leaders from Kakoba division have protested the location of Mbarara South headquarters in Nyakayojo division as opposed to Kakoba.

NEW CITIES | MBARARA | CONTROVERSY 

With just a couple of days into the city status, Mbarara leaders are locked in bitter quarrels over the location of division headquarters. The city, which will have two divisions — Mbarara North and Mbarara South — is battling on where to put the headquarters for Mbarara North.

Mbarara North will comprise Kakiika, Biharwe and Kamukuzi, whereas Mbarara South will comprise Kakoba, Nyamitanga and Nyakayojo. During a council meeting last week, the deputy mayor, Francis Bemanya, while presenting the executive report, said they had proposed that Mbarara North division be situated at current Kakiika division while Mbarara South division be temporarily housed at Kakoba division headquarters.

However, this generated a heated debate in the meeting before the speaker, Bonny Tashobya, ruled that the discussion on the location of city headquarters be halted as they wait for the guidelines from the local government ministry. It all started when Kakiika division chairperson Bazir Kabwisho told his colleagues during celebrations to welcome the city that his division had what it takes to house the headquarters.

"Headquarters have to be here and I have to be the division mayor as per the guidelines which were issued by the local government minister, Raphael Magyezi. When you look at Kakiika division, it is in the middle of Kamukuzi and Biharwe, so it is strategically located," he said.

Ssekajja with other leaders during the meeting in Kakoba division on Thursday.
Ssekajja with other leaders during the meeting in Kakoba division on Thursday.

This did not go down well with other leaders, especially councillors who knew the discussion on headquarters had been put on hold. On Thursday, councillors from Biharwe division convened a crisis meeting and rejected the announcement that Kakiika would house the headquarters.

Celemensia Nanyonjo, a councillor representing Nyabuhama ward, accused the executive of going contrary to what the speaker had ruled during a council meeting last week.

Nanyonjo said given the fact that Biharwe is the entry point to Mbarara city on the eastern part, it should house Mbarara North headquarters because it has enough land of about 14 acres as compared to Kakiika which sits on less than two acres. 

Nicholas Niwagaba, representing Biharwe East ward, said: "We cannot accept a decision of a few leaders who have selfish interests. What Kakiika people did was laughable in trying to grab what they do not deserve. 

"There is something fishy that we cannot allow to happen in the new city leadership." The disgruntled leaders have drafted their petition, which they will forward to minister Magyezi for redress.

Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi, the city mayor, said it was wrong for Kakiika leaders to try to grab the division leadership. Meanwhile, a section of local leaders from Kakoba division have protested the location of Mbarara South headquarters in Nyakayojo division as opposed to Kakoba.

They also had a crisis meeting at Kakoba division headquarters on Thursday and rejected the move to have the headquarters of Mbarara South at Nyakayojo. Muzamir Ssekajja, a member of the executive and a councillor representing Kakoba ward, who led the protesters, said the move by a section of leaders to have the headquarters of Mbarara South at Nyakayojo is unfair. Ssekajja argued that Kakoba division contributes over 85% of the local revenue unlike other divisions.

"Most business ventures are situated in Kakoba division and owners of such will find it hard to move for over 5km to Nyakayojo to pay their licences. Imagine someone wants to get a birth certificate and they have to move to Nyakayojo. That is unfair," he said.

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