Different political analysts have given a number of reasons as to why the National Resistance Movement(NRM) lost in Kampala and Buganda sub region in the last election.
The factors range from government failure to fulfil its pledges to President Museveni’s overstay in power to tribal issues among others.
Whereas the Minister for Kampala, Betty Amongi concurs with some of these reasons, she believe that tribal factor would not have been an issue if the ruling government had focused on the welfare of the people of Kampala more especially the urban poor.
In an interview with The Nile Post, Amongi said that there is still a chance for NRM to win the hearts of the people in Kampala and Buganda at large come 2026. Below are the excerpts.
Why in your view did NRM perform poorly in Kampala?
You see there are political and also economic reasons. The political one is that there was a wave, a wave where (Robert) Kyagulanyi came on board, started a party and being someone who comes from this region, it was really difficult to expect that somebody would not galvanise support where they come from and that is why it is not only isolated to Kampala but was a broader Buganda support. Just like His Excellency also has a political base in the West, if a serious candidate comes from a sub region, they would definitely have a support base in that area. The second issue I think would be that Kampala being a city. We have migrants and almost 5% of people migrate every year to Kampala City. There is lack of jobs and lack of economic support. So the issue of unemployment and the issue of urban poor, I think played a big role towards NRM losing in Kampala.
What should be done to ensure that NRM captures Kampala City come 2026?
We need to focus on the informal sector to bring it into the formal sector of the economy because once we target for example those engaged in welding, carpentry, tailoring, shoe making, mechanics, the urban agriculture, then we can establish artisan places that can have equipment to support them. We have many people who want to start businesses but they don’t have capital. The cost of capital is too high.
A place like Kampala where you don’t have a garden, you don’t have anything, so what supports you is money that you earn from economic ventures, so we are looking at that. We are also looking at supporting peri urban poor with urban farming.
When are you establishing the Kampala Metropolitan City Authority?
The Kampala Metropolitan City Authority was envisaged under the Act of 2010, however, in the new amendment 2020, it was deleted. Amendment decided that the function should be coordinated by the minister of Kampala but set up a ministerial committee composed of the ministries of Land, Local Government and others. This is chaired by minister of Kampala to oversee the physical planning of the Metropolitan area, so the authority was deleted from the Act in the amendment and it was replaced by the minister of Kampala Capital City to be the coordinating person to ensure that the relevant government entities coordinate planning in the metropolitan areas.
Why are there continuous wrangles between the leaders at the authority?
Since I came, I have not had any problem with the lord mayor, we work without any big problem because we all understand our different roles. Probably the conflict with the broader government is majorly political. In most cases a political matter arises where the lord mayor does not agree with the government position and that one you can’t avoid because the lord mayor does not subscribe to the government in power. The government in power will stand by the position of the government and in some circumstances it will also try to stand by its position and that’s is where disagreement can arise
Street vendors are back on the streets. What lasting solution do you have for them?
What we are trying to do is still in work spaces because again the majority of these street vendors are looking for a livelihood, so we are trying to identify land but also to develop the markets that are around Kampala. I have already signed a letter which is going to the minister of Lands and to the Attorney general for us to acquire St Balikuddembe market, Kisekka market and Nakasero market. We want to build these markets maybe to four or five stories and we relocate the vendors to those markets.
How do you plan to decongest the city?
With the issue of taxi parks, we have already started licensing private terminals outside the central business district. We are going to have four terminals in four outlets exiting Kampala: the North, East, West and South shall have terminals where taxis and buses can stop and in future the buses will pick them and bring them to the city. We are only waiting for the buses to start operations.
On the issue of boda boda riders, we have given them an assignment. We had 585 stages which we had identified outside the central business districts because the central business district will have buses, so we have given them opportunities at division level because they requested that they wanted to sit and increase the number of stages based on our mapping. We have given time to do that and soon we are going to call them back and the we agree on a phased manner on how they will move to each of their stages
Is the Shs 40 billion that was put in place for the implementation of the city bus system enough?
The Shs 40 billion actually is not enough but it’s an initial trial which we want to start with and it might even take only ten buses because we will have to deal with the terminals. We have requested Kiira Motors to see whether they can produce the buses.