In 2019, the opposition led by the ‘People’s Government’ which is headed by former FDC leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, dragged President Museveni to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged human rights abuse and violations among others.
According to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, crimes against humanity include murder, extermination, enslavement, torture, enforced disappearance of persons and imprisonment among others.
In an interview with The Nile Post, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago said that crimes such as brutality against members of the opposition, the attack on Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere’s palace in Kasese and the invasion of the Parliament by the army during the age limit debate. Excerpts below.
In your view what should be done to restore the deteriorating political situation in the country?
Nothing else right now but institutionalisation of reign of terror. Right now all the institutions of the state are focusing on protecting Mr Museveni in power and they are acting on the fears of one individual because right now Mr Museveni is paranoid. Actually the problem is paranoia, it is the one that causes all what you are witnessing right now. Mr Museveni is paranoid.
If domestic institutions cannot bring Museveni under control, what should be done?
It’s all about other states getting interested in what is taking place in Uganda. Let me tell you we subscribe to different agencies and international forums. The Commonwealth, the United Nations, the Africa Union, the East African Community and the ICC among others.
All these international agencies have to pick interest in what is going on right now to deal with deteriorating political situation in the country.
They have to carry out an audit on the human rights records of Uganda and of Mr Museveni and to call to order whoever is involved. They should begin summoning one by one.
Unless we have the intervention of the ICC, the intervention of the international community, the situation is going to run out of hand because right now we are on the verge of becoming a failed state. That is how Somalia became a failed state.
We need intervention of foreign forces to bring force to bear on him. Domestic institutions cannot bring Museveni under control.
What happened to the unity in diversity effort that was launched to unite opposition before and after 2021 general election?
That initiative was being spearheaded by our elder Dr Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere and of course there were a lot of challenges even the fact that we were in that electioneering period where there were a lot of contradictions.
Different political players, political parties were sponsoring different candidates and we failed on one of the targets to come out with a single candidate against Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. But at least there is a lot that we achieved in that common front.
At least we came up with a single voice against the injustices and also the kind of programmes we came up with to advance the common agenda and that effort is still ongoing.
There are meetings currently going on being spearheaded by Dr Ssemogerere involving a number of political parties and formations.
How are you going to work with the council that will be dominated by National Unity Platform(NUP) members?
Have you heard them addressing themselves to have a fight against me? I have not heard any of them putting their arms in gloves against me not even their principal. Honestly speaking, we belong to the same side of the political divide. We are all part of the oppressed community in this country.
We share the same values. We share the same mission and the vision and the agenda to transform and liberate this country.
Yes, there was that element of competition during the electioneering period but when it comes to pursuing the common agenda there is minimum you can agree on. I am sure there will be no contradiction.
Some people claim that you are only good at complaining other than delivering services to the people of Kampala
So, if you have an oppressed regime what do you do? What you people call complaining is part of my work. If you look at the mandate of the lord mayor, one of the key roles of the lord mayor is to be the political head and the role of a political head is to give political guidance.
What you are misconstruing as complaining is essential. Where I feel like the regime is has gone wrong, I come out. Go and see terms of reference as they are broken down within the KCCA structure, what is entailed in the docket of the lord mayor as the political head of the city apart from policy formulation, playing the oversight role and apart from exercising the executive powers? I am obliged to give political guidance to the people of Kampala and Ugandans at large in all aspects of life.
I will continue because the regime is still in place.
How will you settle the unending wrangles at the authority between the politicians and the technocrats?
That is service delivery as well. You people have a narrow perception of what is called services delivery. What is service delivery? If I come and I fight bad policies, isn’t that service delivery? If I speak against injustices, isn’t that service delivery? I am offering service to fight injustice.
I am offering service to fight for the rule of law and accountability. I am saying there should be value for money, isn’t that service delivery? I don’t know how you people want to quantify service delivery. Service delivery is reflected in so many ways.
It can be in terms of fighting injustices. It can be in terms of advocating for good policies. It can be in terms of offering guidance to the people of Kampala. Service delivery is not only restricted in fixing roads, constructing the drainage systems, providing street lights, it is not about civil works only.
What is your view about Muhammad Ssegirinya’s alleged forged academic documents?
I don’t know what is all about. I have not taken time to study the gist of the matter. I am just following from a distance. I have not engaged any of them and I have not taken time to scrutinise any of those documents. Generally speaking, I have scanty information about that.
What plan to you have for the people of Kampala in your new term?
Basically as we have always told you, we are at the stage towards laying the foundation of Kampala and that’s why I have spent most of my time during the previous terms working on different plans such as structural plan, the master plan, the street lighting plan, the green infrastructure plan, education plan, multimodal-transport plan and so many others.
We have launched quite a number of those plans because I want you to appreciate that transformation of Kampala into a modern city had to start with planning and that is the biggest challenge we have had. Now we have come up with, a five-year strategic plan 2021-2025 which is anchored on the National Development Plan.
What are some of those key deliverables contained in the plan?
Key amongst those ones is finishing the structural plan so that we get to understand the direction the city is taking. Without a robust and vibrant institution you can’t deliver on the mission of transforming Kampala into a vibrant functional, inclusive and liveable city because that is the mission and vision of KCCA.
We need to do that to build a functioning institution and I am very proud of that because I really struggled under difficult circumstances .
You know this regime has killed many institutions and I had to struggle as much as possible to ensure that at least in KCCA there are some functional systems and that struggle still continues because it is those systems that will deliver the city you want.
From those systems you will do the planning, you have policy formulation and you will also have accountability systems.
Without accountability, there is no way you will have value for money and that’s why I have always struggled to ensure that there are functional systems. The major drainage channels in Kampala must be constructed if we are to get rid of floods in Kampala.