Dear Jennifer S. Musisi…

Dear Jennifer (KCCA ED),

Having wasted another 2 hours of my life in the city’s traffic jam (effectively covering a distance of 17km), I find myself thinking hard about certain things:

Why exactly doesn’t our city make a serious effort at improving it’s infrastructure? Apart from the N. Bypass, there’s not been any major new infrastructure built within the entire past decade. That means the same traffic jams that were there in 2000, say along the Banda-Kireka road are still there 12 years later. Clearly this has very little to do with the number of vehicles and everything to do with the lack of investment in infrastructure. Surely, we should be having traffic lights at every junction within the city centre and the major junctions in the suburbs. As it stands, the only functional lights (Wandegeya, Nsambya, Jinja Road, Wakaliga) were donations from Japan if I’m not mistaken.

Of course there’s an answer – no money… But why? We all know that for the past few years, more than UGX. 1TN has been allocated to national roads during each budget cycle. Yet, this sector is also heavily supported by donors aka development partners. And  it is very good to note that this is slowly paying off – the quality of the major national roads being constructed, even to a laymans eye, is extremely high (e.g. the N. Bypass, Jinja-Bugiri, Masaka-Mbarara, Kabale-Kisoro etc). On the other hand, KCCA is forced to use contractors that do such shoddy work and take so long doing it that it would be highly comical if it were not so sad. But even more embarrassingly, some of the things that can be done to make Kampala a better place to stay would actually not cost that much. Honestly, how much do traffic lights cost? Or, the simple but effective junction modification such as was done to the Kololo-Lugogo Bypass road at Kati-Kati? A small ‘lay-by’ that enables traffic to join the bypass seamlessly and hey presto – it’s saving thousands of motorists a lot time that would otherwise be wasted.

Anyway, with the money issue in mind, I’m forced to wonder what Kampala’s contribution to the country’s GDP and tax base is? I suspect it is close to 80%. If so, why doesn’t the city get a lot more budgetary support from the central government than it does currently? We all know that the best contractors are the likes of SBI/RCC & Roko. Why is KCCA given so little money that they cannot afford them? Is it really a wise idea to neglect the city dwellers whose taxes form the bulk of locally generated government revenue? Or, to put it another way – if hundreds of thousands of city dwellers/workers waste three hours daily while commuting  short distances, how will they compete (in the new global knowledge-based economy) with their counterparts in other cities?

Then, the whole hullabaloo surrounding the new bus service – I just don’t get it. This is a private company that has imported 100 new buses. If we assume a cost of UGX. 100M per bus, that is an investment of UGX. 10BN. Why would anyone in their right minds halt this service when there’s absolutely no taxpayer money being used in running it? Do they want you to start a new procurement process all over again which will last another 3 years? Call me naïve – but why would a private transport firm even need a contract with KCCA? Unless there’s a plan to maintain a monopoly, I’d imagine that there’d be a licensing framework instead and all capable investors would throw their hats in the ring. Then KCCA would limit itself to regulating the sector and ensuring standards are maintained. That would be the best deal for long-suffering commuters with all the advantages of competition. Imagine a situation where the government decided to contract a particular bus service to provide all public transport e.g. Gateway or Gagaa? Where would that have ended up? In my opinion, it is imperative that the buses start operating straight away. And so you need to do all within your power to make it happen – stand up to those MPs on our behalf.

Anyway – this is enough! To summarize the rant, a lot of us were extremely happy when you assumed office and we were energized by the way you embarked on your duties. We still support you and wish you the best. However, if you are to be judged as having succeeded at the end of your term of office, you’ll need to have done a lot more: secured proper/adequate funding for running the city, started/completed some serious infrastructure projects (junctions/drainage/flyovers) and put in place a sustainable, affordable mass public transport system (better than the current 14 seater vans). I hope you and your team manage to achieve most if not all of them. And I believe that you can do all this with or without the support of the Lord Mayor and/or other negative forces…

6 replies on “Dear Jennifer S. Musisi…”

I agree with you and my zib with the ED is dancing to the tune of govt. And BTW the Lord Mayor may seem a negative force but if you take time to analyze his issues they normally hold water. Surely the idea of buses was not tendered…If it were govt bringing in the buses well and good. So I have more examples but as i type I no longer have trust in the ED… Remember her comments when the rowdy Agaba and his team shot and “collobared” innocent citizens???


@Crit – I think the Lord Mayor does make valid points quite often. However, he also does seem to want to, for lack of a better English word, ‘lemesa’ the ED just for the sake of it. Unfortunately for him, the law as it stands places the responsibility of running the city squarely in the ED’s lap. Whether this law is good or bad – I honestly don’t know. That’s why I addressed this to her and if there’s no change after her term of office, she’s the one I’ll blame. Not the Mayor…


Thank you for the well thought out letter. I have lost trust in any politician. Lukwago wants to be noticed but taking the wrong channel. I wonder where Kla would be now if Lukwago was to support the Accounting Officer of KCCA? There are better things to be discussing esp concerning the systems of government…why should just getting a few million shillings to have repairs done on gabbage trucks take forever or working on the roads not and not providing drainage passages….these are things Lukwago who is not the opposition be challenging!! Lukwago, show us that you love Kla….don’t potrary immaturity. I like the fact that even his counsellors think that he is wasting time. He should be asking KCCA how they plan to use the money that they will get from the taxi parks and not working against his body by saying the money should be reduced to 70,000/=. May whoever is close to him, give him the right counsel.


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