Museveni has always wanted to win Kampala back from opposition but failed. Of recent, Minister for Kampala Betty Kamya promised him that and President’s political ambitions over weighed Musisi’ developing Kampala
After seven years at the helm of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), MS Jennifer Musisi on Monday resigned putting behind years of political fights with Lukwago, Kampala Affairs Minister, Betty Kamya and public spats from President Museveni.
In her 21-page resignation communication to the president, Ms Musisi did not specify reasons for her departure but listed a few challenges and achievements since 2011 when she assumed office as KCCA Executive Director.
At loggerheads with the President
Although, she cited competing political interests against strategic decision making, inadequate and poor funding to meet government and public expectations, lack of critical permanent staff to perform the duties, political fights and lack of political support to perform her duties and interference in her work, sources at State House and KCCA, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Ms Musisi had increasingly got distressed by political blame games by the President.
After Mr Museveni lost elections in Kampala in 2016, he publicly blamed his defeat on Ms Musisi’s highhandedness on the city voters
The President at a press briefing at his country home in Rwakitura said he had lost elections in Kampala due to Ms Musisi’s “poor tactics” in running the city, citing the harsh eviction of hawkers off the streets.
Sources further say Ms Musisi had become increasingly frustrated that while she was being blamed for not doing enough to instil orderliness in the city, many of her technical decisions intended to achieve have been unfairly and arbitrarily blocked by the President or Ms Kamya, the latest being the halting of demolition of illegal buildings in the city by KCCA.
While Ms Musisi had issued a list of more than 500 buildings to be demolished, Ms Kamya a few days later, halted the move and said more time was needed for consultations.
“The purpose of this letter is to request you to put on hold the demolition of buildings’ programme until we have held the proposed harmonisation meeting between KCCA executive and division mayors,” Ms Kamya’s letter to Ms Musisi reads in part.
Earlier, the minister had also directed Ms Musisi to effect a pay raise for city councillors but the latter ignored the decision on account that KCCA did not have the money for it.
Between 2010 and 2015, KCCA embarked on registration of all boda boda cyclists in the city in order to streamline their operations and regulate the industry. The authority said the cyclists had become a menace. However, police stopped the exercise.
However, behind these incidents are contradictions on Museveni-Musisi relations. On several occasions, the President had praised Ms Musisi of transforming the city.
While officiating at the NRM anniversary celebrations in January 2012, President Museveni praised Ms Musisi for the transformational work she was doing in Kampala.
“You all can see what Jennifer Musisi has achieved in a short time. We need about 2,000 Musisis to lead the ministries, districts and sub-counties in the war against corruption,” he said.
However, since then, latent friction has been building up between the two, with the Presidnt quashing many technical decisions by Ms Musisi.
In April this year, the President quashed the KCCA directive on taxation of taxi operators. While KCCA had proposed Shs120,000 per taxi per month, the President scrapped it and ordered a payment of Shs720,000 annually, which would translate into Shs60,000 a month.
Sources said this reversal upset Ms Musisi who complained that while she was being accused of not expanding the revenue base for KCCA, her genuine efforts to raise money were being thwarted by the President.
Our sources also said for about a year, Ms Musisi had not stepped at State House and each time the President would ask Ms Kamya, she would say the KCCA executive head had other engagements. This claim could not be independently verified.
In her resignation letter, Ms Musisi cited inadequate financing to KCCA. However, this runs contrary to the fact that KCCA has received marked and progressive increase in budget funding since 2011 when its predecessor, Kampala City Council, was phased out.
The KCCA budget has grown from a paltry Shs48b during KCC final years to Shs461.5b in the current financial year.