When Jennifer Musisi was appointed executive director of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), which followed Kampala City Council (KCC), she seemed well armoured to repel any manner of attack from all aggrieved parties.

She was like the skilled soup eater who chooses not to dip her lips directly into the steaming dish for fear of scalding her mouth, or even face, but eats from the sides.

The skill of not being orthodox in the way she carries out her duties has won her enemies and friends alike. But most importantly, it is a skill that has made her deliver amidst adversity, while the influence of her knockers seems to be fading.

For instance, the power jostling between Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Musisi has left the former’s status at the White hall wobbly. Lukwago was impeached in a dodgy special authority meeting last year. His fate is yet to be decided by the courts of law.

Musisi has decided to carry on work with or without the approval of the lord mayor and the authority.

Last week while hosting some of us to a breakfast engagement at the City hall, I asked her whether she thought the authority (council) was still relevant in management of the city, to which she replied that an amendment to KCCA Act was in offing and it would sort out major impediments.

The authority has not sat for almost two years, but this has not stopped the city from getting the facelift. Had Musisi chosen to stick to the rules and dictates of politicians, perhaps Kampala would have become impassable.

Of course, we need rules and we should have a body that supervises the bureaucracy at the White hall, else we get carried away by their ‘good’ things. She has an ambitious plan of reducing congestion by introducing buses and cable cars- hoping that there will be a steady supply of electricity.

She wants to rid the city of boda boda riders, but she indicated to us that there was some political shouldering. She didn’t mention them, but it is common knowledge that often President Museveni has come to the rescue of his these riders whenever the police or the city authorities decide to chase them out of the city.

With such a history, and with the 2016 general election winking, that idea may not be implemented until after 2016. These riders are looked at as great mobilisers for votes. Kampala was known for its beautiful seven hills and the elusive impala.

There is no zoo in Kampala or statues to remind the residents and visitors of such presence of animals. Even the impala that once graced the city emblem was removed when the authority rebranded.  It may appear an uphill task to make a memorable postcard about Uganda.

We have block upon block of featureless   brick and concrete structures. But now Musisi says they will erect statues of different animals at different strategic points. The Uganda Wildlife Authority and Uganda Wildlife Education Centre want to reintroduce animals in the city.

So they want the city to zone out some areas for that activity. The Centenary park is still engulfed in controversy but Musisi says court is yet to resolve the matter. And there are plans to turn it into a green area. Already, an independent garden adjacent to Sheraton hotel will be remodelled and open to the public with some modern restaurants.

As she basks in apparent victory, Musisi still has a lot to untangle. First, the attitude of the city dwellers and users is very annoying. Many buildings and structures, which were approved by the city authority, offend the Planning Act.

Once she had the nerves to crack hard on those with illegal structures, but that vigour seems to be waning or it has evaporated. We have land mafias who manipulate the city leases to their own benefit; she needs to crack the whip on them.

Her authority and execution of it has to be predictable, reasonable and fair. One group can’t be treated differently from another. The city enforcement officers need to improve on their practices and handle people with dignity, or they will provoke violence from the aggrieved city dwellers and vendors.

Some of them are involved in outright theft or collusion of it.  We still have city dwellers, whose outlook and conduct is of pre-stone age. They spit, drop rubbish, and trample on the lawns. Musisi needs to come up with a social and economic plan to curb crime in the city.

But above all, she and her team need to bury the hatchet with the council members.  These are people’s representatives, and until the law makes their presence irrelevant, they need respect and teamwork for the betterment of the city.

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Twitter: @piuskm

The author is the finance director, The Observer Media Ltd.


0 #1 pacol 2014-02-03 11:53
Pius! You seem to agree that the is no rule of law in Uganda.

JM is the puppet of a thuggish regime for that alone her efforts though tangibly apparent is just a ruse to maintain this thief called M7 in power!

i wish you guys can tell her to her face or adk her to resign.
+1 #2 naboma 2014-02-04 09:59
If i didnt think that you are just trying to be academic in your aguement Pius I would be disappointed in you for praising musisi.

You admit she has broken all the rules of public management and facelifted kampala and you think that is commendable. How commendable is that? How can someone be agood leader if he does not respect the laws governing an institution as long as they are fair laws jeered at development and good governance?
0 #3 Remase 2014-02-04 11:28
Katunzi, in base ball, it's three strikes and you are out. The first one was when you heaped unnecessary and uncalled for praise to Kagina, and now you are again effusive with words to praise Jennifer Musisi.

I don't know what these two ladies gave you, but whatever it is, it must be good or you just have a thing for these two ladies from the URA. You have stated that Musisi is not following the law.

That is a known fact about M7's entire govt and that is why our country is in deep sh..t. We have a court order that stated that Lukwago's impeachment is not valid, but Musisi, who is a lawyer and knows what a court order is, has disregarded it.

The other day KCAA was grilled about money that was missing, shady and/or inflated contracts. Money payed for poor work or no work done, all under Musisi. Now she is talking about high jacking the city from the elected mayor because she knows that she can't win over the Kampala people. You have one strike and you will loose me completely.
0 #4 Lakwena 2014-02-04 16:31
Pius, Unless you are being cynical, how do you praise Musisi for window dressing and whitewashing (nothing) the tomb full of rotten bones?

Just like Rome was sacked by Barbarians; Kampala is a city taken over, and being ruined by NRM Barbarians, Vandals, Vikings and the Goths.

E.g. for first time I have never heard of city without a Mayor, unless a country is in a state of war; which has only happened in Uganda in time of peace (pseudo).

That is the barbarism am talking about. The anarchy and barbarism of a country is reflected in the capital city.
0 #5 Lakwena 2014-02-04 16:33
Go to the markets, public transit areas like taxi parks and side walks; from 3 O'clock until past 10:00pm they become vegetable and fruits markets, sharing space with hollering taxi tauts travelers, pedestrians and the smoky rickety taxis.

Whether during rain or shine, these places are hell on earth. One time a saw some backpack foreign tourists at the Old Taxi Park: as if they were in the game of Kwepena, they jumped, hopped and skipped muddy water puddles, until they reached the stage to board for their destination.

I could see in their faces grimaces of disgust, curses and disappointments . I was ashamed of my country, the Pearl of Africa being trampled under the foot of swines.

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