In the name of cleaning up Kampala’s political institutions and public space, the Kampala Cap ital City Authority (KCCA), was established in 2010. To legitimize its contested and explicitly antipolitical authority, it made garbage collection and beautification its top priority, promising routine urban repair and mundane maintenance in exchange for suspending electoral democracy in Uganda’s capital city. This article argues the exceptional space of the repair site is paradigmatic of municipal power over the city overall.

Based on ethnography of municipal waste management and the KCCA, it elaborates the concept of maintenance space to theorize how the entanglement of sovereign and governmental power produces the city as a particular kind of territory. Because the work of maintenance and repair is continuous and ongoing, maintenance space endures. Far from a short-lived inconvenience, its exception becomes the foundational norm of technocratic authority.