I will never forget the day Kampala took to the ballot to vote the mayor of the city. After the long heated campaigns the day had come for the people to decide. There were two iconic figures in the race. Elias Lukwago – an influential member of opposition and Peter Sematimba a businessman, pastor and once a DJ who came on the NRM ticket.
What made the Mayoral contest so exciting was that it came only days after the presidential election, which the opposition insisted, had been rigged. So the opposition members set a new mission – to make it impossible for the NRM to rig the mayoral elections.
At 8Am word had started going around that the vote had been rigged in favor of the NRM candidate. This was almost unbelievable because the polling stations were not supposed to open until 9Am. However at 8Am the ballots were almost full at many of the polling stations around the city.
I suppose NRM had no better way to show how much they loved to have one of their own to head or should I say rule Kampala city. This is probably the most desperate and stupid move NRM has ever made to gain control because in the aftermath Lukwago won the disputed contest with landslide victory.
The ballot was lost but NRM was not about to lose the fight! President Museveni appointed an executive director for the Kampala City Council Authority. Jennifer Musisi became the first Executive Director of this city.
Perhaps Museveni was not concerned about the consequences of his actions but when he appointed Jennifer he wedged a gap in the Kampala City Council Authority creating stiff competition between the Mayor and the Executive Director of Kampala where each is always working to win the people’s support.
Opposition members say that this was part of Museveni’s long-term plan – to control Kampala city. Did I mention that on top of the Lord Mayor and the Executive Director, President Museveni also appointed Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Kampala! Ironic. Right?
The difference between Lukwago and Jennifer is the nature of tactics and resources they use to achieve their objectives. Some people say that Lukwago is using traditional tactics – using his position to win the favour and support of market vendors and taxi drivers. Jennifer on the other hand is using all the resources available at her disposal to appeal to the urban elite who want clean road and less congestion in the city.
I must say that I am quite impressed at how much Jennifer Musisi has accomplished in such a short time. But then again this is her job. And her master appointed her so she can impress people like me. However one thing that I really don’t understand is what does Jennifer’s master want in return? What is his motive? I know he wants something.
My friends say that I should stop criticizing and show appreciation for the things that have been well done. Well, naturally I question a lot.
We live in the world where the devil will give you all the riches you need and yet the same devil will strip you naked, insult you in public and eventually take back everything that belongs to him. So, I question everything, everyone.
I am not saying that the developments changing Kampala’s face for the better are actually a devil’s works but I am certain these developments go beyond political interests. Again whether these are personal interests I wouldn’t know (yet).
To many Ugandans, Kampala is the capital but to politician Kampala is a springboard to power. So, technically if the people of Kampala like you, you can (almost) lead anywhere in this country. Why? Because the people of Kampala are hard to please! But these same people also fall for the smallest of things.
The Lord Mayor of Kampala has been in jail twice in the past week alone. According to a recent KCCA tribunal report, the Lord Mayor was found guilty of abuse of office, incompetence and misconduct. The Mayor was arrested as he attempted to leave his home. Uganda Police suspected that he was planning to organize a rally near Kiseka market, downtown Kampala to brief people about the report, which the mayor maintains is nothing, but blackmail. Many people have predicted that this is the end of Lukwago’s reign.
But Lukwago still claims his position and insists that the people of Kampala voted him into office and that only the voter can determine his fate.
Kampala has become a battleground. The real victims of the fight are the people of Kampala and yet this virtual war seems to be far from over. The increasing fights in the Kampala City Council Authority seem to be between the Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago and the Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi but there seems to be more than what meets the eye. President Museveni has been highly implicated in the fight even though he insists that he is not involved.
One question remains, what does the fall of Lukwago mean to the people of Kampala? Whose win is it? The people? Jennifer Musisi? Or Museveni?
Is it possible that after losing the ballot, NRM is trying to push its luck to control the capital forcefully? Do the people of Kampala have a say in this?
Perhaps I am just being cynical (just like the Lord Mayor) but looking at the events that have unfolded since Lukwago came to office I have a strong feeling that this fight is not about to end.
I am keen to see how this will end.
Simon Kaheru has some interesting commentary here: out with lukwago; you could be next