The holder of the office of Lord Mayor, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), may soon shake off the ceremonial label as more powers are being accorded to the office in the Kampala Capital City Authority (Amendment Bill), 2015.
The Bill, now being considered by the Committee of the Whole House, has gotten new clauses that reinforce the office seen to be weakened by the original Bill, which created the office of Executive Director and Ministers appointed by the President.
Clause 3(2) of the Bill, which was passed by the House scrapped academic qualifications for those seeking to be councilors but retained Advanced Level qualifications for Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor.
Clause 6(a) of the Bill, introduced by the Presidential Affairs Committee Chairperson, Hon Jesca Ababiku seeks to create the position of speaker and deputy speaker.
MPs agreed to support it in principle but MP Muhammad Kivumbi (DP, Butambala) said since chairing council sessions was one of the “few roles exercised by the Lord Mayor,” the proposal should be shelved until the substantive clause relating to the powers of the Lord Mayor is handled.
Ababiku also threw another weight on the position of the Lord Mayor, by promising to propose the creation of an executive appointed by the Lord Mayor from amongst councilors.
MP Betty Nambooze (DP, Mukono Municipality), also Shadow Minister for Information and KCCA, proposed to have the Lord Mayor be referred to, in the Bill, as the political head of the Authority, to which Ababiku accepted, before she was overruled by Deputy Attorney General, Hon Mwesigwa Rukutana.
Rukutana said Kampala enjoys special status in the Constitution under Article 5(4), which he said places the city under the administration of the central government.
The proposal attracted intense criticism from a section of law makers.
MP Nambooze said, “I want the Minister to tell us whether he will include in the Bill that the President of Uganda shall be the political head of the Authority”.Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah counseled on the issue.
“What other name will you give the person elected to be Lord Mayor, if he or she is not the political head of the Authority? The Minister certainly cannot be the political head of the Authority because there is a political process that leads to the election of the Lord Mayor,” said Oulanyah.
The question of who is the political head of the Authority has been among the key catalysts of the catfights between Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and then KCCA Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi.