I have found middle ground for people to meet – Kitaka

by daily monitor

The outgoing Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) executive Director, Andrew Kitaka, says he left behind a KCCA plan to procure 150 buses next month for public transport and Kampala to have 80 signalised junctions. Below are the excerpts.

Describe yourself and brief us about your tenure.
I am approachable and have an eye for detail. The stand I have taken has been guided by the previous leadership.
Some of the things we were doing were unsustainable and we had to adopt a new approach; engagement and dialogue and trying to find a common solution.

Internally, I have had an open door policy with all staff coming in freely to discuss issues affecting them. I would make 20 trips monthly to the field to inspect work and guide people.

What changed in KCCA during your 18 months acting tenure?
A more peaceful place. We moved away from what characterised KCCA- the constant battles between the political and technical wing which were affecting service delivery. The constant street battles with different classes of city dwellers.
The institution had become characterised as high-handed yet we are here to serve the people. I have been finding a middle ground where all can be accommodated and jointly look for solutions. There has been a cordial relationship with the political wing.

That created space for technical people to do their work. We also had more dialogue with different actors trying to seek common solution, for example, the taxi fraternity and this led to registration of their taxis.

The transport sector remains a city nightmare.
We are revolutionising this to eliminate congestion and accidents. We are facilitating operators with a conducive working environment.

The registration of taxis as planners and regulators has created a database to know how much capacity we should put on certain routes.

KCCA is creating a mobile application to complement the existing ones for bodabodas so that even the need for permanent stages is minimised and booking will be online. Bodaboda will always be on the move.

What is your score card of Kampala’s infrastructure?
Quite a lot. A further 30 signalised junctions across the city, a project worth $23m with a grant by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is starting. It will have a traffic control centre at KCCA for all our junctions. The centre will be able to control 500 junctions.

We have trained our engineers in maintenance of traffic lights, design of traffic junctions. They participated in designing four junctions- at Lugogo Shoprite, Katikati, Wampeewo to Upper Kololo Terrace.

The African Development Bank has endorsed a project worth $288m. This is going to be the biggest project in the history of KCCA. It will take off soon. So many major roads will either be expanded, rehabilitated or upgraded.

It will also create a circular bus route system and we want it operated by taxi operators organised into cooperatives. We are going to buy between 50 to 150 buses- procurement commences in July.

With ongoing projects and contracts already signed, Kampala will have a total of 80 signalised junctions, up from only 9 junctions when we started KCCA.

During my tenure we launched five roads funded by the World Bank. Some are being widened.
They include Kabuusu-Bunamwaya-Lweza; Lukuli Road, Acacia, Kulambiro Ring Road, Spear Motors and these will have 13 new junctions.

We are improving our drainage- one from Nakamiro and Bwaise to Lubigi. Kasubi Market is completed with 1400 stalls; Kamwokya Market Phase One is nearly done and we are planning Nakawa Market.

JICA will also fund a detailed integrated master plan for greater Kampala metropolitan area and will forge linkages with districts that surround Kampala; increased revenue to Shs90b in 18/19, up from Shs76b the previous year. We had forecasted Shs100b for 2019/20 but because of Covid-19 we may not achieve it.

Where have you had major concerns in city management?
The KCCA law was amended to address some of the issues that plagued the institution since inception. There are still some areas that need more amendment. KCCA is a unique institution.
It has a political wing that operates through council.

It also has a ministry. The execitive director has to report to all those offices. That in itself creates challenges -many centres to report to. If those two sides disagree, the executive director is trapped in the middle, unless you chose to ignore one (side) which will also be contrary to the law. The design of the Authority has issues. It’s a challenge.

Also the law creating district land boards should be revisited. It is not comprehensive enough and it has led to people in our district land board to do what they want.

It does not even describe the qualifications of the persons for board members yet they are dealing with a very important resource. I do not think there is any provision for auditing the land board. It is like they are beyond audit and they do what they want. KDBL is not part of KCCA but we pay for their liabilities. People are suing because of double land allocation.
They must be brought under control.
What has been your biggest letdown?
Few things but one of them is staffing. We have 700 staff who are working on temporary terms, their contracts renewed every four months. We are not like other authorities where the board approves staff.

I have not been able to sort the staffing problem. Temporary staff work under uncertainty and tend to underperform. I hope this problem will soon be addressed.

What do you like or dislike about Kampala people?
I dislike wilful vandalism where manhole covers are taken and the public blames City Hall that we are not covering them, yet we cover them but are stolen. I hate reckless use of vehicles – climbing pavements, breaking man-hall covers, bodabodas invading space for pedestrians, and litering.

The behavior of people has created duplicated work and cost taxpayers. But we will continue to teach people about this.

However, the people of Kampala are resilient, able to survive in difficult conditions with some appreciating the work done by KCCA.

What are KCCA’s other hurdles?
It is funding but where we are now we have made great strides with donor infrastructure projects and government money as well as local revenue.

The most recent is taxi registration; there was a lot of rift between operators and KCCA. Operators wanted to resume without following proper guidelines we had set.

What else can you say about your tenure?
We completed the Non-Motorised Transport on Luwum Street and Namirembe Road. Queensway road is nearly complete.

Where do you see yourself after leaving this office?
I will resume my duties as director for engineering and technical services (at KCCA).