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Will Museveni allow Jennifer Musisi to walk out on him and that Shs44 million KCCA job?

KCCA executive director tenders in her resignation, citing lack of funding and political will, among others, as challenges pegging back efforts to transform the capital to her plans.

KAMPALA | As words floated on lips in the alleys that Jennifer Musisi was on the brink of throwing in the towel, few believed anyone in a government known for obstinate errant public officials defying logic to cling to their jobs would resign.

What more, this is the second highest paying executive job in the land where, at Shs43.7 million monthly salary, Musisi has been earning what millions in the country would need a lifetime to accumulate.

But on Monday, Musisi tendered in her resignation from the position of executive director of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), leaving the “General of NRA who needs no polishing” with a headache just moments after he and his family thought they had had such a big date at State House Entebbe hosting global celebrity couple Kim and Kanye West or Ye.

President Museveni must still have been admiring the white pair of Yeezy trainers gifted by Kim and Kanye when the 21-page headache in Musisi’s resignation letter got to his attention.

When a woman whose monthly salary is enough to buy a lake in Kanungu fills 21 pages in ink to tell you how frustrated she is and that she is calling time on her career, then you know even if you extended the Yeezy trainers as a gifted gift to her, she will probably ask to be left alone.

Musisi cited, among others, lack of political will to support Authority meet expectations in City development programmes, inadequate funding and low staffing levels at City Hall.

Listing up to 16 major achievements the Authority has transcended in the last seven years, Musisi said in her notice that her technical team has had the capacity and commitment to do much more and have more impact on Kampala City but that they have been constrained by challenges.

“One of the main challenges has been to reconcile the competing interests between political decisions and the strategic plans, policies, regulations and work plans of the KCCA Technical Team. Consequently, it has increasingly become difficult to achieve set targets,” Musisi said in the notice copied to the auditor general and secretary to the public service commission.

Musisi’s arrival at City Hall has seen to a drastic transformation of the capital’s outlook. Hitherto plagued by potholes and utter disorderliness, Kampala has seen most roads reconstructed and lighting added in several areas of the city.

But Musisi says City Hall is constrained by funding and has inadequate permanent staff on account of budget limitations, resulting in prolonged temporary terms of service and job insecurity.

“This has led to demotivation and high turnover of highly skilled staff. In addition, staff are not adequately facilitated in terms of tools, equipment and vehicles,” Musisi said.

The frustrations at City Hall ED’s office were further increased when Beti Kamya was appointed Minister for Kampala. The two women have often disagreed on the running of City affairs.

Musisi, who has two years left on her current contract at the City Hall, becomes one of the few to walk out on President Museveni, a man who has over the last 32 years seen every wish and whim go in his favour.

Over the years, several allies of Museveni have resigned but majority of them after a push that turned into a shove. Like Kirundi Kivejinja, who stepped down as minister of Transport and Communications in 1999 just as Parliament embarked on a process to censure him for abuse of office.

The others, Matthew Rukikaire, resigned as minister for privatisation in 1999 Rukikaire after Parliament unearthed irregularities in the privatization of Uganda Commercial Bank (defunct) and embarked on a process to censure him, and Gen Kahinda Otafiire, who once was man enough to own up to his conscience and resign from his local government docket after pulling a gun on wife of a Cabinet colleague in a club.

But it is Wasswa Ziritwawula whose resignation letter in 1989 that truly qualifies to share a file with Musisi’s.

Ziritwawula resigned his parliamentary seat in the National Resistance Council (NRC) objecting to the NRM’s decision to extend its un-elected leadership beyond the earlier agreed four years. He was a lone voice of dissent and largely ignored as NRC extended NRM’s rule till 1996 when the first presidential elections were held.

‘I’m not able to continue’

Jennifer Musisi, a lawyer and public administrator, was appointed as executive director of KCCA in April 2011 and had her contract renewed in April last year.

She has over the last six years enjoyed a lot of backing of the central government, with Museveni particularly pushing her executive powers to completely overshadow that of the Lord Mayor.

The move was expected to clip the wings of the Opposition Erias Lukwago, whom Museveni has variously vowed to put out of city politics.

However, despite all the investments in well calculated moves to muffle ad smother Lukwago’s political powers in the capital, little has been regained in that regard and Museveni appears to have grown frustrated over the last few years, leading to loss of interest in pursuing the Lukwago agenda.

With this loss of interest has been the loss of the kind of political will that was meant to tilt the progress of the city to Musisi’s favour. The hitherto teeming coffers that galvanised activities organised by Musisi have dried.

As a result, several of her plans have been affected, the latest was the Kampala City Carnival whose 2018 edition was cancelled, confirming the frustrations at City Hall that have been boiling since Lukwago trampled every spike set up to fail his bid to return as Lord Mayor.

And Musisi clearly spells the withdrawal of political will, saying many planned City improvement projects have not received political support and therefore not been implemented.

“I have over the last seven years raised these issues numerous times to the Executive and the Legislature, which have at times made some efforts to address them,” she says.

“However, on the whole, these challenges have not been substantially addressed, therefore hampering planned transformation programmes and expected service delivery.”

Musisi said the Authority’s initial five-year performance raised both the citenry and government expectations of the institution, but that the growing challenges have increasingly made it difficult for KCCA to meet these expectations.

“On account of the above matters, I am not able to continue serving in the position of Executive Director, Kampala Capital City Authority,” the resignation notice says.

But the challenge now will be on whether President Museveni will let Musisi walk out on him. The next few weeks will be interesting at Plot 1 Nakesero as the political future of Kampala is ironed out.

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