Museveni addressing people at Kololo Airstrip. Photo by Eagle UG

Can Museveni’s ‘night time’ changes orchestrate real change?

By Edwin Muhumuza

At about 10 O’clock on Friday 12th 2020, as most city dwellers went to sleep, news began to filter through that the leadership at City Hall had been dismissed.

True to the word, indeed Dorothy Kisaka, who is currently serving as a senior presidential advisor at the Office of the Prime Minister, tasked with coordinating with political and nonpolitical actors to implement public policy had been nominated by the president Museveni to replace Jennifer Musisi who resigned in 2018.

The other officials nominated by the President include Eng. David Luyimbazi Ssali, for the position of Deputy Executive Director, Dr Okello Ayen Daniel for the position of Director Public Health and Environment, Sarah Kanyike, nominated Director Gender, Community Service and Administration and Grace Akullo as the Directorate of Human Resource and Administration.

What came to mind was whether the head of state, President Museveni was beginning to bite to justify his anger at the levels of corruption in his administration.

During Heroes Day celebrations at state House Entebbe, a visibly angry Museveni spent about two minutes of his speech blasting corrupt officials in government, labeling them ‘parasites’ harshly telling them to go to ‘hell’.

He also went ahead to call them ‘weevils’ for choosing to promote foreign made products over those locally made.

Just a week ago President Yoweri Museveni swung the axe that landed on the executive director of the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) Judy Obitre-Gama saying she had failed to deliver on her mandate in preference for the new executive director to have a background in ICT.

Her career was dented in April 2018 following an investigation into fraud, corruption and abuse of office and placed under Criminal Investigations Department (CID) after the auditor general reported that shs. 2.1b was sent on individual accounts while shs 1.3 b was wired to the chief accountants personal bank account.

Prior to this event, about a week , President Museveni had also fired the head of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Doris Akol, a move that surprised many Ugandans owing to her good record.

Four others under her were also shown the exit in a similar way including, Dicksons Kateshumbwa, the head of domestic taxes, Henry Saka, from domestic taxes, Silajji Kanyesigye, the commissioner in the large taxpayers office and Samuel Kahima, a manager in charge of rulings and interpretations.

In a similar manner, the president accused the organization of corruption.

However, It should be remembered that in January 2017,the same organization was hailed for having won an oil tax arbitration case worth shs. 2.4trillion and was a key beneficiary of the UGX 6bn ‘handshake’.

Amid criticism from parliament and the Committee on Commissions Statutory Authority and State Enterprise-COSASE ,which regarded the ‘reward’ as corruption, president Museveni went ahead to defend it.

The manner and the time in which the latest appointments have been made has been quite bizarre. While appearing on the Capital Gang, senior presidential advisor Karuhanga Moses, In response to the president’s recent actions, said “when a president makes appointments in accordance with the constitution or any other law they are communicated first in writing but also in a press release. It has been so for the last 34 years. There is nothing new” he said.

“Apart from promotion of civil servants, by constitution , any promotion of somebody above the rank of a commissioner is supposed to be done by the president in consultation with different commissions. Usually those are not announced.” Karuhanga added.

In the KCCA situation, the appointments were made known on social media at the time when the acting Executive Director is said to have been home. In addition to the peculiar nature ,there was no courtesy letter or a phone call to alert him of the developments, a move that has raised concern among sections of the public.

Opposition chief whip, Semujju Nganda said the president likes to take people by surprise and overwhelming them. Backing up his argument was that in an interview with Professor Edward Rugumayo, while still a diplomat, was informed of his sacking by the house maid who had heard the news on radio.

“Samson Kisseka when he was sacked as prime minister, he had been out of the country and only returned when there were no vehicles to pick him from the airport”, Semujju added.

In light of these changes ,Ugandans await to see whether they will yield anything substantial or a mere change of guards.