A row has broken out at Kampala Capital City Authority after the Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago, defied the order by the Minister for Kampala, Ms Betty Amongi, to go into self-isolation for two weeks after four staff at City Hall tested positive for Covid-19.
Ms Amongi ordered the Lord Mayor and his assistants, councillors, the executive director, Mr Andrew Kitaka, his deputy and all the 11 directors to go into self-quarantine.
However, Mr Lukwago and the councillors have protested the decision and claimed that the minister wants them to go into self-isolation to deflect attention from the uncounted Shs1b that was allocated to her office for the Covid-19 response in the city.
Mr Lukwago also said he cannot go into self- isolation without a clear plan on how the institution will run in the absence of top officials. He said he wants to know the details of the KCCA staff who tested positive for Covid-19.
“According to the minister, I am identified as one of the people who came into contact with one of the suspects, but they are not telling me who that person is and how I came into contact with the person. They should identify the suspects, we know who came into contact with them and then isolate such people, instead of saying the leaders should go into self-isolation,” Mr Lukwago said.
Mr Lukwago said going into self-isolation, leaving the entire institution in “disarray” is not proper because the Executive Director, his deputy and the directors are already at home for isolation.
In response, Ms Amongi said: “If the Prime Minister can go for self-isolation, who is Lukwago? He is playing politics. It is public knowledge that four people tested positive and the person who served Lukwago and the other people in the executive meeting at City Hall tested positive. The ED and his deputy went for self-isolation because they attended the same meeting with Lukwago.”
Mr Lukwago also said the money that had been allocated to the Minister’s office should be returned and used to handle Covid-19 emergencies.
“We are demanding that money be given back to KCCA so that it can help us deal with emergencies because right now most of our staff even do not have personal protective equipment, we have not bought thermometer guns for most of our installations, we have not paid allowances for most of frontline staff so there are a lot of challenges, which we need to attend to, but we are being told that money has already been exhausted,” Mr Lukwago added.
Ms Doreen Nyanjura, the KCCA secretary for finance and administration, said the impact of lack of funds at the city hall is dire.
“This is at a time when Covid-19 infections have started taking a community trend. KCCA is, therefore, unable to provide the necessary support in form of ambulance services, Personal Protective Equipment, transport and allowances and other necessities for those at the frontline of the fight to medicate patients and curb further spreading of the virus,” she added.
Mr Peter Kaujju, the KCCA spokesperson, without divulging details, said those who are supposed to be in quarantine have already gone home, except the lord mayor. He also did not divulge the number of those who have gone into self-isolation.
“I can confirm to you that all those staff from KCCA who have been asked to go into self-isolation have all gone except the Lord Mayor and his team,” Mr Kaujju said.