By Senior Communication Officer

The leaders of Arua City Council are exploring the idea of implementing a private-public partnership for garbage management. The strategy that aims to reduce the cost of garbage management was inspired by their recent visit to Mbarara City Council. During the visit, Arua City leaders observed the successful implementation of a similar partnership, which provided valuable insights. 

The Leaders, including the Mayor, City Councillors, City Clerk, and selected technical experts visited Mbarara City on March 26th and 27th, 2024. The aim was to benchmark revenue mobilization, private sector garbage management, city greening, City Magistrates court operations, and education sector performance.

David Kyasanku, Arua City Clerk explained that they have embraced a new approach of inter-city tours to learn from other cities' experiences. He said Arua City Council was particularly interested in studying Mbarara City Council's successful garbage management strategy, which involves public-private partnerships.

 “We are struggling with collecting garbage, we know resources of the city are not that much. Garbage takes a big chunk of our money but in Mbarara I have learned through private public partnership to collect garbage, they have relaxed some of their monies to do other things,” Kyasanku elaborated. 

Aliru Khadija, the Chairperson of the Finance Planning and Administration Committee of Council, expressed her delight in the innovative strategy employed by Mbarara City Counci where the private sector is responsible for the efficient collection of garbage, allowing the council to save on revenue while still maintaining a clean environment for residents.

The city only spends at the compost site. That is something worth borrowing for Arua City,” Aliru advised.   

Kakyebeze Mugabe Robert, the Mayor of Mbarara City Council, stated that back in 2016, Mbarara Municipality was spending over 480 million UGX annually to collect rubbish. However, today, Mbarara City Council is no longer responsible for garbage collection, and the city residents now have to pay private companies to collect their garbage.

“Things are possible when there is willingness. We are receiving visitors to Mbarara City time and again every month to benchmark.” Kakyebeze said. 

The mayor of Mbarara City also advised the leaders of Arua City to handle their internal conflicts privately and avoid negative publicity, emphasizing that negative marketing could hinder the city's progress. 

Arua City leaders keenly following presentations at Mbarara City Council Hall

Mbarara City is rapidly developing and is considered one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Abirebe Assy Tumwesigire, the City Clerk of Mbarara City Council, praised the city for having a well-organized central market that is kept clean. Tumwesigire also explained that the city's revenue mobilization efforts have been successful thanks to their commitment to keeping politics out of the process. 

“When we agree to close shops, the Mayor will not call to order for some people’s shops to be opened,” Tumwesigire asserted.

Property rates and business licenses are the major contributors to the revenue collection for Mbarara City. On average, the city approves more than 100 development plans every month. This financial year, Mbarara City is aiming to collect at least 9 billion from locally raised funds. From increased revenue, Mbarara City has achieved several milestones, such as constructing staff houses for teachers, purchasing a grader for roadworks, buying vehicles for monitoring, and constructing office blocks.

The City Clerk of Mbarara City further explained that the reason for their success is due to the cooperation among all the leaders, including the Division leaders, who work together as a team. He has advised the leaders of Arua City to ensure that the divisions do not have a feeling of independence from the City Council. It is important that all leaders complement each other and work in accordance with the local government Act, which clearly outlines the functions of the division level and the city level. 

“Every Monday Morning we have joint senior management with members of the Executive to discuss the previous week and set targets for the following week,” Abirebe revealed. 

Arua City Mayor, Wadri Sam Nyakua, expressed hope that Arua City would adopt the good practices learned from Mbarara. 

“We have a big potential for local revenue to be harnessed. If we sensitize the community, we can become an equivalent of Mbarara or even better,” Nyakua envisioned.

Arua City Council Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yako Teddy Gloria (left) City Engineer, Charles Omona (middle) and City Health Officer (right) during the tour of Mbarara Junior School

In the education sector, the leaders of Arua City were impressed by the excellent performance of public schools in Mbarara City, where parents are heavily invested in their children's education. During their visit, they toured Mbarara Junior School, a government-aided primary school that offers both day and boarding options. Parents pay approximately 750,000 UGX for their children's education in the day section. The school was able to produce over 85 percent of first-grade learners who passed the 2023 Primary Leaving Examinations. 

The School Management Committees and the Parent-Teacher Associations in Mbarara City have also invested in sustainable school feeding programs that have been proven to improve learner concentration and retention in school, a leaf Arua City can pick. 

Eriku Cyril, the male representative for Older Persons in Arua City Council, expressed his admiration for the progress made by Mbarara City Council. 

“We are so blessed and I am sure we are going back stronger and more intelligent,” Eriku expressed. 

The Resident City Commissioner of Mbarara City, Colonel James Mwesigye, imparted words of wisdom to the leaders of Arua City, emphasizing the paramount importance of supporting the ruling government to foster remarkable strides in the development of the region. 

What has helped Mbarara is that we support the NRM. If you want to succeed, always be friendly to the sitting government, they will listen to you,” Col. Mwesigye advised.  

Benchmarking is the practice of comparing key performance measures, trends, and management processes with peer organizations. It is an invaluable tool for measuring your performance successes and potential areas for improvement. END