Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has dropped this year’s Kampala City Festival, diverting funds meant for its preparation to improving city schools and health centres.
KCCA launched what would be this year’s festival on May 30, attracting sponsors and vendors, who have since been registering to be a part of the event.
The annual street party had been slated to run from October 5 to October 7.
But while addressing a press conference at City Hall in Kampala on Wednesday, KCCA executive director said they have agreed with the sponsors to inject 100% of the festival contributions towards the removal of asbestos roofs from KCCA primary schools.
“We have been spending about sh700m to sh900m to prepare for the festival. We need to put this year’s funds to a long term cause for every one’s wellbeing,” she said.
Initially, there were eleven KCCA primary schools with residual asbestos roofs. Four were re-roofed with iron sheets. Seven remained pending.
Musisi told reporters they need about sh1.9b to remove residual asbestos roofs on the seven schools and replace them with iron roofs.
“We are to start with Nakivubo Blue Primary School and Nakivubo Settlement Primary School. The move is to save our children from getting cancer as a result of the asbestos ashes.”
Expanding health centres
Musisi further said they are to use part of the funds to construct a maternity ward at KCCA’s Kiswa Health Centre.
“We get over 400 mothers giving birth in our facilities each week. We are forced to discharge mothers early due to lack of enough space.”
She added that they are still collecting money from sponsors, adding that the more money they will collect, the more health centres they will expand.
The annual festival has brought together Ugandans and foreigners to celebrate their cultures and the country’s independence.
Business people have been a part of the event.
Musisi told reporters that since the launch of the festival in May, they have so far got about sh3m from different traders who were interested in making business at the festival.
“We are ready to refund traders money if they want to, though we would love them to donate the money to us for these noble causes,” she said.
Sponsors, public react
Uganda Breweries Limited marketing director Juliana Kagwa backed KCCA on channeling the festival money to the two projects, saying they are Ugandans who leave in Uganda and know that the two sectors need support.
“We are looking forward to celebrating tangible results. Such projects are a part of our social responsibilities,” she said.
Coca Cola franchise brand manager Miriam Limo commended KCCA for being wise and brave enough to sacrifice the festival and focus on issues that matter today.
“We not here for only business and fun, we are in this country to improve the lives of people as we give back to them through such projects,” she explained.
City Tyres marketing manager Herbert Bashasha said that next year, the festival will be more fun as the city dwellers will be healthy and their children will access education in quality school structures.
Trinah Ndagire, a Kampala city dweller, thanked KCCA for the move to improve city schools, adding that this will help improve on the performance of the children.
Ndagire however urged KCCA not to divert the funds to business it is not meant for and therefore called on the public to be alert.
Moses Busulwa, also a city resident, said it is good for KCCA to channel the festival funds into renovation of schools. But he urged the Authority to always consult the public on such matters before taking decisions.