Lukwago supporters, police face-off today

Monday November 18 2013

Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze confronts Kampala Central Police

Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze confronts Kampala Central Police Station DPC James Ruhweza on Friday as other political leaders look on. The group had been denied entry to the Inter-Party Coalition offices on Katonga Road in Kampala. Photo by Ismail Kezaala 

By AL-MAHDI SSENKABIRWA

Kampala- City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago yesterday said he will unveil his next course of action today at a political rally in the heart of Kampala which police say will not be allowed.
Mr Lukwago, who is facing impeachment, insists the rally will go on as planned at Nakivubo Settlement Primary School to brief the people about President Museveni’s alleged machinations to disenfranchise the Kampala electorate.

He accused the police of being a ‘regime protection’ Force, but said, “I can confirm to you that we are going ahead with our programme. What we simply want to communicate to our people is what is going on and there is nothing we are hiding”.
Kampala Metropolitan Police Chief Felix Kaweesa said Mr Lukwago’s group had failed to fulfil conditions of holding the rally and police will not allow it.

“In view of the above legal requirements which Honorable Betty Nambooze and the group have not fulfilled, the police wishes to inform the general public that the planned public meeting shall not take place as provided under section 6 of the Public Order Management Act 2013,” Mr Kaweesi said.

MP Nambooze (Mukono Municipality) had on Friday sent a letter notifying Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander of today’s meeting.

Mr Kaweesi said Section 5 of Public Order Management Act 2013, states that, the organiser of a public meeting shall give notice to the police in writing of the intention to hold a public meeting “at least three days before the meeting”.
He said that organisers have not sought the consent of the owner of the venue where the proposed public meeting is intended to take place as per the Public Order Management Act.

“Therefore, there will be heavy deployment in the city on Monday to ensure that everyone goes on with his or her work without being interrupted. We have got no notification of any person to have an event on that day so we shall not allow illegal meeting in the city,” he said.

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On Thursday, Kampala Minister Frank Tumwebaze received recommendations of tribunal he appointed to investigate Mr lukwago. The tribunal, headed by high Court Judge Catherine Bamugemereire found Mr Lukwago guilty of incompetence, abuse of office and misconduct, and recommended changes to the KCCA Act that would see the next Lord Mayor chosen by the five division mayors from amongst themselves, should Mr Lukwago be impeached.

Mr Tumwebaze, who has 14 days to call a Council meeting to vote on Mr Lukwago’s fate, said he would go ahead to implement his part of the bargain. He said it was up to the councilors to vote out or retain the mayor – whose tenure has been a pain in the neck of the ruling NRM - eager to project City Executive Director Jennifer Musisi as the one in charge of the city operations.

President Museveni on Friday met a section of KCCA councilors headed by Ms Musisi, heightening speculation that the President will be happy to see Mr Lukwago exit soon.

Sources close to the government team managing the planned quick exit of Mr Lukwago, told this newspaper that after minister Tumwebaze has called the Council meeting that is expected to vote out the mayor, government will then move to amend the KCCA Act, and have the next mayor, voted from among the 5 division mayors therefore deny Mr Lukwago any chance at the by-election.

However, legal minds yesterday warned that government would run into the wall, because the process of implementing the tribunal recommendations still had Mr Lukwago in control.

“Somebody will have to convince Mr Lukwago to convene a special council to have representatives of the professional bodies sworn in,” Mr Walubiri said, pointing out that the Council, if not fully constituted, cannot vote out the mayor.

In June, High Court Judge Vincent Zehurikize ruled that without a fully constituted Council, with representation from professional bodies – and even with a prima facie case against the Mayor - the authority cannot proceed to pass a resolution to vote him out.

The Electoral Commission has already set tomorrow as date to conduct the elections.

But Busiro East MP Medard Ssegona, who is a partner with Mr Lukwago in their private law chambers, says this High Court directive gives Mr Lukwago the final say over the direction of the process to remove him, because he has to swear in the missing councillors – which he will not do.

Early this year, Lukwago survived being thrown out of City Hall after a motion by ruling NRM legislators to dislodge elected leaders in Kampala failed to go through. The move was based on a committee report that alleged that they had mismanaged funds and their internal bickering was holding back many city development programmes.

Mr Lukwago, a DP member, who stood as an Independent, was elected Lord Mayor and assumed office in May 2011 after a hotly-contested race that pitted him against five candidates, including NRM’s Peter Sematimba.

Dilemma of professional bodies
Meanwhile, the four professional bodies including; Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers, Uganda Society of Architects, Uganda Medical Association and Uganda Law Society are expected to elect their representatives to KCCA tomorrow.

But ULS secretary Nicholas Opiyo said they will not officially take part in the elections.

In his July 25, 2013 letter to Electoral Commission, Mr Opiyo indicated that they needed to consult members at their general assembly before getting involved in the proposed election, citing conflicting definitions of an electoral college in the KCCA Act.

According to Regulation 4(1) of KCCA Act, the Electoral College has to consist voting members of the bodies while sub-regulation 2, suggests that the Electoral College has to be the governing council. But according to Mr Opiyo, election of ULS representatives to other statutory bodies is usually done by the general assembly not the Executive Council.

assenkabirwa@ug.nationmedia.com

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