Councilors want Lord Mayor to be signatory to city contracts
Kampala Capital City Authority Council has resolved that the lord-mayor should witness and append his signature on all contracts awarded under the authority. This was among resolutions approved during the second special sitting to scrutinize the planned implementation of the 1.06 trillion Shillings Kampala City Roads Rehabilitation Project (KCRRP), whose civil works are expected to start next month.
The African Development Bank extended a loan worth USD 288 million (1.065 trillion Shillings) to Uganda towards improving the city road network to solve the traffic congestion problem and enhance its drainage system capacity to avoid flooding. A few days before the start of the project, the city political leadership is questioning the inflated implementation costs as well as the lack of transparency in the entire program and demanded, an explanation from the technical wing.
According to the Kampala City Central Executive Committee-CEC report on road infrastructure projects, the political leaders say that the funds are being diverted to activities, which were not part of the plan. They claim that because of these deviations, the money which would have constructed up to 121 kilometers, will only construct 69.2 kilometers. The report also questions the allocation of up to Shillings 55.315 billion to finance audit by the office of the Auditor General.
To CEC, it is also not clear who is going to receive the Shillings 41 billion earmarked for compensation and resettlement of affected persons yet people along the project roads willingly donated their land to allow the project to continue. The technical wing skipped the first special council meeting that was convened to scrutinize the project implementation, which prompted some councilors to storm the executive director’s office leading to their arrest.
On Friday, the KCCA speaker Zahara Luyirika convened a second meeting over the same matter where the Deputy Executive Director, David Luyimbazi, and Abraham Byamukama, the Director for Engineering represented the technical wing. The council meeting, which first dissolved into the committee of the whole council, tasked the deputy executive director to explain the sighted anomalies in the KCRRP implementation.
Luyimbazi denied claims that the technical team had usurped the powers of the city roads committee, saying they are working in accordance with the governing laws of the city. He also explained that the Shillings 41 billion that shall be provided by the government of Uganda as counterpart funding for the ADB loan, shall be used to acquire land for the construction of a bus depot and a lorry park which are deliverable of the Kampala City Roads Rehabilitation Project.
Dissatisfied with Luyimbazi’s explanation, the committee passed several recommendations, which included rejecting the report presented by the deputy director. The committee also recommended that the council adopts an earlier resolution to ensure that the lord mayor appends his signature as a witness to all contracts, which is in line with the mandate of the political wing.
The committee meeting also recommended having a comprehensive report about this KCRRP project, along with the awarded contacts and the bills of quantities not later than 2nd February 2023, when the next sitting about the matter will take place. When the council resumed, it unanimously adopted the committee recommendations.
The Speaker, Zahara Luyirika, told URN that as the authority’s supreme body and key policymakers, they cannot allow mismanagement of funds, which are intended to improve service delivery to their voters. According to Luyirika, the council will follow the money to the letter and make sure it serves the purpose it was meant for.
Abdul Twaha Chagason, the representative of Nakawa five area raised eyebrows in the meeting when he displayed a camping axe, saying that he had carried it for his protection given what transpired in the first sitting.
“Last time I was brutalized when I did not commit any crime and am now nursing wounds. I came with this weapon to defend myself from any such intrusions,” he said. On seeing the axe, Abraham Byamukama, the director for engineering tried to flee the meeting but was stopped at the doorway by some members, who convinced him to return to the council hall.
After the meeting, there was another standoff as the speaker and Chagason returned to deflated car tires. One of the front tires of the speaker’s car was deflated while Chagason’s car had three flat tires. It is not clear who was behind this mischief.