From powers vested to the Ugandan President by the Constitution, President Museveni on Thursday announced several changes in Permanent Secretaries and advisors where many were transferred whereas others were retired.
The changes that include appointment of MUBS lecturer and economist Dr. Ramathan Ggoobi as the new Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Finance have been welcomed by many.
Despite “working” for government as Operation Wealth Creation’s chief economist, Ggoobi has often criticised government over awful decisions on the economy and as the saying goes, the ball in his court to help rectify the problems he has been pointing out.
In the latest changes, Museveni has displayed a preference for new faces as he named Makerere University ICT lecturer, Dr. Aminah Zawedde who holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science but also a Certified Information Systems Auditor as the ICT ministry permanent secretary. Geraldine Ssali, the former Deputy Managing Director for the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), was sent to the Ministry of Trade.
Among the other new faces are Maj Gen Kasura, formerly the Director of the National Leadership Institute(NALI) Kyankwanzi and is now the new Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture whereas Kate Lamaro was sent to the Ministry of Education and Sports.
Long serving permanent secretaries who had become fixtures in certain ministries like Energy ministry PS Robert Kasande was moved to the ministry of Constitutional Affairs. Keith Muhakanizi was moved from the Ministry of Finance to the Office of the Prime Minister and Vincent Bagiire was moved to Foreign Affairs from the Ministry of ICT.
Old guard retired
The appointment of new Permanent Secretaries in ministries was also meant to replace the old guard who were retired by President Museveni.
For example, the president using powers vested to him by Article 99, 172(1) (a) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and the Uganda Public Service Standing Order, retired long-serving Permanent Secretaries including Christine Kintu Guwatudde from the Office of the Prime Minister, Pius Wakabi(Ministry of Agriculture), Amb Patrick Kibirige(Foreign Affairs), Jane Kibirige(Parliament), Kivumbi Lutaaya, Benon Mutambi, and David Ebong.
Consequently, he had to appoint new office bearers to their positions.
The latest changes by Museveni can also be largely seen as meant to console some of the party members who lost in the previous 2021 general elections as well as those who missed out on cabinet positions.
For example, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi suffered a double loss when she was defeated as Bukomansimbi Woman MP but also dropped as Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs.
Nakiwala is remembered for calling National Unity Platform leader, Robert Kaygulanyi also known as Bobi Wine a drug addict. It is believed this cost her dearly when the electorate in Masaka went to the polls.
“The people know inside their hearts who to support. The people of Masaka don’t use drugs, are farmers, and will therefore vote for someone who looks like them. The other presidential candidate you are talking of is a known drug addict yet people here vote for someone like them. The people of this area vote for someone basing on certain criteria and we as the NRM are the people who resemble the people of Greater Masaka,” Nakiwala said during President Museveni’s campaign meeting in Masaka in December 2020.
However, despite the remarks, Kyagulanyi won highly in Masaka whereas Nakiwala didn’t survive the “umbrella wave” when she lost to NUP’s Veronica Nanyondo for the Bukomansimbi Woman MP seat.
It was only befitting consolation from President Museveni to have her appointed the new presidential advisor for gender and youth affairs, a position that has just been created, arguably because of her.
This was the same fate for Mary Karooro Okurut who was dropped as Minister in charge of General Duties in the cabinet reshuffle recently and consequently, she was appointed to a new position of the presidential advisor on public relations despite president Museveni earlier saying he doesn’t need public relations services.
“Many people come here saying they want to be my PR. I don’t need PR. I am Museveni son of Kaguta, General of the Resistance Army and I don’t need polishing. Many people tell me what matters is not facts but perception. Really! So the world is going to become one of appearing not doing! That’s how you want the world to be? Are you not deluding yourself by thinking like that,” Museveni said in 2018 while castigating “useless experts” on public relations.
It is not clear what has changed in the past three years for the same man to have considered creating and getting a presidential advisor on public relations.
The latest appointment as Clerk to Parliament by the president has also been seen as a consolation for the former Minister for Defence who a while ago wrote to the appointing authority lobbying for a job at the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC).
In a June 10, 2021 letter, Mwesige asked Museveni to be considered for the position of UHRC chairperson (which has been vacant since the death of Meddie Kaggwa in 2019) or a member of the same body.
“Some people are already attacking me as if I have committed a crime. They are claiming that I am begging and kneeling for a job. But, it’s not what I am doing,” Mwesige told the Daily Monitor in an interview.
In the June, 10 letter, the former minister reminded the president of his decision to quit elective politics and serve in government in other capacities having lost in NRM primaries last year.
It was only befitting that the man who had lobbied for a job was appointed as the Clerk to parliament.
The same was the case for Beti Kamya who was appointed as the new Inspector General of Government (IGG) having lost her bid to become the Rubaga North MP in the January polls to NUP’s Abubaker Kawalya as well as being dropped as a minister in the cabinet reshuffle.
Appointing her to the Inspectorate of government was a befitting consolation to the former Uganda Federal Alliance leader.