Highs and lows of KCCA’s seven-year era

Tuesday August 14 2018

Lit. Street lights installed at Kabaka Anjagala

Lit. Street lights installed at Kabaka Anjagala in Kampala after the reconstruction of the road by KCCA. FILE PHOTO. 

By Amos Ngwomoya

In April 2011, the city administration was rebranded from Kampala City Council (KCC) to Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
President Museveni said KCC was so riddled with corruption and politicking that it had failed to manage Kampala to city standards.
To address the KCC failings, the political leadership argued, it had to be expanded and upgraded to an authority.
However, there is another opinion to this school of thought. At that time, the Kampala Lord Mayor was the political and executive head of KCC. For the previous 12 years, since 1997, the mayors were from the Opposition. The last National Resistance Movement (NRM) mayor to head the city was Christopher Iga in the mid-1990s; thereafter the opposition took over or dominated the city politics to-date. The central government appeared uncomfortable with this status quo -- an Opposition lord mayor heading the city and running its budget.

No clean slate
A law was introduced to create Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), headed by an appointed Executive Director, leaving the Lord Mayor as a nominal political head without power and control over the city’s finances.
As such, Jennifer Musisi was identified at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and appointed the first KCCA executive director to transform Kampala city to the standard of the President’s dream.
However, it was not an easy task to accomplish.
Ms Musisi had inherited an institution whose integrity and public reputation had been severely bruised because of scandals of corruption, property wrangles, uncollected waste, pot-holed street roads, political wrangling and sheer inefficiency.
But nevertheless Ms Musisi was ready to face the challenges.
Although the former administration had been disbanded, the 2010 KCCA Act which created its successor provided leeway for politicians to become part of the new administration, paving way for continuation of the political friction.
It did not take long before friction between the Lord Mayor and the new Executive Director over management of the city affairs, erupted into public clashes, with each claiming superiority over the other.

Strides amid friction
In an interview with Daily Monitor, Ms Musisi admitted that managing Kampala has not been an easy walk, but said KCCA has made significant changes in laying a foundation to transform the city.
“Our major focus has been on getting the basic services in place, infrastructure in our health centres, schools, improving service delivery, handling issues of climate change and establishing a solid city administration, a robust, regulated and resilient institution,” Ms Musisi said.
She said she accepted the KCCA appointment to make a positive difference because for many years, she had been embarrassed by the state in which the city was.
Ms Musisi conceded KCCA still has a lot to do, but said it has built a formidable framework that has been endorsed by the public.
“The efficiency in our new systems, growth of revenue and the different innovations has helped us set foundations that last. I am very confident that the solid foundations we have set, will outlast us as the current management,” she says.

Physical planning
Among the achievements of KCCA, Ms Musisi cited growth in the city infrastructure, saying over 210km of roads have been upgraded to bitumen and over 500km of gravel roads are well- maintained.
KCCA has also reconfigured and installed traffic lights at 20 junctions including Nakawa, Nateete, Wandegeya, Fairway junction, Bwaise, Kira Road, Game Lugogo and Naguru, among others.
Ms Musisi further stated that 4,988 streetlights have been installed, of which 1,560 are solar-powered and therefore ecofriendly.
She said the Directorate of Physical Planning drew the Kampala Physical Development Plan, which was approved in 2013 to enhance the city’s physical planning. Under the same directorate, over 10,000 trees have been planted in the city and over 4,500 square metres of green and open spaces restored or upgraded.
Under the City Address Model and Computer Aided Mass valuation, 88,579 properties have been numbered in Central and Nakawa divisions and 585 house plates, 2,599 street signage faces installed on 1,742 road sites. Also 360 roads have been named in seven parishes in Kawempe Division.

Health and education
In the health sector, Ms Musisi says two 170- bed hospitals have been constructed in Makindye and Kawempe divisions.
According to Ms Musisi, KCCA has recorded over 90 per cent child immunisation and 62 per cent increase in deliveries in healthcare units.
In the education sector, KCCA runs 79 government- aided schools in the city.
“We have constructed over 104 classrooms and six science laboratories. We also distributed over 150 computers in several city schools, supplied 1,325 three-seat desks to over 20 schools to reduce on the student-desk ratio. Twenty five teachers houses have been rehabilitated over the years and three public libraries reopened,” she said.
However, Daily Monitor understands that most public schools in the city are grappling with inadequate funding and land grabbling by unscrupulous business people.

Revenue collection
To improve the city’s revenue collection, KCCA introduced an electronic revenue system and eliminated cash collections. Musisi says this has enabled KCCA to register a 190 per cent increase in revenue collections.
She says, for instance, KCCA currently collects about Shs100b in non-tax revenue (NTR) annually, up from Shs40b when it took over the city management about eight years ago.
KCCA’s asset value has also grown from Shs45b in 2011 to Shs549b currently, according to Musisi.
However, they city’s political leaders have previously put KCCA on the spot over corruption and wasteful expenditure through inflated salaries at the expense of service delivery.
KCCA’s salary budget for 2018/19, which began this month is Shs88.55b yet Physical Planning was allocated a meagre Shs3b. This has since triggered debate, with the political leadership accusing KCCA staff of prioritising salaries over service delivery.
While appearing before KCCA’s Public Accounts Committee (Pac) recently, Ms Musisi was tasked to explain the manner in which some employees are recruited. The committee found that a majority of the employees was irregularly recruited. For instance, 280 people who were recruited by the Public Service Commission (PSC) were not given jobs upon reaching KCCA.
They were told there was no money to pay them yet there is staff holding their positions in acting capacity and earning big salaries.
The Minister for Kampala Affairs Ms Kamya says she alerted the PSC to look into the matter and she is waiting for a report.
“It’s a serious issue which must be addressed because we have heard concerns from people about how jobs are allegedly given without due diligence. We will sort it out,” she said.
KCCA staff has also been accused of notoriety in corruption and brutality.
For instance, land belonging to many city public schools has been stolen under the watch of KCCA. Many law enforcement officers have been accused of extorting money from the public.
Ms Musisi insisted they don’t condone corruption and said proven culprits have been sacked. She called upon the public to report corrupt KCCA officials for appropriate action to be taken.

Waste management
KCCA now boasts of improved waste collection from 30 tonnes a day in 2011 to 22,000 tonnes currently. But reservations among the public have not diminished, given that heaps of uncollected garbage are still seen in various parts of the city. However on generally waste collection has improved compared to about eight years ago.
In a recent interview with Daily Monitor, Ms Musisi said at least 1,000 tonnes of waste remains uncollected in the city every day because KCCA lacks enough manpower and trucks for disposal. This drives the desperate public to deposit the waste in drainage channels, leading to blockage of water flow and resultant flooding especially when it rains.
Daily Monitor has learnt that KCCA has reviewed the city drainage master plan to mitigate flooding. The master plan is awaiting approval by KCCA council.
Ronald Balimwezo Nsubuga, the Nakawa Division Mayor, says although KCCA has done a tremendous job in rearranging the city, there is still a poor working relationship between its technical and political teams. He observed that this could ruin what has been achieved.

Loopholes in KCCA law
He said the KCCA Act has many loopholes which breed clashes between its executive and political wings and in the result, service delivery is paralysed.
Balimwezo blames Ms Musisi for blocking devolution of powers from KCCA to the city’s five division councils.
He argued that the current setting leaves the division leaders as underdogs, with barely any authority to plan for their areas.
According to the KCCA Act, all division councils must have Town Clerks as accounting officers, who are supposed to control budgets.
However, in the current setting, all budgets are controlled by KCCA executive director Ms Musisi. The division councils only identify their priority expenditures and submit them to KCCA for funding.
“One of the major problems we are still grappling with is poor physical planning in Kampala. Illegal structures are cropping up everywhere as KCCA officials are watching. Many developers bribe some KCCA officials to flout the law,” he Balimwezo says.
He, too, had a dig at KCCA in awarding jobs. He said the whole recruitment exercise is a fraud and alleged that some people hold offices for years on four-month contracts.
Ms Musisi dismisses the claims. She says the Public Service Commission was tasked by the Kampala minister to make a report about KCCA recruitment. The report, she says is not yet out.

Public transport
Another sticky city challenge is transport. KCCA effort to streamline the transport system has hit a snag without a clear regulation to guide the sector.
The plan to introduce city buses and eliminate the troublesome taxis and boda-boda hasn’t succeeded. Taxis and boaboda continue to flock the city, causing traffic chaos in all roads leading to and exiting the capital.
Asked about what happened to KCCA’s plan to introduce the Mass Transport system like Buses, Ms Musisi says that they are currently doing a study to inform them on how to implement the project, adding done some KCCA’s staff finished benchmarking in developed countries.
But she didn’t reveal when the study will be done, saying that it requires resources.
Ms Musisi further reveals that funds for the Jinja Road and Nsambya Fylover project is available. This project, she said, is a joint partnership between KCCA and Uganda Roads Authority (Unra).
It’s being implemented under the Kampala Roads improvement Project and funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) AT $147M.
Yasin Ssematimba, the chairperson of Kampala Operational Taxi Stages Association (Kotsa), says taxi operators are ready to welcome any changes in the city transport system as long as they are involved in the decision making process. He accuses KCCA of failing to crack a whip on errant motorists whom he says cause traffic chaos in the city.
Ismail Mulangira Ntale, the Rubaga Division deputy mayor, says his division has made tremendous performance in the last seven years.

“When you look at the road network in Rubaga, 65 percent is tarmacked hence easy mobility. Youth and women empowerment is high with at least Shs3b given to groups and there is improvement in healthcare services,” he says.
However, Mr Ntale says garbage disposal and flooding are some of the unrelenting challenges plaguing Rubaga Division.
Godfrey Katongole, the chairperson of Kampala Arcade Traders Association (Kata), accused KCCA of introducing exorbitant taxes, which have ruined many businesses.
“KCCA has improved the city but their taxes aren’t fair at all and this is affecting many of us. They are making Kampala hard for those who would want to do business yet we are the people who boost the country’s economy,” he lamented.
But Ms Musisi says that whereas traders want to keep in the market, KCCA has to provide services in the city.
She says that increase in taxes is triggered by the need to better services, adding that the budget which government allocates to the city, isn’t enough.

Administrative changes
Defined roles. Before KCCA came into being, Kampala was under the Local Government structure supervised by the Ministry of Local Government with amorphous administrative and accounting levels and more than 151 bank accounts under KCC names.
KCCA is now run under nine directorates, which offer services across all the five divisions of the city.The directorates are administration and human resource; engineering and technical services; education and social services; physical planning; revenue collection; gender, labour and social development; internal audit, treasury services and legal affairs.

Healthcare and education
Milestones. KCCA has recorded over 90 per cent child immunisation and 62 per cent increase in deliveries in healthcare units. In the education sector, KCCA runs 79 government- aided schools in the city.