Voice of America (Washington, DC)

Uganda: Council Members to Expel Uganda Capital, City Leader

Photo: Google
A view of Kampala.

Council members of Uganda's Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) plan to vote Monday to impeach embattled Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, after a tribunal report accused him of incompetence and abuse of office.

A High Court also plans to Monday review Lukwago's petition seeking an injunction to stop the KCCA proceeding, contending that it is illegal and an affront to residents of the city.

Last week, Dr. Kizza Besigye, former presidential candidate for the main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), and Lukwago were detained Tuesday night and charged with inciting violence after attempting to address an "illegal rally."

Lukwago is currently recovering in a hospital following his release from police custody. He says KCC members have yet to officially inform him of their plans to impeach him.

"Incidentally, I have just heard about this. I have not received any official communication from the minister or any other person concerned," said Lukwago.

A local government and public service committee recently launched an inquiry into alleged mismanagement and in-fighting at the KCCA. The investigation led to the report, which accused Mr. Lukwago of incompetence and abuse of office among other charges. Lukwago denies the accusations as politically motivated by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.

"That is absolutely trash and is an insult to me and the people who elected me," said Lukwago. "Ever since I was elected there has been this notion being propagated by the NRM that the law governing KCCA now shifted the power center to the executive director that the Lord Mayor remains ceremonial. I told them that, 'Look you are misinterpreting the law," of course for obvious reasons."

Uganda's parliament recently threw out the report after some opposition lawmakers cited forgeries they said were aimed at implicating Lukwago.

The Lord Mayor also wants the court to throw out the report saying "failure to do so will amount to a travesty of justice." He blames President Yoweri Museveni's ruling NRM of a plot to remove him from power in spite of a constitutional requirement that demands the position of the city's Lord Mayor be contested and won on a popular vote.

"This has not always been in his favor that is why he is using [tactics] outside the parameters of the law to throw me out," said Lukwago.

But supporters of the ruling party rejected Lukwago's accusations as baseless. But Lukwago insists Mr. Museveni threatened at a recent event to ensure he is expelled from his position.

"He sent out a very loud and clear message that to me that unless and until I apologize to him, am not going to remain at post. And that he is ready to work with me on condition that I apologize. And I have always asked which offense did I commit Mr. President, which warrants an apology from me?," asked Lukwago.

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