A new law that significantly trims the powers of the Kampala Lord Mayor has come into force.
President Yoweri Museveni on November 28th 2019 assented to the Kampala Capital City Amendment Bill 2019, which comes into force starting today.
The new Bill unlike most people had anticipated, reduces significantly the powers of the democratically elected Lord Mayor, whereas consolidating those of the Minister for Kampala.
Addressing reporters at Uganda Media Centre, the Minister for Kampala Betty Kamya said her powers as minister couldn’t be trimmed as observers had initially pointed out, because it was her office that crafted the new law.
The bill was introduced by Kamya’s predecessor, now ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze who said it was intended to enrich governance systems in the capital.
The new law among others, provides for a Speaker of the Council, who shall be elected by and from among the Councillors and once elected, the Speaker will appoint a deputy and the role of calling Council and presiding over the meetings of council will now be the prerogative of the Speaker and not the Lord Mayor as it was in the past.
There shall also be a speaker and the deputy speaker at division level who will also be elected by and from among the Councillors.
“The Lord Mayor now will be the chairman of the City Executive Committee and the City Executive Committee will be responsible for the day to day operations of the Council,” Kamya explained.
Another role of the City Executive Committee chaired by the Lord Mayor will be to prepare the Budget and submit it to the speaker and to Council for review and approval.
“Now the Lord Mayor will take the budget to Speaker and the council for debate, review and approval. So Lord Mayor is not part of approval. He will just be presenting to Council for debate and approval.”
Kamya added. “The Lord Mayor will also retain old functions of ceremonial roles of receiving the guests but will also be responsible to the Council and to the Minister. Lord Mayor will be reporting to the Council, that is the speaker and to the Minister.”
“The difference now is that the Lord Mayor can no longer call Council or preside over it. That is the role of the Speaker. This will help to streamline work in KCCA,” She added.
Minister Kamya says the old law didn’t define the Authority well since it defined it as the political wing.
She added that the old law left out the executives who are professionals and technocrats.