For the past few years, several commentators including former NRA fighters have been comparing the NRM excesses to the previous regimes, saying Museveni has lost the clout and accepted the same ills that the country witnessed in the ’70s and early ’80s to supersede his leadership.
Many commentators point to the political intolerance, high levels of corruption, some security officials brutalising the population, bogged down service delivery among others.
The Kampala Deputy Lord Mayor Doreen Nyanjura seems to agree with this notion.
While speaking to the Nile Post in an interview, Nyanjura claimed that there is nothing good president Museveni’s regime has done nothing good compared to that of Idi Amin Dada
As one of the leaders in Kampala? What plans do you have to address the sorry state of roads in the city?
A lot is happening. You are seeing potholes in the city because Kampala has never been treated as a priority by the central government. We run the city on behalf of the central government. Much as we collect the revenue, the revenue does not stay here. The revenue goes to the consolidated fund.
The money that is generated from Kampala is not the money that is generated by KCCA but the money that is generated from Kampala we only get back less than 1% and we are saying Kampala contributes over 70% to the entire GDP.
Had it not been for the World Bank, had it not been for the African Devolepment Bank, even the few roads that you see in Kampala would not be in existence. So, the roads that we have, it’s because we have donors who have decided to give us some funding. For this financial year, it(KCCA) only received Shs 26 billion from the government to do road maintenance. Of course, 26 billion is just a drop in the ocean.
We don’t get funding but even the money that is received from donors is also misappropriated.
There is also a challenge on how contracts are awarded and we are currently reviewing all the contracts to understand whether the contracts are being given to the right people because we don’t understand how someone constructs a road before it is even launched, it has already developed potholes.
What should be done in this case?
What I think needs to be done is that Kampala needs to be treated as a priority because this is the only capital city that we have. A capital city should indeed be reflected, capital city should be a capital city and not a modern village.
We have a strategic plan which we launched two years ago. That strategic plan says that for Kampala to be the city that we treasure, we need seven trillion shillings. So it does not make sense for KCCA to only be allocated 430 billion Shillings, which means a lot is left to be desired.
We have petitioned Parliament and told them money is being stolen in road construction. We have taken the same report to the IGG (Beti Olive Kamya) to tell her that there is money that is being swindled. So they need to follow up.
Have you received the 6 billion shillings that was promised by the president to fix these roads in the city?
We have not yet received the six billion. 6 billion is just a drop in the ocean because most of the roads are already beyond their lives span and they can no longer be punched. So, when you give Shs 6 billion and you are telling us that a kilometre costs between 10 to 15 billion, and then what are you telling us? You are giving us money to go and punch roads that can no longer be punched. So, I am not excited about the six billion.
How far with the KCCA plan to remove taxi touts from the road side?
We have a lot of plans but we also have a lot of challenges that when you are planning to do one thing, something new comes up. When you are planning maybe to build on markets, then, there is a problem of garbage collection.
By the way, being a leader in the city it’s quite challenging. Now, before we talk of those taxi touts where exactly are we taking them? Do we have enough parks? For example, for a very long time, we have been grappling with the taxis that operate from outside the Usafi market. There is a park in Usafi market but the taxi (operators) have refused to go there, saying when they go there, they don’t get customers.
So, have we addressed the reason as to why customers do not go to Usafi? So you will see that those are some of the reasons we have not yet addressed. It is the same thing about the boda boda riders.
With the rainy season, what are you doing to prevent water borne disease in low lying areas of the city?
Well, I believe that is largely technical. But as KCCA we have health inspectors who do inspections and they are supposed to assess the hygiene on the ground, what is happening? Of course, they are also constrained but we also have leadership at the division levels. We have councillors; we have the LC1 chairpersons who are also supposed to make sure that we have some level of hygiene.
But some of these things are beyond them. So some of these things have to be addressed at the policy level and they need money to make sure that the drainage channels are worked on. To make sure that there are no people that are staying in swamps or low lying areas .So that also calls in place the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to come in.
So, there are many stakeholders that are required to be involved in this. It cannot only be left to KCCA. We have also been doing sensitisation.
As a former student of Makerere University, the university previously introduced tough guidelines in regard to student’s elections. What do you think about it?
It does not make sense and I have been telling students to stand up and fight for their rights, to stand up and fight for the Ivory Tower. Makerere is a place where freedoms must be respected. A place where freedom of speech can be practiced, a place where students should be allowed to meet and interact and learn. So it is very sad that the civics space in Makerere University is shrinking.
We said, Amin did bad things but he never turned Makerere University into a military attaché like what you see. For me, it is really absurd. You cannot have Makerere University teaching students human rights, law and teaching students their rights but students are not allowed to practice their rights, then what exactly are we talking about?
Makerere University has been turned into a nursery school. Students fear speaking out because when they speak out they will be suspended and that is not only limited to students but also goes to members of staff.
Some people have started comparing president Museveni’s regime to Idi Amin .What do you think?
People used to compare Museveni to Amin and they would say Amin is worse when Museveni had spent maybe three or five years in power. That comparison has since stopped because what Amin did Museveni has not been able to do.
When you look at the hospitals that he (Museveni) talks about, those hospitals are built by Amin. When Amin was the president, there was housing and accommodation for our health workers. Most of these accommodations, especially the houses now on Kitante road have been taken over by the military. When you look at Entebbe grade A and grade B hospitals .Grade A hospital was taken over by State House. Amin with all his incompetencies at least he treated health workers as a priority that even when there was no food, Amin would make sure that our health workers got food. This is not what is happening.
We have been seeing how health workers are being beaten. We have been seeing how health workers have been reduced to kneeling (and begging Museveni to contest again). To compare Amin and Museveni, you are making a very great mistake because Amin did things for this country that we treasure.
Personally, I have lived under Museveni and there is almost nothing that I can’t point at and say this is what Museveni has done and maybe give him credit.
If Museveni of now, met Museveni of 1986, I am sure they would fight because Museveni of 1986 and Museveni of today cannot recognize each other. So for people to reach the extent of wishing Amin was still here should be an indicator to Museveni of how he has let down this country.
What do you think about the space of freedom in Uganda?
What you should know is that the space for freedom is shrinking day by day and especially if you belong to the opposition, the situation is worse. You have been seeing what is happening to women MPs who have been (organizing) women celebrations in their (constituencies). Those in the opposition cannot have them but those in NRM have been having their activities. No one is touching them, no one is stopping them. Museveni and his group should remember that they are not going to be in power forever and that these things they are doing will come back to haunt them.
Ugandans seem to be losing hope each day towards the struggle. What assurance can you give them?
Ugandans should know that there is no specific timeline for the struggle. Some struggles take 100 years, some struggles take 50 years, and others take 30 years, others take five years, others take months. That is why it is called a struggle. That when you are in the struggle, some people drop off along the way, others will pick up, others will die and others will continue fighting.
So, Ugandans need to understand this whole idea of the struggle and liberation. It takes sacrifice, it takes patience. There are so many people that have paid the ultimate price. So by us giving up, it means that Museveni is scoring. It means that we are giving up on the future of our children and grandchildren, we are giving up on the future of our country and we cannot afford doing that. This is not a struggle for an individual. Ugandans should simply join the call. Ugandans need to wake up and join the struggle.
In your view, do you think we need a national dialogue to ensure transition in this country?
You see there are people who have attempted to hold dialogues. For us the only dialogue we can have with Museveni is when we are telling him to (leave power). That is the only dialogue that we can have.
But who is going to preside over this dialogue? We all know what happened to IPOD. We lack people that are objective; we lack people who are neutral. Most of the people have sides. So, as long as people are being intimidated, as long as the ground is not levelled, then you cannot talk about dialogue.
Opposition seems to be divided, don’t you think that we need unity in this struggle?
So for me when you talk about unity it is as if you are saying Ugandans have never united. It is as if you are saying as opposition we have never had unity but Ugandans have been uniting. For example during Togikwatako, we all spoke up with one voice. During the Mabira demonstration, we all spoke with one voice. During the walk to work, we said let’s come together and fight. So, there are instances where we have been uniting. But also unity does not mean that we should all belong to one political party, no. As FDC you find we have our ideologies, and you will find that NUP has its ideas .So, for me the unity that I want us to talk about is having different fronts but one struggle.
What is your take about the recently amended NUP constitution that introduced term limits for MPs and other leaders?
This is something that I have been advocating for and I am happy that NUP has taken a firm stand to say that it is two terms and nothing else because we will need to walk the talk. We need to practice what we preach not to preach water and we are drinking wine. This is what I have been praying for because you find there are people who cannot be replaced.
Some people claim that president Museveni is building a family dynasty. What do you think about the whole Muhoozi Movement?
Our campaign as a red card front has been transition and not succession. So, we are against succession. Uganda is not a kingdom and what is happening needs to be challenged. All those in the opposition are being beaten and Muhoozi is the only one moving around. We need to challenge that.
For me, I have already offered myself. If Muhoozi is going to contest, I am going to contest against him because there is nothing that Muhoozi can offer and I cannot offer. Someone who cannot even give a speech.
He is someone that I can compete with as a form of defiance. Should he come in 2026, I will be on the ballot, should he come after that I will be there . If he doesn’t come definitely I am not coming back to City Hall. I have served enough here. I am going to look for a constituency and serve as an MP but I am definitely not coming back.
Lastly, what are your political ambitions?
I have already said that, if Muhoozi is coming in 2026, I am contesting against him.