Big Interview: "I will not fight Lukwago," says Kampala minister

Politics

For the first time since the return to political pluralism in 2006, the NRM was handily defeated in Buganda sub region by the National Unity Platform (NUP), led by musician turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.

The Nile Post spoke to the Minister for Kampala, Hajjat Minsa Kabanda on a number of issue especially regarding what NRM intends to do to turn the political tide in Kampala.

Excerpts below:

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You said you have secured 5000 jobs for the young people in Saudi Arabia. Why should we take you seriously because many people have made such promises without fulfilling them?

We are not in politics because sometimes when you are in politics you might say I am looking for a vote or a favour but this time, I am free. I was appointed by the president and my task is to help the people of Kampala, secure jobs for them because most of them are unemployed.

So I looked for that opportunity from Saudi Arabia and we were promised jobs for about 5000 people to go to the Middle East.

He [investor] promised to give us 5000 jobs and he said anytime when I am ready, I should send the names to him.

He has been around and we have started registering people, so we are encouraging them to go for Covid-19 vaccination. We don’t need any fee for house girls or for the maids, they are only supposed to process passports.

 

In the past there has been the issue of Ugandans getting stuck in the Middle East while others have been mistreated. How have you agreed to handle such a situation?

The government of Uganda has put in place measures through the Ministry of Labour. I am not going to work alone. I am going to work with the Ministry of Labour and we are going to supervise this.

Our team will be moving around in different countries to see how they are treating them. Sometimes these girls are not good but also the women from the Middle East are rude but under strict supervision, strict monitoring, we are going to find solutions.

Do you think exporting young people in the Middle East would solve the issue of unemployment in Uganda or the government is running away from its responsibility of creating jobs?

Somehow it would help to solve the problem because some of them can go for skilling. The government is not running away from its responsibility but it is assisting them. You might be having a house girl right now and you are giving her Shs 50,000 or Shs 100,000 per month but when she goes to Saudi Arabia, she will be getting Shs 900,000, so that means after two years she will have Shs 20 million at least.

When she comes back with that Shs 20 million, she can start up her own business. Even if you are in the market, you cannot keep 20 million in your account, so that means that we should encourage them to go and get the capital and bring it back to our country. So the government has not run away from its responsibility and since there is that chance [of getting jobs abroad], we are encouraging these young people to do something.

There has been concern about the surge in collapsing buildings in the city. What steps have you taken to address the issue?

We are still investigating the problem. We don’t know where they get the materials from but I think the building architects are also answerable and the physical planners. We are still investigating all the issues and we shall come up with a report as soon as possible.

We are investigating the inspectors, physical planners and where they have been buying the materials. We have taken samples of the building materials found on the site so we shall come up with a report.

In the past, there has been endless wrangles between the political and technical wing which slowed down service delivery for the people of Kampala. What is your relationship with the Lord Mayor at the moment?

One thing that you should know is that I come from Kampala, I have been in Kampala and I have worked with all people around Kampala because I reside in Kampala and I am working in Kampala.

I think I should not fight with the mayor if we are to deliver service to people. I should always talk to the mayor and we should work together as a team .

There might be some problems but I think those problems we shall solve them. I think that fighting should not be there as politicians because I was appointed by the president and he [Lukwago] was also elected by the people, so that means that people have trust in him.

If I just fight with him, then I will mess up Kampala. We should work together.

In the January polls, NRM performed poorly in Buganda with several big shots voted out. What are you doing to change this come 2026 general elections?

There are many issues in Kampala such as unemployment in the city. People are just idle, so if I look around and get some jobs for them [like in the Middle East] ,in two years they will be back here ,they will be happy and support us.

We are looking for other avenues of creating jobs as I have told you. We are going to look at poultry, piggery, gardening and skilling. I also told you that we are going to come up with green houses ,so that means that we shall create jobs for the young people and the people will appreciate it.

Losing in Kampala, I understand that it was an issue but we can fight it because we shall come with the solution and I am sure the people of Kampala will vote NRM.

As the Minister for Kampala, we are trying our level best to convince them, talk to them, and engage them so that we work together.

In your view, why do you think the opposition does not appreciate NRM achievements in Kampala?

They think if they talk good about NRM, people will not vote for them, so they have to speak the opposite but no member of Parliament can say I am not going to get the salary or that 'I am going to give the salary to my people.'

They get the money and buy cars, and they become rich. Just because when they start talking they talk the opposite way making people think that Museveni does not like them but inside them {opposition}, they know Museveni has done a lot because when they talk about salary increment they get it, they talk about allowances they get them.

For us we are working very well with the opposition especially in Kampala. We have to work together otherwise if we start running away from the opposition, how can we perform. We need them and we should work with them because we are all Ugandans. As the minister for Kampala, I am not there only for NRM, but I am there for everybody.

As the Minister for Kampala, are there some challenges that you have encountered so far as you execute your duties?

Technical people at KCCA are not so friendly, some of them. The taxes and the trade order in Kampala and the vendors are still a problem. I think those are some of the challenges. With street vendors, we are putting up the enforcement team and I have told you the trade order is not in place. The delay is there but we are working hard to ensure that everything is made right and soon we are going to come with the programme.

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