In criminology there is something called the broken windows theory, which suggests that by controlling urban environment – through cleanliness, establishing order and fighting petty crime, it removes the environment for much more serious crimes.
That to wait until the big crimes begin to get hard on crime could be a case of shutting the door after the horse has bolted the barn.
In the last five years of the new KCCA this theory may have been confirmed at least by Mercer, the world’s largest human resource consulting firm.
In its annual Quality of living ranking released they put Kampala ahead of Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Kigali when measured in terms of sense of personal safety, stability, crime and effectiveness of law enforcement. Of course the result was tempered by the fact that Kampala was ranked 169 out of the 230 cities that made up the survey.
These rankings are not only good for much needed back patting by KCCA but are also important because they informs investor perceptions. Investors – local and international, of course are the people who create jobs, the insufficiency of which is one of the biggest challenges for the city today.
Several observers have suggested that the President and the NRM’s dreary showing in the last election was due to attempts to bring order to Kampala which saw the vendors thrown off the street and the eviction of large populations to make way of the Naguru estate project.
Museveni won about 31 percent of the Kampala vote while opposition MPs swept all eight seats in the city.
"They say you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. We have lived in a state of anarchy in the capital for so long that interest groups have grown around maintaining that chaotic status quo. It was inevitable that there would be consequences...
It is a scandal that the beneficiaries of the old system were enough that they have inadvertently voted against the progressive changes happening in Kampala – it is inconceivable that somebody voted for dirty streets, port holed roads and unlit streets intentionally.
In fact what it reflects is that Kampala was masking a lot of disguised unemployment, people were getting by operating on the margins of society and when order was established they found themselves without a livelihood.
"To ally with this protest vote cannot be developmental. What is needed is real leadership by KCCA and the council, who while they can only promise that it will get worse before it gets better, have to stay the course knowing that in the medium to long term we the residents of Kampala and the nation as a whole will benefit from the qualitative improvements...
It is a thankless job, but that is what leadership is about, recognising that what is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular.
There is still a lot to be done in Kampala including calling commercial building owners to order, collecting property rates and improving public transport all of which will have their political costs.
From a purely mathematical standpoint Kampala has always been hostile to the NRM – the last district leader being Christopher Iga, so there is little to no downside in continuing with planned projects.
It is imperative that the government does not waiver in its support for KCCA and its programs but KCCA needs to recognise too that it has to balance its technical role with cooperating with the political establishment.
KCCA is already involved in some income generating projects and job creation initiatives, in a bid to continue its good work KCCA may be well advised to scale these up to benefit more youth and unemployed citizens.