15 December 2012

Uganda: Musisi's Deputy Speaks Out On Graft, Disputes

LAST week, President Yoweri Museveni appointed Dr. Judith Tumusiime Tukahirwa as Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA)'s deputy executive director. She will take charge of administration while the executive director, Jennifer Musisi, will concentrate on finances. Brian Mayanja and Juliet Waiswa talked to her about her new office

Congratulations, who are you?

I am Judith Tumusiime Tukahirwa, married to Edmund Tumusiime, an architect. We have three children. I attended Shimon Primary School and Trinity College, Nabbingo before doing a Bachelor's degree in science education at Makerere University in 1996. My post graduate was in environment and natural science. In 1998, I started teaching Biology and Chemistry at St. Mary's College Kisubi. I did a PhD in Urban Sanitation and Solid waste management from Wageningen University, Netherlands

I later joined the lands ministry as a researcher working under the Lake Victoria Environment project, a World Bank scheme.

In May last year, I was lucky to be part of the KCCA team at the time of its transformation. I was hired as a solid waste management consultant and later, I was appointed acting director public health and environment.

As in charge of administration, what is your game plan on corruption in KCCA?

Zero tolerance! We shall continue to interdict whoever is suspected. We shall work with the few who have high integrity. We do not have control on who gets recruited, but we shall fire the corrupt.

What do you say about the wrangles at KCCA?

I do not expect everyone to embrace the new changes that KCCA came up with. Some are fighting them because they fear change. But I do not think the infighting will deter us from performing our duties. Every institution with two wings cannot agree on every issue.

But the infighting is not as bad as the media portrays it. We have a vision of transforming Kampala into a modern city. I am passionate about improving the quality of services in this city. I am looking at a time when we will have an organised city, ranked among the cleanest in the world.

How do you advise the executive director, Jennifer Musisi and the Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago, to handle their conflicts?

Each one should do his or her roles, according to the KCCA Act. They are clearly stipulated. With you at the helm,

How is service delivery likely to improve?

It is going to be a continuous process. Even before my appointment, I provided technical support to all sectors. My assignment is to monitor five directorates; education, physical planning, public health, gender community services as well as engineering and technical services.

You initiated the Keep Kampala Clean campaign, what more should we expect from you?

I will introduce "Go Green" campaign, where city dwellers, private companies will get involved in planting trees. I will continue enhancing the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) campaign because it is silent in Kampala city. I will also introduce the solid waste management forum, purposely to plan and share ideas of how to manage solid wastes.

And the high unemployment rate among the youth?

We are in the process of developing industrial parks, similar to that at Kalituusi, where vendors are operating. The Government is also disbursing the youth fund through Centenary Bank, graduates, who are organised, are getting this money. KCCA has employed about 3,000 casual labourers, to sweep roads and collect garbage.

As acting health director, you reportedly failed to operationalise Naguru Hospital!

At the moment, Naguru Hospital is being run by the health ministry. Recently, we held a meeting with the stakeholders and agreed that KCCA should take over. We are developing a memorandum of understanding with the ministry and once it is completed, you will see a great improvement.

How will you juggle your role as a wife, mother and the new appointment?

My husband and I have been friends for 30 years. We have been married for over 10 years. So, KCCA affairs cannot affect our relationship. I value my husband because if it was not him, I would not have reached where I am now. He encouraged me to go for further studies, apply for jobs. I love this man to death. I will try to balance office work and family matters

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