Who is Ssalongo Erias Lukwago? Flash Uganda Media looks at his Biography, Early Life, Education, Family, Wife, Net worth and Political Career of the current lord mayor of Kampala City.
Ssalongo Erias Lukwago, is a Ugandan lawyer, politician, current Kampala City lord mayor the Capital of Uganda and the largest metropolitan area in the country, father and a husband.
Ssalongo Erias Lukwago – Early Life and Education
Hajji Ssalongo Erias Lukwago was born in Kabungo Masaka current Kalungu district on 11 May 1970 to Muhamoud Mirundi and Salimanti Nakayaga. Lukwago is reported to have more than twenty siblings; he’s a Muganda by tribe and belongs to the Nkima clan.
Lukwago attended Makerere University between 1995 until 1997, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws Degree. He went on to obtain a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Center (LDC) in 1998. He also holds a Certificate in Advocacy Skills from the International Law Institute.
Erias Lukwago – Work and Experience
Since 1998, Lukwago has worked as the managing partner in the offices of Lukwago and Co. Advocates, a Kampala law firm that specializes in constitutional law and human rights law.
In 2005, he was elected to the Ugandan Parliament, on the Democratic Party (DP) ticket, representing the Kampala Central Constituency. While in parliament, he served on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee and the Local Government Accounts Committee.
Lukwago was part of the group that formed the Suubi 2011, a political pressure group ahead of the 2011 elections.
Lukwago has in the past been a member of the Democratic Party in Uganda, although in the 2011 elections he ran as an independent.
He resigned from Parliament in 2011 and was elected lord mayor of the City of Kampala on 14 Jan 2011. Lukwago has in the past served as national legal adviser to the Democratic Party in Uganda, and as Shadow Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
On 20 May 2011, Lukwago was sworn in as lord mayor of Kampala for a five-year term. He was voted out of the office on 25 November 2013 by Councilors after a tribunal found him guilty of incompetence and abuse of office.
The Kampala Capital City Authority councillors voted 29 to three to impeach him. He was re-instated on 28 November 2013 after the High Court Judge Yasin Nyanzi, ordered Kampala Minister Frank Tumwebaze to stop the implementation of the tribunal report that paved way for his censure.
During that time, Police fired tear gas to break up a protest against Mr Lukwago. Lukwago’s aides believed the government plotted against him to wrest control of the mayor’s post from the opposition. However, councillors from his own Democratic Party (DP) voted to oust him.
Mr Lukwago was not present during the vote, as he was in hospital being treated for hypertension and malaria.
Security guards blocked his lawyers from entering the council chambers minutes before the vote to present what they said was a court order halting proceedings. And one of the lawyers was allegedly assaulted.
Police and plain-clothed security operatives threw councillor Allan Ssewanyana out of the chambers after he tried to present the court order.
Business came to a standstill and public transport was paralyzed in parts of Kampala after Mr Lukwago’s supporters protested against his dismissal.
Police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters and warned the public not to engage in criminal activity.
During this time, a government-appointed tribunal ruled that Mr Lukwago had failed to convene meetings, had disobeyed administrative directives and had incited the public to withhold taxes.
Mr Lukwago in his view said that he strongly condemned his removal from office. “There’s no respect for the constitution, for the rule of law, for democratic governance.”
Lukwago described the tribunal, headed by a judge, as a kangaroo court and said President Yoweri Museveni was behind the move to oust him to open the way for his allies to take control of the city following their defeat in the 2011 election.
The then government minister in the presidency, Frank Tumwebaze, chaired the council meeting where Mr Lukwago was voted out.
However, in November 2013, High Court judge ruled that the ousting of Kampala mayor Erias Lukwago was illegal and ordered his reinstatement.
The judge said he earlier issued an injunction preventing a vote to impeach Mr Lukwago and so this should not have taken place.
After his reinstatement, Mr Lukwago said; “It is a moment of jubilation, it is a moment of triumph….justice has prevailed.”
Following the saga, Erias Lukwago petitioned the court to compel Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA to pay his salary arrears worth Shillings 562 million.
Lukwago petitioned the High Court Civil Division in 2017 seeking the court to compel KCCA, its Executive Director and the Attorney General to pay his emoluments for 30months when he was illegally impeached in 2013 for alleged abuse of office and incompetence.
It came after Justice Lydia Mugambe declared Lukwago’s impeachment illegal and reinstated him to office in March 2014. She directed KCCA to pay Lukwago his salary, allowances and costs of the suit in vain prompting Lukwago to run to the High Court Civil Division.
The Attorney General William Byaruhanga through his representative, Johnson Natuhwera told Court presided by Justice Andrew Byabasaija that they legally withheld the payment since there is a pending matter in High Court over the same. AG asked the court to dismiss Lukwago’s application but in vain.
The representative of KCCA and its ED, Brian Mwanja, said they don’t pay Lukwago on the orders of the Attorney General. He explained that KCCA and the Kampala minister agreed with Lukwago to withdraw all cases in court such that he can get his emoluments, which he didn’t know.
Justice Byabasaija asked Mwanja why they are trying to force Lukwago to get on his knees because they pay him what belongs to him. Mwanja said Lukwago shouldn’t have filed this court case because there was and there is still an option of paying him outside court.
Later, the Court of Appeal and Christopher Madrama dismissed the application challenging Justice Lydia Mugambe’s orders to reinstate Lukwago on grounds that it had no merit and government lost the appeal case in May 2019 to Lukwago on grounds that government application had been overtaken by events.
Justice Mugambe also ordered KCCA and Government to compensate Lukwago all the costs Lukwago incurred as a result of unlawful impeachment which is approximately shillings 562 million.
However, the Attorney General and KCCA being dissatisfied with the ruling appealed.
Justice Mugambe denied them leave on grounds that it would prejudice the respondent.
Attorney General and KCCA had to go to Court of Appeal arguing that the High Court departed from the law on contempt by holding in contempt people who had not received the court order and had reportedly not been accorded a right to a fair hearing.
These are, former Attorney General Peter Nyombi (deceased) former Electoral Commission Chairman Engineer Badru Kiggundu, Former Minister in charge of Kampala Frank Tumwebaze and former KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi Ssemakula.
Attorney General Nyombi thus demanded Court of Appeal to grant the leave of court.
However, during the hearing of this case, Lukwago through his lawyers argued that the application by Attorney General was bad in law and amounted to an abuse of court process in as far as the persons who were found to be in contempt of court order didn’t show any dissatisfaction.
Lukwago also argued that the Attorney General abused the interim order issued by the former Deputy Chief Justice Stephen Kavuma by locking his office up to the end of that term as lord mayor in 2016.
He also argued that he had been re-elected as lord mayor again in June 2016.
It’s against this background that the Court of Appeal dismissed the application by Attorney General and KCCA and ordered them to pay costs of the suit.
In June 2016 Lukwago was sworn in for his second term as lord mayor Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
Lukwago says he doesn’t hate people including the former Executive Director KCCA Jennifer Musisi whom they engaged in constant fights the time she was in office.” I’m one person who doesn’t harbour grudges. I can’t loathe someone so much that when I see them I want to throw up.”
“I am magnanimous and in criminal justice, I don’t believe in vengeance – no-eye-for-an-eye, no death penalty. (On Auntie Jeni, as some people call her) I don’t mind Jennifer but I want her to reform. That is why you see I went for her mother’s burial although she insulted me in her speech.”
High Court awards Lukwago UGX50M over torture by police
In May 2020, the High Court in Kampala awarded the Kampala lord mayor, Erias Lukwago UGX50m as compensation for the violation of his rights and freedom.
This after the court ruled that the police abused his right to freedom when he was arrested outside his home in Lungujja.
The court ruled the compensation was appropriate as punitive, exemplary, general damages for the psychological torture, mental anguish, and emotional stress suffered by the Applicant.
Narrating to Uganda Human Rights Commission how police allegedly tortured him as he planned to leave his home in Wakaliga, Rubaga Division in Kampala, Mr Lukwago accused police of grabbing his private parts and squeezing them hard, causing him excruciating pain.
Mr Lukwago and a group of other city leaders had planned to hold a procession from City Hall to Constitutional Square to launch their Togibikula (don’t tamper with the Constitution) campaign against the proposed amendment of Article 102(b) to remove the presidential age limit from the Constitution.
Mr Lukwago, who screamed while he was being arrested, said that police and other plain-clothed operatives pounced on him while speaking to journalists in front of his gate before he was bundled on a waiting enclosed police van.
“The police officers caused a lot of excruciating pain to me which I think was meant to incapacitate me. They massively pounced on me as you watched them on television and whoever touched me made sure that they leave pain on the part they had touched,” he said.
“They shoved and punched me, squeezed my private parts, ribs and the entire part of the lower abdomen which left me in a lot of pain. I just surrendered because there is no way I could extricate myself. I still feel pain.”
Justice Henrietta Wolayo of the High Court in Kampala, in her ruling, said Mr Lukwago’s arrest violated his right to personal liberty, an arrest that saw him scream in pain in front of cameras.
The judge further held that Mr Lukwago’s arrest on the morning of September 21, 2017, subjected him to degrading treatment and also violated his right to privacy when the police, unlawful entered his home in Bulwa, Rubaga Division in Kampala without a search warrant.
“I have found that on September 21, 2017 while at his home in Bulwa, Rubaga, the applicant (Mr Lukwago), was grabbed in the groin, his private parts squeezed and bundled into a cage-like van and driven to Kira Police Station and finally to Nagalama where he was detained until 8:30 pm,” ruled Justice Henrietta Woloya.
She added: “Going by the principle in the law of torts that the purpose of damage is to place the plaintiff in the position he was in before the damage is to place the plaintiff in the position he was in before the damage or injury. I consider a sum of Shs50m adequate as compensation for the unlawful arrest and violation of his right to liberty protected under Article 23, violation of his right to privacy protected by Article 27 and degrading treatment protected by Article 24.”
The court orders followed a lawsuit filed by Mr Lukwago over three years ago in which he had contended that on September 21, 2017, the then Divisional Commander of Old Kampala Police Station., ASP Grace Nyangoma led a group of police officers who surrounded his home and later violently arrested him.
This was during the period of the heated debate on the presidential age limit. But justifying her presence at the lord mayor’s home, ASP Nyangoma told the court that she had prior, received credible information that high profile individuals including Mr Lukwago, were to be injured.
She also told the court that the key opposition politician was to participate or instigate planned unlawful assemblies in town, the reason she deployed at his place for his safety.
But the judge in her analysis observed that if ASP Nyangoma intended to protect Mr Lukwago from being harmed as her intelligence information she received indicated, then it beats court’s understanding for the same police to arrest him for allegedly plotting to hold an illegal assembly in town.
The judge instead concluded that at the time of Mr Lukwago’s arrest, he was on his way to work as Kampala lord mayor.
“In the absence of proof of credible information relied upon by the respondent (Attorney General) to arrest the applicant (Mr Lukwago) and in light of the contradiction in the actual reasons for the arrest, that’s, to protect the applicant and to prevent the commission of a cognizable offence and in light of the credible evidence of the applicant, he was on his way to work as lord mayor,” Justice Wolayo held.
“On balance of probabilities, I find that the respondent (AG) has failed to demonstrate that the applicant was about to instigate an unlawful assembly when he was arrested,” she further ruled.
The court also awarded Mr Lukwago costs of the suit and ordered that the principle award shall carry a 10 per cent interest per annum from the date of judgment until payment in full.
Ssalongo Erias Lukwago – Family
Ssalongo Erias Lukwago is married to Zawedde Lubwama Lukwago and they are blessed with four children including a pair of twins.
Lukwago and Lubwama met in 1999. Lukwago was a practising advocate and Lubwama was completing her law course at Makerere University. The two used to interact a lot, as he helped her with her research. As a result, their bond grew stronger.
Lukwago says many things made him fall for her. “But she struck me as a good lady. I was a single man when I started practicing law in 1998. When I met her, I fell for her down-to-earth character. Something inside me told me she was the women I would marry.”
Lukwago narrates that although they are in the same profession, their marriage hasn’t been affected. “Our relationship is a testimony that people in the same profession can be happily married. I can proudly say our marriage has been a success.”
At home, although they are both lawyers, they have not made their home a courtroom. They have the usual rules and regulations of any marriage.
Lukwago says ever since he met his lovely wife Zawedde Lubwama, he dropped his past relationships and opened a new chapter in his life. Like they say behind every successful man is a strong woman, to Lukwago he proudly says Zawedde has been the rock of his life.
While practising active politics, Lukwago says he does not allow his political life to affect his marriage. “Of course in politics, there are high and low moments, but I try to ensure that those moments do not affect my young family. I cannot vent my political frustrations on my family, especially the children.”
“However, there were times when my children hated the Police when they saw them (the Police) manhandling me on TV. I am happy that my wife has come to appreciate the problems I have gone through as an opposition politician.”
Talking about the craziest thing he has ever done for his wife he says once he went for a trip abroad and walked into a lingerie shop and bought his wife sexy knickers. “I found it weird, but with love, you can do anything.”
Lukwago reveals that the day she delivered their twins in 2007, he loved her more and that was the most romantic time in their marriage. “She is a slender person and I recall the pain she underwent during pregnancy. It was such a great moment and we crowned it with a vacation in the UK, where we spent about 10 days.”
At home, Lukwago is a humble man, down-to-earth not assertive, aggressive and belligerent, as he’s in the political arena.
Lukwago talks about HIV policy at KCCA
“We have a department for gender, production and community development, which deals with issues of HIV and we endeavor to provide basic services.”
“We have also set aside funds for dealing with HIV, though most of our health centers are not in good shape save for the China-Uganda Friendship Hospital in Naguru and the one in Mengo-Kisenyi. There are plans to upgrade the ones in Kawempe and Buziga.”
Lukwago likes checked shirts so much when he’s going casual, he doesn’t like plain shirts.
For official purposes, Lukwago wears dark colours and for leisure, he likes shiny colours.
Lukwago’s favourite colour
Orange because it is a colour of hope, it shines and appeals to the eye.
Lukwago’s Favorite food
Lukwago enjoys fish, in whatever form or type. It could be tilapia, Nile Perch or lungfish. He says it used to be a delicacy of his father but his mother and stepmother didn’t like preparing it for him. “You know women don’t eat lungfish.”
Lukwago’s view on 2021 general elections
Erias Lukwago on 20 January 2020 while appearing on one of the local television stations talk show stated that President Museveni has already rigged the 2021 election.
Lukwago believes casting the ballot alone is not enough to get rid of Museveni urging that Uganda has no independent Electoral Commission.
“Do we have an independent Electoral Commission (EC) that can deliver a free and fair election? It is rooted in illegalities. Justice Byabakama is holding the position illegally. We have a demi-god of sorts. That is the challenge we are facing. As much as we have individual ambitions, let us have a common ground that will rid us from the jaws of one individual,” Lukwago noted.
“We are going to see the worst delegates’ conference. He has successfully managed to intimidate the jokers of the NRM. In Chobe, they already passed a resolution that he is the sole candidate for 2021. NRM is devoid of internal democracy.” He added.
Lukwago said several colleagues are being persuaded by talks that they should take up more seats in parliament. According to him, such politicians should not listen but rather go in for the big position (presidency) which in the liberation struggle.
“We are sitting on a time bomb and it is those kinds of manipulations masterminded by the so-called revolutionaries that put the country on edge. In NRM it treason, to stand against President Museveni.”
Lukwago then revealed that he will still contest for Kampala lord mayor seat come 2021.
Lukwago asks Sarah Kanyike to reject KCCA job
Following the nomination of Erias Lukwago’s Deputy Sarah Kanyike, Lukwago rushed to ask his Deputy to reject her nomination by President Museveni to the position of Director Directorate of Gender, Community Service and Production at Kampala Capital City Authority KCCA.
President Museveni nominated Kanyike and four others to various positions at KCCA on Friday, June 12 2020. Others who were nominated were Dorothy Kisaka for Executive Director, Daniel Okello for Director Public Health and Environment, Grace Akullo for Director Human Resource and Eng. David Luyimbazi Ssali as Deputy Executive.
Addressing the media on Saturday at his home in Wakaliga, Lukwago said that he had received the shocking news of the appointment of his Deputy on Friday night.
Lukwago says Kanyike cannot man a directorate she was meant to monitor as an executive secretary of the city. He says her current position is superior and she should keep it.
Kanyike is a councillor representing Makindye East and was appointed by Lukwago to the position of deputy lord mayor in 2016.
Lukwago replaces Kanyike with Doreen Nyanjura as Kampala deputy lord mayor
Kampala lord mayor, Erias Lukwago appointed Doreen Nyajura as his Deputy, replacing Ms Sarah Kanyike who was nominated for a government job at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) after rejecting to heed to his request.
Before, Mr Lukwago gave Ms Kanyike a three-day ultimatum after President Museveni nominated her for the position of KCCA director gender, community services and production.
Mr Lukwago had implored Ms Kanyike to reject the appointment. Ms Kanyike is, however, said to have tendered in her resignation as KCCA Deputy lord mayor.
“The outgoing deputy lord mayor having been a minister for gender in my executive, Nyanjura also takes up the same position and becomes her immediate supervisor,” Mr Lukwago said.
Ms Kanyike is a councillor representing Makindye East and was appointed by Lukwago in 2016 to deputize him.
In his nomination letter to the Public Service Commission, the President said: “We have used integrity hunting to identify the persons”. Mr Museveni also directed the Public Service Commission to advertise and fill all other vacant position at City Hall.
Erias Lukwago Net Worth
Estimated net Worth in 2019 for Lukwago was $1 Million – $5 Million (Approx.)
Annual salary under review
Income Source Primary Income Source – Activist
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