KAMPALA — There is a popular saying that ‘it takes years to build a name, but it takes just a minute to destroy it’. Based on the recent turn of events, this has come true of Eng David Luyimbazi Ssali, the man recently identified by President Museveni to become the Deputy Executive Director of Kampala Capital City Authority.
The man from Katikamu in Luweero spent over 15 years offering dedicated service to the government of Uganda right from the ministry of Works to the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). While at these two bodies, Luyimbazi was at the forefront of over 50 major infrastructural projects, most notably the Jinja Cable Bridge and the Entebbe Expressway.
But in a quick turn of events, Eng Luyimbazi was forced to leave his position as Director Planning at UNRA as the Inspectorate of Government launched investigations into his involvement in the procurement of a contractor for the infamous Mukono-Katosi road.
Together with several top officials both at UNRA and the Works ministry, Luyimbazi’s star was summarily blown out and he walked out of government service with ‘tail coiled between legs’. Even the state minister for Works, Eng Abraham Byandala was shown the exit door for his involment in this saga that saw over Shs 24bn meant for the road construction lost to a quack contractor.
As events unfolded, the ever-ready malignant media portrayed him and others as corrupt, selfish and unpatriotic civil servants with the preoccupation of swindling taxpayers’ money.
Four years later, the inspector general of government, Irene Mulyagonja, exonerated Luyimbazi of any wrongdoing in this matter.
In a letter dated January 10, 2019, Mulyagonja wrote thus:
“This is to inform you that the inspectorate of government did not find you culpable in the mismanagement of the procurement of a contractor in the construction of the Mukono-Katosi Kisoga/Nyenga road and therefore this letter serves to clear you of any allegations made against you with regard to that procurement.”
“Please be informed that the Inspectorate of government did not cause the termination of your contract at UNRA. The ordered suspension from duty by us was to pave way for the then ongoing investigations about procurement of a contractor for Mukono-Katosi/Kisoga Nyenga road. Before our investigations were concluded, UNRA Board, your employer then, chose to terminate your employment and paid you your terminal benefits. We think that our investigations may not have had a bearing on the termination of your employment with UNRA.”
While Mulyagonja tried to distance her office from Eng. Luyimbazi’s UNRA troubles that resulted in his shaming exit, there is no running away from the fact that his sudden downfall was a result of the IG investigations into the KAtosi road saga.
Strangely, Mulyagonja’s letter was only addressed to Luyimbazi, and the public was never informed about his innocence, not the same way Luyimbazi and others were paraded before the media when they were being thrown out of office.
Even Luyimbazi’s former employers, UNRA, have never come out to make a case for his innocence in the Mukono-Katosi case; their only recorded appreciation for his service was a termination letter!
Isn’t this a perfect example of character assassination? Why would a man offer his entire adult working life to government and be paid like this? Wouldn’t it have been right for UNRA and IG to call a press conference and clear the man’s name? What the world remembers about Luyimbazi is a man who was fired by UNRA for fraud!
But like they say; it is not all doom and gloom. Amid his troubles, Luyimbazi has remained steadfast since he left government. Those close to him intimate that he remained dedicated and professional in private practice, a virtue that has landed him another shot at civil service.
For the president to head-hunt and approve someone for the coveted post of KCCA management, it shows a high degree of trust in both Luyimbazi’s person and expertise. It also demonstrates the magnanimity of the HE the President not to hold a good man down even after evidence shows that person to be innocent as is the case for Eng. Luyimbazi
One just hopes that the political vultures at City Hall do not drag down this talented national asset as was the case at UNRA. Kampala deserves better; Eng Luyimbazi deserves better. This may be a perfect combination.