KCCA boss Kisaka, minister Kyofatogabye face arrest over open sewers

KCCA workers on duty to unclog a drainage channel

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The High Court will on April 20, 2023 hear an application in which lawyers are seeking a warrant of arrest and detention of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) boss Dorothy Kisaka and the State Minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, Kabuye Kyofatogabye.

They accuse the duo of failing to implement a court order which was issued on November 1, 2021, by Justice Michael Elubu when he directed KCCA and the Government to put in place and enforce a plan to protect city dwellers, especially pedestrians from potential loss of life, limb or property resulting from the unsafe roads, drainage channels, sewers and related infrastructure.

It further ordered them to make a comprehensive maintenance plan and report to Parliament within three months on progress taken to ensure that the dangers posed by the unsafe roads and open drainage channels, sewers, manholes and related infrastructure have been addressed.

The Court declared that by failing to deliver on the promise, KCCA and the Government infringed on the right to life, protection from deprivation of property and to a safe and clean environment of Kampala city dwellers.

The order followed a successful application filed in 2020 by Legal Brains Trust after the death of 56-year-old Cissy Namukasa, a vendor in Bugolobi market who drowned in a drainage channel in Nakawa division on May 2, 2020. Her body was washed away for several kilometres by the stormwater.

Legal Brains Trust headed by lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde successfully petitioned the court to declare that Namukasa’s right to life was violated as a result of the failure to make city drainage channels safe for pedestrians. They also asked that within six months after the determination of the case, the government and KCCA report to court about steps taken to enhance the protection of the life of city dwellers.

They also asked the court to compel them to multiply their efforts to search for and recover Namukasa’s body, which was still missing at the time, accord her a decent burial and erect a memorial statue at, or near the drainage channel where she drowned to show commitment towards protecting the life and safety of city dwellers.

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The court granted their prayers and ordered the KCCA and Attorney General who were listed as the first and second respondents respectively to make a comprehensive maintenance plan for the drainage system and report the progress to parliament within three months.

On March 14, 2023, GEM Advocates led by lawyer Stanley Okecho who represented the Legal Brains Trust filed an application seeking a warrant of arrest and detention as the mode of assisting the court in implementing its decision. The application seeks to ensure that the two government officials are held liable for the delayed implementation of the order.

“…We want the executive director of  KCCA and the minister in Charge of Kampala Metropolitan to show cause why they should not be committed to civil prison for failing to make the life of Kampala city dwellers less risky,” Okecho said.

He added that open manholes are all over the city, and there’s no comprehensive drainage plan for Kampala up until now.