Kampala's re-elected mayor, whose team was barred from cleaning up his closed office ahead of his official installation, says he will not be deterred from returning to the office once its renovation is complete.
Erias Lukwago was impeached during his first term after members of the Kampala Capital City Authority accused him of abuse in office, misconduct and incompetence. Although a court later declared his impeachment illegal, Lukwago's office in City Hall was closed in 2013.
Lukwago accused Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his ruling National Resistance Movement of trying to undermine the will of the people following his re-election February 18, in which he won 82 percent of the vote.
“I thought this time around, after the poll that was conducted and I emerged successful, there would be no other hindrance along the way," Lukwago said. "...It was agreed that in the course of next week, we shall conduct a verification exercise to get an inventory of all the property there is inside [the office] and prepare it for renovation or painting or refurbishment, and then I re-enter.”
But in an interview with the Daily Monitor, a Uganda-based newspaper, KCCA spokesman Peter Kaujju said Lukwago’s team members should wait for a court directive that would clear the way for them to get the office ready.
“There is a court decision asking all the parties to maintain the status quo, and we asked them to leave until when we have communication, especially in preparation for what they were trying do. We shall let them know,” Kaujju said.
Lukwago called that statement “ridiculous.” Some Ugandans have urged the mayor to seek legal redress, but he said he saw no reason to go to court.
During the election campaign, Museveni said he supported Lukwago’s impeachment. Local media quoted Museveni as saying he had forced Lukwago out of office.
“I chased Lukwago. He had failed. I used force to chase him. Rats had become a problem; rats would even eat roads. That Kafumbe-Mukasa road, I would send money, but the road would not be constructed,” Museveni said.