The battle to streamline governance of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) for better services has kicked up a storm, exposing the institution’s failure to plug the broken relationship between its technocrats and politicians.
At the centre of the wrangle is the issue of salaries and recruitment, which the elected leaders argue must be streamlined to get better services.
The dispute was triggered by a Cabinet resolution last month to enhance salaries of all elected leaders in Kampala with effect from the next financial year 2018/19.
The enhanced structure indicates the Lord Mayor will now earn a basic monthly salary of Shs22.54m up from Shs18.78m while the deputy Lord Mayor will earn a basic salary of Shs16.36m, up from Shs13.64m.
Division mayors will now earn Shs13.26m, up from Shs11.05m while deputy division mayors will now earn Shs10.16m, up from Shs8.47m.
KCCA councillors at City Hall will now earn Shs5.12m, up from Shs4.45m while division councillors will earn Shs4.03m, up from Shs3.5m.
But soon after the enhancement, city leaders headed by Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago demanded the tabling of an entire salary structure of KCCA for both its elected leaders and technical staff.
They wanted to know what the institution spends on its human resource for better budget allocation.
“I am not fighting for salaries but I request that a comprehensive structure of the institution be tabled before this council so that it can inform our planning as an institution. We would also like to know the hierarchy of leadership in this institution,” Mr Lukwago said during council sitting this week.
Mr Lukwago was also shocked to learn that he had been placed fourth in hierarchy on KCCA’s website while Kampala minister Beti Kamya had been placed top as the political head of Kampala.
However, Section 11 of the KCCA Act, 2010, states that the Lord Mayor is the political head of the city while the minister’s powers are stipulated in Section 79, which among others, empowers her to give directives on policy.
But Mr Samuel Serunkuuma, the KCCA deputy executive director, said he has no powers to submit salaries of employees before the council.
“I can only do that after getting approval from the appointing authorities and that is the President and the Public Service Commission,” he said.
Councillors dismissed Mr Serunkuuma’s argument.
“Our focus is to harmonise the corporate governance of the institution and being resource managers, we would want to know how much we spend on our human resource and also look at the accountability of our staff,” Mr Kennedy Okello, the Nakawa councillor, said.
On May 2018, Ms Jennifer Musisi, the KCCA executive director, wrote to Mr Lukwago asking him to back off from the operations of KCCA technical staff.
“…the technical team are highly qualified professional leaders in their various areas and have reputations to protect within and outside KCCA. We will, therefore, do everything, including taking legal action necessary, to protect our professional standing,” Ms Musisi wrote.
But Mr Lukwago insists the technical staff must be answerable to the Authority.
Whereas salaries of elected leaders are determined by the minister in consultation with the Finance ministry, the salaries of the technical staff are determined by the Public Service ministry.
Salaries of the elected leaders are got from the non-tax revenue (NTR) while that of the technical staff is got from both NTR and the government’s Consolidated Fund.
The executive director, deputy executive director, and directors, are permanent staff but on a three-year open-ended contract and they are appointed by the President while other employees are appointed by Public Service ministry, and are pensionable.
While appearing before KCCA’s accounting body recently, Ms Musisi revealed that of the 1,133 current staff at KCCA, only 391 are permanent. The temporary staff, she said, are recruited by KCCA.
But the councillors questioned the appointment, saying KCCA has no powers to recruit employees.
Previously, there have been queries against KCCA’s recruitment and the ‘exorbitant salaries’ paid to employees.
Some of the councillors argue that whereas technical staff are paid ‘exorbitant salaries, the services in the city are still lacking and don’t show any value for money, a claim KCCA dismisses.
Sunday Monitor has seen a copy of the KCCA salary structure, which was approved by Public Service ministry in 2011.