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Africa

Court nullifies Kampala mayor impeachment as city operations shut down

media Former Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago (R) in November 2012 AFP/Isaac Kasamani

A court in Uganda has nullified the impeachment of the mayor of the capital Kampala Erias Lukwago. Justice Yasin Nyanzi on Thursday ruled that Lukwago was still the mayor until a judicial review of the tribunal report that investigated him is completed.

The court also upheld the interim order that was issued on the 25th of November halting the council meeting in which councillors ousted Lukwago.

This court injunction was granted on the morning of 25 November, but in disregard of this the minister in charge of Kampala Frank Tumwebaze proceeded to chair a session of 29 councillors that voted to throw out the Lord Mayor.

In his ruling on Thursday, Justice Nyanzi ordered Minister Tumwebaze to stay for the implementation of the recommendations of the tribunal report until a main petition seeking a judicial review is determined.

Minister Tumwebaze in his response noted that the ruling asking him to stay for the implementation of the recommendations is too late since the activity it intended to stop had already taken place.

“The judge has not ruled on anything else but has issued an order to restrain me and the councillors from convening a meeting to decide on the recommendations of the tribunal report. What are court orders or injunctions for? I thought they are for stopping an activity that is yet to take place; now this activity took place already” he said.

The tribunal that investigated the Mayor's conduct found the Lord Mayor guilty of abuse of office, misconduct and incompetence, paving the way for councillors to impeach him.These findings were made public on the 14th of November. The next day the Lord Mayor filed a petition in court seeking a judicial review of the report.

Meanwhile Kampala Capital City Authority Executive director Jennifer Musisi announced a shutdown of all technical operations hours after the high court nullified the impeachment of the Lord Mayor.

“We have been caught as pawns in the tensions of the political push and shove of the City. The ensuing political controversies and violent reactions by the public on matters relating to the office of the Lord Mayor have created a hostile working environment that has put the lives of our workers in danger” she said.

Musisi told the media in Kampala that there were efforts by political protagonists to mobilize the public to invade the City hall supposedly to reinstate Lukwago into office.

“Unless the safety of our staff and government property under our custody is assured, it is difficult for our operations, as the implementing arm of KCCA to continue blindly in the face of these increasing threats” Musisi said.

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