Monitor: I’m finished, says Kampala Lord Mayor Lukwago
Kampala- Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago yesterday said he is resigned to being kicked out of his seat, and has no option but to prepare for by-election.
Speaking to journalists in Kampala, Mr Lukwago claimed that the government had finalised a plan to implement recommendations of a probe report to kick him out.
The Lord Mayor’s two-and-half years at City Hall have been characterised by disagreements with the technical team, led by KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi, on how projects and funds are managed.
According to Mr Lukwago, he had received information that the tribunal, which the minister for Kampala, Mr Frank Tumwebaze, instituted, had “falsely implicated him on two counts of failure to convene Authority meetings and signing minutes”.
The tribunal, which was headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, according to Mr Lukwago, is set to release its report next week.
“Following my refusal to apologise for crimes that have never been particularised, President Museveni has sanctioned political machinations to oust me before the end of this month,” Mr Lukwago said.
He added: “I can state categorically that I am privy to the content of the report and they have falsely implicated me on two counts but I am not shaken. I am now preparing for the by-elections.”
Government Media Centre boss Ofwono Opondo yesterday dismissed Mr Lukwago’s allegations as empty speculation.
But Mr Luwkago said: “The reason for the delay to release the report is that representatives of professional bodies have not yet been elected and they are doing all the political manoeuvres to do it at the shortest time possible.”
He further claimed that the Electoral Commission has already set November 19 as the date for the election.
The mayor said the time during which the tribunal was supposed to release its findings expired on June 14, and Mr Tumwebaze had no mandate to renew it .
“That report is null and void and has no legal consequence because the minister had no mandate to amend the rules of procedure of the tribunal,” he said .
The Lord Mayor claimed that plans were also underway to give $10,000 (about Shs25 million) to each of the city councilors to support a motion to dislodge him .
“After the elections for councilors representing the four professional bodies, their [government] next step will be for the minister to call an Authority meeting to throw me out,” he said.
Ready for re-election
Mr Lukwago said if government succeeds in throwing him out, he will stand for re-election and in two weeks time, conduct a national assembly to launch his campaign programme and manifesto.
“I am ready to go back and renew my mandate. Let President Museveni and his proxies prepare their candidate for a show down. All I am craving for is fair play and respect for the rule of law,” he said.
Efforts to talk to Mr Tumwebaze were futile as his phone was switched off , but Mr Opondo, said Mr Lukwago’s utterances were baseless and should be ignored.
“In fact, if he says that he is ready for a by-election, let him resign now,” Mr Opondo said.
Mr Opondo said Mr Tumwebaze is not privy to the contents of the tribunal report until it is officially handed over to him. Mr Lukwago also took a swipe at Uganda Law Society where he is a member for supporting a “sham electoral process ”.
“Several practicing advocates petitioned ULS for an extra ordinary general assembly to look into this matter but it is a pity that its governing council, which had initially contested the legality of the said election, has been finally cajoled into this fraudulent exercise,” he said.
However, ULS vice president Ernest Kalibala said Mr Lukwago had not formerly complained to them. “The Lord Mayor has not yet formally complained to us or written to us, I can’t make a comment on the basis of what you are telling me,” he said.
Early this year, Mr Lukwago survived being thrown out of City Hall after a motion by ruling NRM legislators to dislodge elected leaders in Kampala, failed to go through.
The move was based on a committee report that alleged that they had mismanaged funds and their internal bickering was holding back many city development programmes.
Mr Lukwago, a DP member, who stood as an Independent, was elected Lord Mayor and assumed office in May 2011 after a hotly-contested race that pitted him against five candidates, including NRM’s Peter Sematimba.
THE LAW & MAYOR’S REMOVAL PROCESS
Minister’s power: Section 12 (17) of the KCCA Act empowers the minister for Kampala, after receiving the tribunal report, to convene an Authority meeting within 14 days.
KCCA’s role: The motion for a resolution for the removal of the Lord Mayor is then moved to KCCA within 14 days after the minister receiving the report, and failure to do so renders the resolution time barred.
Right of appeal: The mayor is allowed to appear in person or be represented by his lawyer during the proceedings of the Authority.
If a decision is taken to remove him from office, he has a right to appeal to the High Court within 21 days and court may confirm or revoke the decision of the Authority .