KAMPALA– A fight has broken out pitting leaders in Kampala for the organization and management of the City Carnival just two months to the coveted event.
This came Wednesday afternoon during the KCCA special meeting convened by the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago to discuss the death of the late Olivia Basemera who drowned in the Nakivubo Channel as she tried to escape the KCCA enforcement team the status of the city markets and the city carnival, among other issues.
In the meeting attended by Kampala legislators, KCCA technical officials, city councillors as well as division mayors, Lukwago invited Moses Atwine, KCCA’s director of physical planning, who represented executive director Jennifer Musisi at the event, to brief the council on the progress of the city carnival.
Atwine in turn invited John Dumba, the chairman of the city carnival committee, to give the current status report on the city carnival.
Dumba told the leaders his committee had completed the road map and engaged or launched the festival to the public last month.
Dumba in his presentation angered the councillors when he said that Musisi is the patron of the city carnival. The infuriated councillors asked him where they got the mandate to draw the road map.
Moses Katambu, the Central division councillor, reminded the council that a resolution was passed in August last year to involve all the city leaders in organizing the city carnival.
In the preparations for last year’s city carnival, each office at City Hall was given a role to play and the Minister for Kampala, Beti Kamya, together with the deputy Lord Mayor, Sarah Kanyike, launched the festival.
During Wednesday’s council meeting, Baker Kawalya, Rubaga division councillor, said the project was designed to promote Kampala city as a tourism destination and wondered why Musisi was fronting herself as patron.
“The Lord Mayor as stipulated under section 11 of KCCA Act is supposed to be the patron and not the executive director,” Kawalya added.
But Lukwago interjected Kawalya on this matter, backing Musisi to be the patron. He, however, wanted to know his role in organizing this year’s carnival.
“In the structure, what’s my position as far as the carnival is concerned?” Lukwago asked.
Dumba answered him, saying that Lukwago remains the political head, a position he rejected.
This year’s city carnival is slated for October and KCCA plans to spend UGX1.5 billion on it. Last year, KCCA spent UGX800 million on the festival.
FDC councillor Doreen Nyanjura asked KCCA technical officials to table the accountability report on the previous city carnivals.
Why the fighting?
Highly placed sources at City Hall revealed Wednesday that the move by city councillors and Lukwago to scrutinize this year’s carnival was because politicians had not been appointed as members of the organising committee.
“Last year, they were silent because we involved them. And for the first time, the Lord Mayor’s office attended the city carnival, the deputy Lord Mayor attended,” one of KCCA senior official told this reporter after Wednesday’s meeting.
Since the preparations are in their final stage, it might be hard for the political leaders to get involved.
It is also likely that the sponsors of the carnival decided the group they wanted to deal with and zeroed on leaders
who are closer to President Museveni to enable them get government deals. Lukwago is a known critique of President Museveni.
The Kampala City Carnival started in 2012, one year after Musisi took over management of the city. The carnival has since become an annual event celebrated every first week of October.