KAMPALA – Parliament has on passed the KCCA Amendment Bill bringing an end to the protracted two-year debate between the lawmakers and the Executive.
This was after Parliament stayed the passing of the bill on Wednesday, after Benny Namugwanya, the State Minister for Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) failed to agree with the MPs on the creation of a department in the Ministry to be in charge of physical planning in districts of metropolitan Kampala which encompasses Kampala, Mukono, Wakiso and Mpigi districts.
Several MPs within the named districts protested the move saying they aren’t willing be work under the armpits of KCCA accusing the Authority of bullying other local governments with calls to have the physical planning placed under the Ministry of Land, a proposal Namugwanya protested.
However, in a twist of events on Thursday, August 15, Hon Namugwanya told Parliament that the Executive had since shifted its earlier position and they would now like the law to state that the ministry of Kampala in consultation with the ministry of lands and local government shall coordinate physical planning activities.
Among the proposals that raised a heated debate was Clause 3(2) of the Bill, which was passed by Parliament scrapping academic qualifications for those seeking to be councillors but retained Advanced Level qualifications for Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor.
Clause 6(a) of the Bill also created the position of speaker and deputy speaker Kampala Capital City Authority, a development that means that the Lord Mayor ceases to have powers to preside over KCCA Council sittings.
Legislators also rejected the proposal to change modus operandi for election of lord mayor from universal adult suffrage to an electoral college of councillors, warning the move would create anarchy in already politically porous Kampala.
The lawmakers’ warning was in support of recommendation by the Presidential Affairs Committee on a report on the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Amendment Bill 2015 whose objective was to provide for election of Lord Mayor among the councilors other than have the political head directly elected by voters in Kampala.
The Chairperson Presidential Affairs Committee, Jessica Ababiku while tabling the report informed Parliament that the committee had rejected a the said proposal as well as suggestion to make the Minister of Kampala as political head instead of lord mayor, saying the position of political head is useless because it doesn’t come with functions.
At the debate on the subject, a number of MPs questioned the motive behind denying voters in Kampala rights to vote their own mayor yet world over, all cities vote their own mayors with Aruu County’s Odong Otto accusing the framers of the proposal of being agents of anarchy.
“This is the person who doesn’t want us to have peace in the country. Why would town like Pader elect a mayor and city like Kampala not have mayor elected by adult suffrage. Kampala should be no exception. We have to take position of the committee let the people of Kampala elect the person who they want. There is no short cut,”he said.
Hon Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri East) wondered why Government was making legislations in piecemeal instead of making an omnibus Act for all cities and questioned if all the newly created cities will have their own Acts.
“I don’t know what the motive of the bill was? If you look at the bill, it is just ill motive. If the town council can have its mayor elected, what about Kampala? Do these people who make these laws sit in heaven? Maybe some people want to become councillors that is why they want this bill. I am yet to understand what motive of the bill,” said Mafabi.
Santa Alum (Oyam Woman) argued that if Beti Kamya wanted to become the political head, she should go back to voters, converse for voters as outlined in the constitution on who a political head is remarking, “If the Minister wanted to be political head, let her move around to get votes of the people.”
The KCCA Amendment Bill 2015 had proposed the transfer of the Title political head from the Lord Mayor to the Minister of Kampala but the committee said that the title is useless as a political head is not a function and the implication of the clause would give the Minister more powers than lord mayor, a proposal Odonga Otto described as a time bomb.