Uganda: Kawempe Mayor Petitions Lukwago Over Taxes, KCCA Staff Harassment

The mayor of Kawempe Division, Mr Emmanuel Sserunjogi, has petitioned Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago over what he calls deliberate sabotage of his division by the KCCA technical wing.

In a June 5 petition, Mr Sserunjogi said his political wing has been denied the constitutional responsibilities of managing the affairs of Kawempe Division.

"I am writing this letter to express my concerns together with the Council and all the local leaders because our efforts to exercise our constitutional duties are getting sabotaged by the technical staff as I had earlier on expressed some of them to you," Mr Sserunjogi says.

The Kawempe mayor adds: "There is total mismanagement of the division and I would like to call your immediate action before the situation runs out of our hands."

At the centre of contention are the issues of property rate, centralisation of revenue collection at KCCA and harassment of vendors by the law enforcement officers. Also of concern to the mayor is the issuance of fake licences and receipts by KCCA officials to the traders in Kawempe Division.

Mr Sserunjogi also cites collection of new property rates which he says was rushed without due sensitisation of the local communities.

He wants KCCA to start the process afresh. He also claims KCCA officials who conducted the valuation exercise for property rates were incompetent and failed to work with the local leaders during the exercise.

"Therefore, following all the above findings and resolutions, we conclude that there is need to review that whole property valuation exercise in the division as soon as possible," Mr Serunjoji states in the petition.

He blames KCCA for removing Kawempe Division's power to collect taxes, which he said has denied them revenue.

He says KCCA introduced E-CITIE tax management system but its integrity has been compromised.

He also accuses some KCCA officials of issuing forged licence certificates for businesses. He says while KCCA collects different taxes such as local service tax, hotel tax, taxi licences and taxi fees, only the last two are reflected on the E-CITIE platform, while the others are managed manually, making them prone to abuse.

"Let the tax collection be decentralised to the divisions and a forensic investigation audit be carried out on E-CITIE management," he says.

Mr Sserunjogi also accuses KCCA of failure to remit 35 per cent of grants and taxes locally collected back to the lower local councils to run their projects.

He says since the local councils were instituted, they have never received any penny from KCCA for their operations.

He also castigates the KCCA physical planning department for incompetence and failing to manage construction projects within the city.

On the law enforcement team, Sserunjogi says the team has caused untold suffering to the people of Kawempe and carry out operations without consulting the division leaders and beyond working hours.

"They manhandle the vendors and confiscate their goods plus arresting them. Basing on information I get, the biggest percentage of prisoners that are sent to Luzira are charged by KCCA. This ongoing unresolved situation has become a daily irritant in our division's operations, and I would deeply appreciate your immediate intervention in handling these matters at the earliest," he concludes.

KCCA responds

Our attempts to contact Kampala Lord Mayor Lukwgo were unsuccessful because he was reported to be out of the country on official duties.

The Deputy Lord Mayor, Ms Sarah Kanyike, said she had not received Serunjoji's petition, but that once it is received, they will address the issues raised.

In a separate interview with NTV last night, the KCCA spokesperson, Mr Peter Kaujju, said as the technical team, they will investigate the matters raised by the mayor. "There is no one above the law. Let him address the matters through the available structures. We shall follow them up to find the root cause and forge a way forward," he said.

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