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Chaos as councillors block KCCA boss from leaving City Hall over road contracts

The KCCA political and technical wing are fighting over the road contracts

The KCCA political and technical wing are fighting over the road contracts

A Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) council meeting at City Hall was Thursday plunged into chaos after the invited contractors refused to reveal details of their contracts and also failed to present their identification documents.

Speaker Zahra Luyirika had invited contractors of the roads to be constructed with funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to discuss their contracts and those from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP II) which were recently completed.

This had been resolved during the previous February sitting after the technical staff at KCCA said they couldn't avail to the council copies of contracts entered with the contractor for fear of infringing on the privacy of the parties in the contracts. The council had demanded for the contracts after queries emerged that figures had been inflated and that there were unfavourable terms that could cost the taxpayer huge losses.

On Thursday afternoon, the deputy executive director Eng David Luyimbazi Ssali attended council together with a team of contractors from three companies. One of the members was Kenneth Mandela Natumanya who introduced himself as the assistant project manager of China State Engineering Company contracted to construct among others; Muteesa 1 road, Wamala, Kabega Kayemba and Bulange junction.

The others introduced themselves as Geo, a chief engineer and Milo Jah both from China Railway 18th Bureau, a company contracted to construct roads such as Suna 1 and 2 and the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th street of the Industrial Area. The other identified himself as Wang from China Communications Construction Company, Ltd (CCCC) which is reconstructing Muyenga road, Masiro road, Sentema 1 and 2, Nsambya road and others.

The plenary started with the council asking Luyimbazi to present the contracts as had been asked in the previous council. After repeated demands, he said that his team was still working to bring the contracts but more than 20 minutes later, there were still no contracts to show. The deputy lord mayor Doreen Nyanjura asked Luyimbazi how long it would take for the contracts to be brought to the council.

"Colleagues, clearly we're being taken for granted, and personally, I think that at a personal level and I also believe at the level of the honourable councillors here, we have better things to do and I'm tired of this you know, hide and seek. The first time they tell you; we're bringing the contractors, we have written to the solicitor general. Today the deputy ED turns up and says I have just returned leave, I don't have instructions. We cannot proceed like this and clearly, this is intended to frustrate our efforts so that we give up on demanding for accountability," said Nyajura.

A few minutes earlier, some documents had been brought to Luyimbazi but later withdrawn. Asked to explain, he said the contracts had been brought in their full form, including the people's signatures, details they were not comfortable sharing.  

When it became apparent that Luyimbazi would not immediately present to the council the contracts as signed, the council decided to ask the team from contracting companies to talk about the contracts they secured including if in their opinion, there was something private about them that they couldn't be fully presented before the council.

Mandela who had introduced himself as the assistant project manager of China State Engineering Company took the microphone to say that he couldn't comment on the contracts as it would violate their reporting protocol.

He said that to talk to their clients, they go through the AfDB project engineer but not directly as they were being asked to do. Before he could explain further, council members rose in protest, wondering why they came to the council if they knew they couldn't provide any answers. Other councillors questioned if these were indeed representatives of the contractors.

It's then that one of the councillors; Francis Mbaziira proposed that the representatives present their documents of identification. The two men from China Railway 18th Bureau used this temporary chaos to sneak out of the building.

When calm was restored, only Mandela from China State Engineering Company and Wang from CCCC were present. Mandela presented his work ID which indicated that he was a social development manager at the company, contrary to his earlier introduction as an assistant manager.

Wang didn't have a physical ID, and presented a work permit on his phone which had even expired. According to the permit, it was valid for two years from September 7, 2020, to September 7, 2022. This immediately raised questions among council members who started to shout that impersonators had evaded the council. They accused Luyimbazi of bringing brokers to hoodwink the house.

The two men representing contractors and Luyimbazi too attempted to leave the council but were blocked off by councillors. Not even Luyimbazi's two personal guards couldn't walk him out despite the assistance from two other security personnel also from the Counter Terrorism Unit.

For over 10 minutes, there was chaos in the council with members shouting at the top of their voices while others sounded an alarm that "thieves" who invaded the council be immediately arrested.  

Before long, police emerged and made an attempt to access the council hall, but councillors including the deputy speaker Nasur Masaba and Abdul Chagason exhibited great determination after more councillors joined them and they blocked the entrance and exit points. Later, police officers in ordinary police uniforms conceded defeat, with one joining the audience in the gallery but not the council hall.

Chaos in the council

Later, the house came to order and the lord mayor Erias Lukwago made a statement, urging the councillors to stay calm and asking Eng. Luyimbazi to cooperate and present the contracts for scrutiny by the council.

He wondered why they needed to edit the documents instead of presenting them in their original format for the house's discussion. He said that the conduct of councillors is an indication of the pain they bear and the seriousness of the matter at hand.

"The arrogance with which you treat members and the way you treat matters will not help. It doesn't help matters. Secondly, the issue of accountability should be taken seriously. One of the key functions of this institution is to play an oversight role. The members you see here, we account back to the people. When you deny us information here, you go out there, I have listened time and again on radio when you undermine some of us that members here are doing nothing, it is the technical people who are working. That does not auger well with the functioning of the institution and the way we execute our duties here. I think what has happened, what has transpired is an expression of people's feelings and sentiments that look; it is enough being undermined, it is enough being insulted," said Lukwago.

In her address after the impasse, speaker Luyirika also noted that the reaction of the councillors demonstrated the pain in their hearts. She however apologized to the said representatives of contractors and assured them of their safety while in the house.

She instructed Luyimbazi to avail her office with a list of all contractors for the three projects. The sitting fully resumed and it was resolved that the executive director be given another chance to bring all contracts of three projects and failure to cooperate, it was decided that a vote of no confidence would be passed against the executive director.

It was also resolved that in the next sitting, the invited contractors or their representatives present their invitation letters to the council and in case of representatives, come with clear identification and proof of delegation. Also, Wang, one of the representatives of the contractor be handed over to the Department of Immigration and Citizens Control for staying in the country illegally.

Another resolution was that all members of the public procurement and disposal unit and the contracts committee of KCCA appear before the council in the next sitting to explain how the recent AfDB contracts were issued. The next special sitting to discuss the matter shall sit on March 30.


+1 #1 Akot 2023-03-10 12:49
To whom will Uganda finally belong, Museveni & family, or to another migrant & family?

How can Ugandans live like foreigners, migrants, refugees ignorant of what goes on, in the zone formed by their tribal lands & what legacy will they leave to their children, grand kids, born as refugees?

37 years still counting, why is Museveni at peace while Ugandans fight themselves, fight unknown enemies who want to own what belong to them?

Tribal leaders don't have control of their lands, their subjects pay paxes to Museveni, but they don't understand they too, their kids, grand children are foreigners confined in their good houses & will be so for good!

Why are Ugandans still powerless tribally divided ruled by migrant Museveni, who will leave the seat to his son finally?
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0 #2 Akot 2023-03-10 13:12
This is not different from what goes on with Total, Shell... that own oil in Africa & ensure their own countries are served with tax on money they steal by owning African oil!

Uganda is next in line as Toatl will own oil, pay off Museveni & provide tax to France, while poor Ugandans look on!

Total is already buying off blind Uganda villagers by building them fake houses that cost them nothing!

Sudanese Idi Amin ordered UEB, Coffee MB to give him money, but Museveni assures Uganda doesn't own any company!

Shell, Total...bosses are so so rich, their home countries receive millions that go for public/social services!

What do, Uganda, Angola...people get form their land riches owned/controlled by Total, Shell...?
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+1 #3 kabayekka 2023-03-10 13:59
Typical of Uganda politicians lost in the corruption tentacles of a very corrupt government.

What if these contractors have State House visas to work in this country paka last?
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+1 #4 Kasolo Kafumisi-KK 2023-03-10 15:29
in local governments, technical staff share works contracts with district leaders for works being executed.

Why cant the KCCA councilors receive copies of the said contracts?...why such a simple matter cause such kavuyo?
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+3 #5 PaulM 2023-03-11 10:56
I am impressed by the determination of these councilors in demanding accountability for these highly inflated contracts.

How can a Km of single-lane road cost 14Bn? Is it paved with diamonds or gold?
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0 #6 kambarage 2023-03-12 03:59
Debate, NUP style. These guys are not meant to be leaders. They even debate in Luganda in a cosmopolitan setting! How are the minutes recorded?

Lack of decorum just. Kampala should vote decent people next round. These NUP guys are just too unqualified. This is what is happening across the councils where they won elections. Lubaga, Makindye, Wakiso etc fights in council and lack of understanding of technical documents, using them to look for political points.

For each budget, they look for the total figure and use it the way they want... to lie to the public. The KCCA decision to deny them full contracts is based on that experience but luckily, also backed by the law which makes it optional to share contracts. That's why Lord Mayor is not making much noise.
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