Parliament passes new KCCA bill giving Lukwago more powers

Parliament has passed the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) (amendment) Bill after doing a lot of surgery on it, to cater to the interests of various stakeholders.

In its initial form, the Government wanted to do away with universal adult suffrage for the election of the Lord Mayor and replace it with an arrangement where a Lord Mayor would be elected by the councillors, among themselves.

The Bill had also proposed to create a Kampala Metropolitan Physical Planning Authority and to take away the task of being the Kampala political head from the Lord Mayor and be given to the Minister for Kampala.

After consulting various stakeholders in the course of handling the Bill, the Parliament presidential affairs committee rejected the above and many other proposals. Parliament, however, passed the proposal in the Bill to take away the legislative role from the Lord Mayor and provide for a speaker of the council, as is the case for other districts, where there are a district chairperson and a speaker.

As a way of compensating the Lord Mayor for taking away the legislative function from him/ her, Parliament, following a proposal from the presidential affairs committee, created an executive committee which will act as the cabinet to carry out executive functions for the council

The Lord Mayor will have to appoint members of the executive committee who will serve on a full-time basis.

The executive committee, which will also include the Deputy Lord Mayor and three other councillors to be appointed by the Lord Mayor, will be responsible for implementing the executive functions of KCCA, including initiating and presenting the KCCA budget.

In the Bill and in the principal Act, the mandate to initiate and present the KCCA budget had been given to the KCCA executive director.

On the Kampala Metropolitan Physical Planning Authority, the committee chairperson, Jessica Ababiku, said the leaders of other districts of Mukono, Wakiso and Mpigi had rejected it, arguing that it would be the creation of authority within an authority, which would create more unnecessary administrative costs.

On a compromise decision, Parliament passed the proposal to provide for a Kampala Metropolitan Physical Planning committee, which will only be coordinating physical planning in conjunction with the lands ministry.

The decision to have the lands ministry on the committee followed submissions from Katikamu North MP Eng. Abraham Byandala and other legislators, who said it is necessary for the relevant ministry in charge of physical planning to be empowered to do proper physical planning for the entire country.

Parliament also threw away the clauses which were providing for councillors representing professional bodies, to align the KCCA council with the councils of other districts, where such councillors do not exist.

Following guidance from the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, that the Lord Mayor, who is voted for by the people of Kampala, should be the political head, Parliament rejected the Government proposal of making the Minister for Kampala the political head and gave the responsibility to the Lord Mayor.

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Patrick Luwagga is the editorial director of cross-platform content for UGANDANZ. He works across the newsroom and with business partners to drive and develop ambitious editorial projects that include digital journalism, video, data research, polling, live events, and thought-leadership series that are supported by outside underwriting. As executive director, he is responsible for the creation of Political news section, prior to joining UGANDANZ, Patrick was the chief editor for the national weekly news magazine of Kasese Times. In that role, he covered several presidential elections, wrote and produced two television documentaries, and was a regular commentator on television and radio news programs. Patrick was born in Masaka and grew up in Kasese. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Makerere University where he was a Knight Foundation journalism fellow.