In a bold move that has stirred significant controversy, the Lord Mayor of Kampala City Erias Lukwago has raised poignant questions regarding the allocation of a substantial Shs2 billion to Special Forces Command (SFC) purportedly designated for the repair of potholes within the city.
Lukwago’s scrutiny isn’t confined to financial matters alone but he’s also pressing for the withdrawal of the Special Forces Command (SFC) from the responsibility of fixing city roads, sparking a contentious debate within the administrative corridors of Kampala.
His unprecedented move challenges the status quo, questioning both the financial transparency surrounding infrastructure expenditure and the involvement of a specialized military unit in civil maintenance tasks. The ensuing discourse illuminates a clash of perspectives on governance, resource allocation, and the role of security forces in municipal affairs, elevating the stakes in Kampala’s administrative landscape.
It’s recalled that since last year, Kampala, the capital of Uganda has been grappling with bad roads marred with potholes everywhere. In a bid to solve the road problem in the city, in June this year, President Yoweri Museveni ordered the SFC to take over the maintenance of city roads.
President Museveni said his son who also serves as a senior advisor, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, had approached him to help in the construction of the city roads at a very low cost.
To run the construction and fixing of all potholes, the Special Forces Command Construction Regiment (SFCCR) secured a Shs 2bn from Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to maintain roads in the central business district of Kampala.
According to Lt Kikomeko Kigongo, their assistant project manager, the SFCCR is doing section, pavement and pothole repairs in selected areas of Kampala City in which they fix potholes and maintain roads in two months’ time.
“We started two weeks ago and we have a timeline of 45 days to come to the apex of this task. But we have natural challenges with the weather. The two weeks we had of work, we have had four days of practical work because when it rains, it has serious repercussions on the subsequent activities that follow,” Lt Eng Kikomeko said.
However, in a press conference held at City Hall on Tuesday, Erias Lukwago stirred a storm of questions and concerns regarding the allocation of a staggering Shs 2 billion contract to SFCCR for road repairs within the city. His inquiry took centre stage as he pointed out a fundamental discrepancy: the absence of road construction among the unit’s core responsibilities.
Speaking candidly to the gathered media, Lukwago voiced bewilderment over the substantial contract awarded to SFCCR, emphasizing the glaring divergence between the unit’s established duties and the unexpected road repair project.
His remarks not only underscored financial accountability but also spotlighted the potential overreach of a specialized military division into civilian infrastructure projects. The press conference unveiled a sharp challenge to the decision-making process behind infrastructure allocation, raising significant concerns about transparency and appropriateness in contracting practices within Kampala’s administrative framework.
“The SFCCR has no capacity to fix potholes in Kampala, they have no equipment nor expertise, even the so-called Eng Kikomeko we don’t him is always alone, we don’t know how engineers running this project, they are just hoodwinking Ugandans. Nothing they are doing yet the situation is moving from bad to worse. What they are doing is a facade of sorts,” he said.
In a bold and unequivocal statement, Lukwago, known for his candid and unyielding stance, made it abundantly clear that he advocates for the immediate withdrawal of SFC from Kampala City’s road repair initiatives. In his characteristically maverick fashion, Lukwago emphasized that the SFC’s place is within the barracks, not engaged in municipal roadworks.
“SFC should go, go back to the barrack, Muhoozi we see you rooming around the city please take back your men. They are just doing nothing, the best they can do is go and handle the security at our border lines DRC, South Sudan all areas ravaged by insecurity because that’s their area of expertise,” he said.
Backing up his statements, Lukwago said SFCCR has failed the task it was given starting from fixing a mere pothole. “Even a mere fixing of potholes, they cannot do it, even where they have purportedly worked, their output is not at any time pleasing yet they are spending a lot of money.”
Lukwago’s pointed questioning has reignited debates on the roles of security forces and the allocation of civic projects, amplifying calls for greater scrutiny and accountability in city governance.
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