Kampala — Barely a day to the long awaited city carnival, the Kampala Capital City Authority's (KCCA) technical and political wing are still embroiled in disagreements on how this year's three day event should be managed.
During Wednesday's council meeting at city hall, a heated debate ensued, with city elected leaders headed by Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago querying why the city carnival continues to be sponsored by the private partners yet the institution has the capacity of organizing the same event.
"As leaders of this city, we have no stake in the preparations of the city carnival hence private partners have the powers to determine on how it should be managed, and as a result, it has been branded a Jennifer Musisi event yet it's supposed to be owned up by the institution so that we could use it to reflect on our heritage as a city," Mr Lukwago said.
Mr Lukwago also wondered why the KCCA technical team had hired Tanzanian artiste, Nasseb Abdul Juma commonly known as Diamond Platinumz at a whopping $30,000 (about Shs 108m) to come and perform at the carnival yet the organisers of the event claim the money collected will be used to renovate city dilapidated schools.
He also wondered why the event, whose theme is hinged on cultural diversity, would have a musician from a foreign country yet Uganda has many upcoming artistes whose talent would be boosted by the same event.
"I find it abnormal that you are paying all this money to a single artiste at the expense of our local artistes. I understand the event is being sponsored by the private sector, but why do we spend all this money to one musician?" he asked.
However, Mr Samuel Serunkuuma, the acting deputy KCCA executive director told council that the institution has no powers to determine which artiste to bring to the carnival because the choice is made by the private partners who sponsor the event.
"All the money that will be used in the city carnival was donated by the private partners and this makes it had for us to dictate on what must be done. However, we look forward to having the next city carnivals to be sponsored by the central government and this will help us streamline the whole exercise," he said.
Mr Serunkuma revealed that at least Shs1.3b will be spent on the entire event, adding that the money collected especially from musical concerts will be used to do charity work in the city among which is renovating dilapidated schools. However, councillors disagreed with his excuse.
According to the select committee report dated October 4, 2017, which was compiled on the directive of the Lord Mayor to ascertain the manner in which the previous city carnivals were organized, it revealed that last year's carnival was poorly planned and coordinated.
The report further shows that it's increasingly becoming difficult to fund the city carnivals using private sponsorship since they tend to own up the event at the expense of the Authority.
Mr Kennedy Okello, the chairperson of the select committee reminded the sponsors of the event that they must know that the city carnival is an activity of the Authority and so it shouldn't be tagged to particular individuals like Ms Jennifer Musisi.
"The city carnival wouldn't be a bad idea but we must streamline the whole process because for now, the whole thing isn't clearly managed and as a result, a lot of extravagance happens," he said.
According to the statutory internal audit report for the fourth quarter of FY 2016/17, it was realized that KCCA spent much money than it collected.
Although the budgeted revenue was Shs885, 000,000, the report adds, only Shs522,039,250 (59 percent) was collected from both the sponsors and vendors.
However, KCCA spent Shs 716,771,124, making it 37 percent above the actual revenue of Shs 522,039,250.
The report further shows that there was no Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and sponsorship Benefits Agreements between KCCA and some sponsors.
"... lack of legal binding document between contracting parties may give rise to misunderstandings which may be difficult to resolve, sponsors may take advantage of the absence of MoUs to solicit for benefits that they are not entitled to," reads in part the report.
The Kampala city carnival
The Kampala City Carnival started in 2012 as a platform to rally city dwellers together and celebrate the city. KCCA says the festival is aimed at preserving history and tradition and strives to stimulate the local economy, entertain and involve the community and visitors in a fun-filled atmosphere.