Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga letter to Clerk of the Parliament: Ambiguity of the Motion to Remove a Commissioner (15.02.2022)

Opinion: Is the PM promoting defiance?

“I want to advise Ugandans to go to petrol stations that have not hiked the prices. Two companies have not hiked their prices. Go and buy from those ones. These others will also follow suit because it’s now not necessary for any company to hike the price above Shs5,000” – Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja (Job Bwire – ‘Ugandans should boycott fuel stations that keep prices high- PM Nabbanja’ Daily Monitor, 20.01.2022).

We remember just mere years ago when the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government was going after “defiance”. Everyone was targeted for supporting defiance and planned corporate boycotts of businesses connected to the regime and it’s high ranking officials. There was an outrage and disgust.

The regime apologists defended going against defiance and civil disobedience. Now, the Prime Minister of the 11th Parliament and this term is speaking well of boycott. As the fuel-crisis is deepening and the state isn’t doing anything directly to help it out.

Another minister has challenged the need for arresting the fuel-station operators who is sky-rocketing the prices. As it is not a cause-and-effect scenario, as the needs for petrol is bigger than the imports of it. That’s why the prices is going up and the stations are struggling to serve the nation. Therefore, the crisis is a border issue and a supply issue.

Its not the petrol stations fault… it is the whole supply-chain from importers to the producer. As the landlock nation has made it hectic on the border and the border-post has stifled the imports. Even with the temporary stop of testing for COVID-19 on the Ugandan side of border. The Republic haven’t directly patched the hurt. No, it continues to damage the Republic and everyone in need for petrol.

The PM is showing her character her, instead of acting and finding solutions… the PM is speaking of boycotting and avoiding the petrol stations, which has to high prices. The PM should address the rises prices and the reason for it. It isn’t the companies or the stations itself, which is directly at fault. As they are based on the imports of petrol and the possibility of getting steady supplies as well. Because, if it goes empty and such … just proves the reason for the rising prices, as the needs are bigger than the current supply.

The PM should address that and the words of defiance is what an opposition leader should do. The opposition should act in defiance and ask for civil disobedience. Ask the public to boycott and stop using certain services. As that is even possible elsewhere… and when your low on fuel, your low on fuel. Then you need to buy and get more to be able to drive…

So, the PM knows this, as she has 4 wheel-drive and an SUV. She drives around and enjoys the perks of her office. Her office and her title covers for everything. There is no worries and it’s all paid for. The fuel-crisis doesn’t hit home and neither does it damage any of the elites in the government either. They are living lavish and don’t have to worry about pricing or inflation for that matter.

That’s why the defiant and defiance against certain fuel-stations is a foolish move, as it is a populist selection or trick. The state should secure the supply-chain and proper reserves to stifle the prices. Instead, the state is asking for civil disobedience, which isn’t a vibe your supposed to get from high ranking officials. Good luck doing that on the road from up-country to anywhere. So, the PM should reconsider, but don’t expect so. She’s high and mighty, which means she will not face any real consequences for this. Except for writings like mine… Peace.

Opinion: Is the NUP having their “defiance” moment?

Mufumbiro made the statements amidst cheers from the crowd in the presence of the party secretary general David Lewis Rubongoya, the deputy president for Central Region and Leader of Opposition in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba, and several party’s top notches including MPs. But Mpuuga hastily hit back in disapproval of Mufumbiro’s confrontational approach of removing Museveni from power, saying they have preferred a more strategic approach of capturing other than creating false hope to the highly enthusiastic support base that is yearning for change. Mpuuga indicated the current leadership is so committed to offering proper guidance and leadership of substance in the turbulent times when they are faced with a stubborn, ruthless, and a tough competitor capable of unleashing violence against his opponents” (URN – ‘NUP split over approach to dislodge Museveni’ 29.12.2021, The Observer). 

In today’s The Observer there is reported that the leaders within National Unity Platform (NUP) have different ideas on how to move forward, as the final end-game and goal of the party is to remove a dictator. However, the objectives are agreed upon, the way of which is to work and succeed seems to differ. That is very clear. 

Mufubiro and Mpuuga clearly disagree, in such a way of which the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) had two separate camps or fractions at one point. The FDC was split between the “defiance” and the “pragmatic” approach. The same seems to happen within the NUP as well. That is just reasonable, as the growing pains and the amount of politicians associating with the NUP. Everyone wouldn’t agree upon everything and neither have the same perspective. If a party is real and people have ideals or dogma behind their actions. Then you will have heated arguments and discussions to achieve the same objective goal or achievement for that matter. Therefore, no one should cry havoc and say the party is over. 

What is happening here is all natural and it makes sense. That’s why the FDC in some ways split between the ones following “Defiance” and the ones who were pragmatic, joining the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT). So, what we are seeing here has happened before… 

What we also should know is that the Mpuuga has been on the front-line since the time’s of Action4Change and Walk to Work. So, it is not like he has tasted rebellion and been on the barricades fighting. He knows the costs and paid the price of being arrested for his political activism. Therefore, when others would feel the same within his party. The Leader of Opposition should understand and want to resolve with actions. That the LoP speaks of strategic ways seems to be a sophisticated way of saying there are other means than what Mufubiro promotes right now. 

When I was reading the article and the arguments between the party leaders of NUP. I felt a moment of nostalgia, as the NUP is now going into the same issues of which the FDC did. Instead, of having one unified way forward. There are internal squabbles and talks about how to move and operate. The NUP has decide and show resilience, unless they prefer being part of this system and be a token opposition to the dictatorship. Sooner or later they might be washed-up as Mao and the Democratic Party (DP). Because, if they are just supposed to negotiate and strategically move. Then they are just using time and spending time in office, unless he means more industrial strikes, civil disobedience and coordinated riots. Alas, there is nothing of that in the talks of Mpuuga. Which could mean that they are supposed to revolutionize the system from within. 

If Mpuuga really believes that works… then he has not followed the FDC and the pragmatic members of that party. Since, they didn’t get rid of or had a peaceful transition because they joined IPOD or was part of the multi-party elections. No, it has just been more of the same and the FDC haven’t toppled the President. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) is in full cruise control and has nothing to fear. Especially, if Mpuuga is becoming a knock-off Muntu. If that happens… then the NRM and Museveni will linger on with no trouble and only some ceremonial disobedience, which is as powerful as mosquitoes sucking for blood. Yes, they can do it and bite. However, they will never suck enough or do damage to hurt the system they are sucking from. Peace.  

National Unity Platform: Statement on the 200m Grant to MPs for Motor Vehicles (23.07.2021)

National Unity Platform (NUP): Press Statement on COVID-19 Interventions (07.07.2021)

Opinion: The FDC needs to grow a pair

The current Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) high ranking officials needs to grow up and take their losses on the chin. Today’s news of possible dismissal of FDC MPs accepting Shadow Cabinet positions is foolish at best.

This coming from the same party, which have appointed Shadow Cabinets with MPs from other parties. So, this just shows a lack of growth or maturity from the current leadership. Yes, the FDC wasn’t consulted. Nevertheless, the FDC haven’t been willing to meet or greet the National Unity Platform (NUP) on earlier meetings either. Secondly, the FDC have retaliated and questioned the NUPs credentials and their agenda.

Therefore, that Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda is calling out like this. After what Nathan Nandala-Mafabi have done in the post-election. They have both been on the warpath with the NUP. These two have been comrades in talking ill of the NUP and their actions. While never accepting anything its doing. Neither, have it taking it lightly that none of the MPs was appointed to committee’s.

That’s why today’s words was striking. That they went this way. When the NUP have invited FDC. It has been seen as non-important and as a obstacle. This seems to be the same reasons for why FDC can avoid or even boycott IPOD. However, when FDC is appointed as the leader of IPOD. Than it becomes an important thing…

This sort of pattern is tiring. The FDC leadership better grow up. Especially, as this is supposed to the party who has for ages been in the battle and fought the dictatorship. The ones who can educate and show how things are done. They could show some heart and skill.

They should be happy that Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga have considered 7 MPs from the FDC. He could have picked several more from his own party the NUP. He could have filled the ranks. Still, he appointed surely in talks with his own and own their merits to various of positions. However, this is not good enough for the FDC.

Now… suddenly… the FDC wants to meet and drink tea. Who are they kidding here? What sort of game is this? Maybe FDC National Executive Committee (NEC) needs to have an extraordinary meeting to figure out the way to be a ordinary opposition and not the leader of it. Since, this is the first time in ages. The FDC is demoted and they should be gracious to be considered this big.

Even, if some of the big-men and the long-term MPs wasn’t appointed here or in May to the Committee’s. Still, they should just be happy and accept this. Just like the other opposition parties took their part. When they were at the helm and appointed the Shadow Cabinet. That is what the FDC should do now.

Well, maturity is clearly not this party thing. They are not able to show it. Neither, to take things to heart. Everyone is supposed to play after their tune and dance. However, no one else is supposed to counter or try on their own. That’s how this looks. This coming from one of the persons who has attacked the NUP after the elections.

That’s why this is tiring. This part seemed like someone you could look up to and get engaged in. That was just a lie. As they are only in it for their own and play by own rules. Never, accepting what other people does. Especially, the NUP should just follow and do the two-step. Never ever act on its own.

That’s why the FDC cry foul now and even wants to dismiss it’s own. They are so broken and lack moral courage. To even be gracious and move-on. They are not the big-dog anymore. Be leaders, act mature and take it on the chin. Show your character over this term and try again.

The FDC seems to lost their vibe and their Mojo. Like they have lost some vital parts and cannot operate in good faith. These folks who talks big. Should also act big. However, that’s to much to ask.

They are all for Democratic Change, but cannot the democratic change that has happened in the Parliament. Which they are smaller and the NUP is bigger. It is time for them to accept and eventually move-on. In 2016 they could act like big-shots in the opposition and in 2011 as well.

Now, the tide is turning and they just don’t seem ready for it. Time for Najjakumbi to visit Kamwokya and speak to the leaders there. I don’t think it would hurt. It would be a lesson of humility and maybe of finalization of maturity. Especially, if the FDC would ever continue to lecture the newcomer and their rise to power. It seems to be the only reasonable thing to do.

Unless, their only game-plan is to attack the NUP and Bobi Wine. Just like the NRM. Peace.

A look into the Shadow Cabinet of the 11th Parliament

Today, Leader of Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) MP Mathias Mpuuga unveiled the appointments of his shadow cabinet. Now the opposition is taking form and the NUP shows maturity in their choices. However, there are some interesting choices.

We anticipated that the NUP would have an majority and it does. What is striking, after all the dust is settled… the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) get several of positions and other parties get it too. This is not a sole NUP operation. No, there are MPs from the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), Democratic Party and Independents as well. Therefore, things has changed.

On the 28th May 2021 the first list was out and the ones picked for the Committees was mostly NUP and one JEEMA MP. That was a choice made by the NUP and the other parties felt left behind. Now, the LoP have taken them in, but don’t expect that to accept it or be gracious. Because, for instance the LoP have left behind the likes of Nathan Nandala-Mafabi and Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda. These will be foul and cry out loud. We just know this and be aware.

So, now on the 25th June 2021 the LoP have made this list and it’s a total of 30 members. There are 30 people in the shadow cabinet. While the original cabinet is at 81. So, they have slimmed it a little bit, but still giving roles to plenty.

It is a friendly reminder of a rising star in the opposition is to see Kampala Woman MP Shamim Malende, the lawyer and MP on the Justice and Constitutional Affairs. She’s one of out of plenty who has been called an “iron lady”. So, it will be interesting to see how she plays this out. As this is her first term as MP and being in Parliament. Been vocal as a People Power Movement lawyer and a critic fo government. Now, she has the moment to prove her skill and use this office for some good.

A person who didn’t need a party primary, but became the party flag-bearer nevertheless was Fortunate Rose Nantongo. Who replaced her deceased mother as the MP. She became the Democratic Party (DP) nominee after a handwritten application to the party. The rest is history and now she’s appointed to the Shadow Cabinet to the Gender, Labour and Social Development.

The Former Presidential Candidate Abed Bwanika is appointed to the shadow cabinet. He has turned into a NUP MP as well. It will be interesting to see a man like this who has been fishing fr relevancy and found his way to get into office. Now, will be in the shadow cabinet for agriculture. The former People’s Development Party (PDP) and who was so close to be part of the DP Block as well. This is why, I will find it interesting, if he will seek for McDonalds to trade in Uganda.

Then you Karim Masaba, the Independent MP for Mbale. Who is NUP Leaning. He is a childhood friend of Mityana MP Francis Zaake. Bobi Wine supported his candidacy directly and he was part of the NUP convoy, which routed across Mbale in 2020. Now his appointed to the Shadow Cabinet for the Tourism and Wildlife.

Surprise appointment at this point was Francis Mwijuke MP of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). We know he has a long history with Mpuuga. They have been together in the struggle since the Action 4 Change in 2011. Mwijuke is on his second term in office and been a vocal critic of the state. Still, he seemed very in favour of Kadaga as a speaker and not just doing it as a strategy. That’s why it’s interesting to see him in the Shadow Cabinet in the Trade & Industry.

Another interesting choice from Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) was Anna Ebaju Adeke. She is the former Makerere Guild President and has a Bachelor of Law. Other than the public known things, she has incorporated an foundation in 2020. This was the Anna Adeke Foundation Limited on 25th February 2020. In 2018, she was part of the deflecting MPs to the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT). However, that had to be short tint and only seeing if the ticket was viable. Since, by the times of elections she has gone to the FDC.

The one and only People’s Progressive Party MP Santa Okut have been appointed as well. She has represented the PPP before in the Parliament that was in the term of 2001 to 2006. The return is after a third try and never losing hope of returning back to Parliament. So, it will be interesting to see what she does and what ever she will do. As she’s alone in Parliament for a party founded in the early 2000s. Time will tell and she is appointed in the Shadow Cabinet for the Special Regions.

My last appointed that I find interesting… was Forum for Democratic Change Gilbert Olanya MP. He has been an Independent MP, but he become a FDC MP over time. He was another FDC MP who vied for Kadaga as speaker. Still, he been a resilient opposition MP. Who has been arrested for demonstrations in his district. This man hasn’t had it easy and put his work in. Still, it was interesting to see Mpuuga choosing him. In the Shadow Cabinet he will be working on the East African Community (EAC).

Just as we comments and look through the vast lists of Cabinet Members. The Shadow Government needs to be addressed as well. Not just praised, but wonder of their credentials too. This is why I do this. This is the first cabinet of Mpuuga. He has shown great heart, but let see how this plays out. Peace.

National Unity Platform (NUP): Office of the Leader of the Opposition – Press Statement on the current Lockdown in Uganda and Management of the COVID-19 Pandemic (25.06.2021)

The country is now battling a second COVID-19 wave. It is more devastating than the first wave. More infections and deaths are being registered countrywide. This has been fronted by the President as a basis for the current lockdown.

When compared to the lockdown in 2020, the citizens are now in a more vulnerable condition characterised by collapsing businesses, lost employment and subsequently struggling households. They have had their incomes and savings eroded in a bid to reinstate their livelihoods after the past lockdown.

Over the last couple of days when the lockdown was announced, we have been consulting specialists in the field of medicinde and health, economists and staticians, and we are here to give our view and response to the situation.

We are alive to the fact that most families can no longer afford a meal, parents struggled to return their children to school before they were again sent back home, paying rent for both homes and businesses is deplorable and of course the prohibitive cost of medical care. Additionally, the health sector is struggling to contain the pandemic. It is characterised by constraints of hospital beds, intensive care units, ambulances, motivated medical personnel and as you know it now; the severe lack of oxygen supply.

Lockdowns without development of befitting response system worsens the devasting impact of the pandemic as is the case now in Uganda. It is most felt in urban areas than rural areas although the trends now show that we could not reverse the trajectory, the rural areas too are going to bite even harder, given the nature of the systems in the areas. Elsewhere closure of businesses is reducing ability of lockdown subjects to earn and survive amidst inadequate social protection.

The situation is not helped by escalating food, fuel, electricity and water prices that are bound to even rise further in the new financial year due to the recently announced tax measures which were unmindful of the deplorable state of economic conditions of our people. It is akin to milking an unfed cow locked up in a kraal.

Ideally the initial lockdown should have been a stop gap measure to help the country buy time to develop a robust response system and mobilise resources. Unfortunately, the mobilised COVID funds amounting to over UGX 11 trillion appropriated by Parliament in FY2019/20 and FY2020/21 were grossly mismanaged. The Auditor General noted that there are ghost recipients, funds were diverted, spent on poor quality supplies, expended without supporting receipts and unjustifiably appropriated to individual leaders not institutions.

Furthermore, most of the funds were geared towards resuscitating the economy rather than boosting preparedness of the health sector which was outstretched by the pandemic.

To the contrary the unfunded gaps in health sector remained glaring. Given the intensity of the pandemic as envisaged in other countries such as India, USA, Brazil and Italy among others, more effort ought to have been geared towards funding of purchase of vaccines, ICUs, oxygen plants, ambulances, drugs among others including personal protective equipment (PPEs) for health workers.

The citizens are now facing the consequences of government’s failure to prioritise their health. The President is increasingly relegating government’s obligations to being a regulator and fronting the private sector as the service provider. We believe that this is part of the problem.

The deplorable state of government facilities and services has created massive demand for COVID treatment in private health facilities. Consequently, the cost of COVID treatment has soared to a range of UGX 2–5 million per week spent in hospital.

The situation is not helped by the low vaccination rates. Aggressive vaccination would have slowed down the spread of the virus as has been noticed in countries such as United Kingdom and USA. However out of our target population of 21.9 million, close to 870,000 have so far been vaccinated. This translates to a performance of 4%.

At this pace, it would take us 12 years to meet the target. During this time, thousands of people would have passed on due to COVID if we are to go by the 4% performance. The sluggish performance is largely attributed to government’s reliance on COVAX facility other than direct purchase of vaccine from manufacturers. While block purchases are economical, access to vaccines is slower and hampers pandemic response. This is evident in many African countries and the European Union.

The purpose of lockdown is to slow the transmission of Covid; and the purpose of slowing the transmission of Covid is not for the disease to disappear, but for government to buy time and prepare for adequate healthcare delivery as well as access. So, to say;
• Increasing hospital beds;
• Streamlining oxygen supply channels, to the extent of acquiring sufficient oxygen cylinders, Oxygen generation systems in regional referral hospitals, Oxygen delivery devices, ventilators and medical staff recruitments and their safety;
• Transforming hospital spaces into High Dependence Units (HDU) and Intensive Care Units (ICU);
• Converting public amenities into treatment supporting facilities.
• Increasing ambulance services in the hard-to-reach areas like the islands, and the highly disease burdened areas.

 

This sluggish pandemic response has also been derailed by the seemingly static messaging that focuses on prevention through washing hands, social distancing and avoiding touching of the face. It is not in tandem with the community infections and deaths.

Therefore, the latest lockdown pronouncement by the President fell short of adequately addressing the above issues and lacks deliverables that should be expected after 42 days. It is on this account that the following ought to be implemented:

Given that the new budget is yet to be executed, through a Motion of Parliament, it should be adjusted to allocate more funds towards state vaccine procurement, ambulances, testing kits, drugs, oxygen, personal protective equipment and renumeration of medical personnel;

Amend the tax measures such as rental income and excise duty that are to take effect on 1st July 2021 to temporarily reduce taxes on rent, fuel, and data. We all know the impact of taxes, and how fuel prices eventually impact food prices and consequently reduce the size of the basic basket available to the suffering masses. We believe that the tax measures announced by the Minister of Finance need to be revisited, and now, before they take effect to address the constraints of a suffering public.

We expect the President, in the circumstances, to assent to the NSSF bill to enable savers access midterm payments as a means of sustaining them during and after the pandemic.

Engage with private facilities with the intention of agreeing on minimal cost range of COVID treatment and offering incentives such as tax waives to these facilities. As long as government continues to look at these facilities as private, and therefore fail to rethink their approach to doing business, the cost of treatment will remain high, yet we know that the spread of government facilities is very limited and therefore cannot deal with the speed and current spread of the pandemic.

Recruitment of more health workers on permanent and contract basis to close the human resource gap that has been known to exist for several years to help cope with the pressure in the government health facilities. Government should also second health workers to private facilities to help and deal with the pressure and critical manpower needs in handling the pandemic.

We applaud the approach announced by the Prime Minister yesterday but we caution that this should be properly done because we are coming out of food abuse. Cash, as we know it, is very tempting and we have very weak systems. We have heard that they intend to use Mobile Money to deliver to individual citizens but we don’t have adequate data. If we consider phones available per capita and available to the poor, we see a problem. We invite the government to explain how money is going to be transferred to the citizens so that there is a democratic conversation about its feasibility.

CLOSURE OF SCHOOLS AND FREE MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE


That covid-19 originated from outside Uganda. Had there been a sustained mechanism of restricting people entering our country at the boarder points, the population would be reasonably protected from the depression and financial loss associated with lockdown.


The failure to sustain the mechanism of restriction at the point of entry, like the mandatory 14 day quarantine and testing; prompted the decline into Phase three; community transmission.


Even then, had there been COVID-19 surveillance by way of massive testing to identify hot spots throughout the country, a cluster containment strategy would be employed to avoid large local outbreaks and a National Lockdown.


It is very regrettable that a large number of students in schools tested Covid-19 Positive Whereas, this age group is observed to be very resilient to Covid-19, with the least recorded deaths, and that many covid positive students were asymptomatic and others with very mild symptoms and are largely being managed from their homes; we also know of the few cases that needed High Dependence Unit care and ICU care.

We are aware that there are isolated cases of students who have passed on and we grieve with the families.


However, we believe that the decision to close schools was hurriedly thought. In the school environment isolation would be possible by way of converting a dormitory(s) into an Isolation Treatment Centre and government would easily identify and manage the extreme cases with a preferential and specialized care, especially where parents are financially challenged.


Otherwise, the COVID-19 positive students have returned to the different destinations of the country and are in lockdown together with their families. In some families, members are more vulnerable due to compromising and underlying health issues.


This is very defeating because transmission is within households.
We worry about a decline into the phase of uncontrolled transmission.

We therefore advise that we need to invest more money in testing and vaccination.

We need to profiling the underlying health issues with patients succumbing to COVID-19.We have been informed by health workers that there are a number of deaths that are avoidable but once patients are admitted, they are detached from their families and therefore care is not adequate. We invite government to adopt a new care system that involves families of the patients once they are admitted. In some of these facilities, families should be allowed to attend to their loved ones and given the same protection as given to a health worker. Families are reporting that their loved ones are dying in isolation and without information.

We are demanding for transparent treatment system; a more transparent protocol of treating the COVID-19 patients because there is also evidence that the lack of transparency accounts for some of the deaths.


• A phased Lockdown;
We believe that the issue of a Lockdown would have been phased and therefore, it is not late to be revisited. This is our proposal;

Every 2 weeks of a lockdown, the country should also have a 5-days lull to test the veracity of the government’s intervention because simply locking down without action is like running away from the epidemic.
1 week lockdown followed with 5 days break; when we do this, it will facilitate the government to understand whether what they are doing is working without necessarily breaking down the economy.
MASSIVE TESTING


Massive Testing informs the policy of Lockdown on whether it’s achieving its purpose or not. Without massive testing the country can be condemned to an abnormally longer lockdown than necessary.


The practice with covid-19 positive patients is self-isolation of 14 days along with treatment, before subsequent testing. What informs the need of a 42 day lockdown? All the parameters that show progress against the disease, like the time taken for the positive cases to double, the daily recorded positives; are informed by results from a sustained massive testing.


There are 2 types of tests;
Antigen Test: where a covid-19 Positive patient is identified, and medically managed.


Antibody Test: This identifies people who have developed immunity against COVID. The antibody test is very cheap and simple to perform. It’s as simple as doing a pregnancy test only that the sample used is a drop of blood.

The test strips are as cheap as $4, approximately UgxShs 15,000 as opposed to the antigen test which costs UgxShs 180,000.


The massive Antibody test will inform us whether Uganda has reached the Herd Immunity. But most importantly, it will inform the policy on Vaccine procurement and Vaccination.

We recognize that vaccines are not readily available on the world market; especially to countries that are waiting for them as donations. We have already observed and noted that funds should be voted to procure vaccines from the most reliable private suppliers, if we are to meet the target earlier envisaged by the Ministry of Health.

Mpuuga Mathias

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN PARLIAMENT

Opinion: The bloated structures of the Cabinet [and just showing a few ministries(!)]

The newly minted 80 Cabinet Minister’s is an overkill. When you read that people are representing a government and being Ministers. You can wonder? How does that work and what is the gist of this? It is really a messed up system. A frustrated one.

Just to put things in perspective. There isn’t just one President, one Vice-President and one Prime Minster. No, these three has offices directly underneath it. Which is the start of the hectic structure, which President Yoweri Tibuhurwa Kaguta Museveni have created over the years and is only making bigger after each election.

That is without counting the people hired, working and being civil servants. Neither looking into all the Presidential Advisors, which by 2017/18 was about 163. He has appointed others since then and in 2020 was about 170. Now there is appointed a 5 more. Meaning the amount of Presidential Advisors is about 175. We can only know the exact of this, if a Ministerial Policy Statement ahead of the budget drops the full figure and the salaries for all of these appointees. Who is cashing in their checks on the regular.

Now, let’s return to the cabinet and it’s hectic structure.

Begining with the President.

There are 3 directly ministers under the President. These are the Minister of the Presidency, Minister of Security and Minister Serviced by the State House Controller, In-Charge of Science, Technology and Innovation.

However, this is not enough, there is two State Minsters under the President. Minister of State for Election Monitoring and Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity.

Therefore, just underneath the Office of the President there is three (3) directly under him and two (2) who “junior” ministers. This means there is five ministers with various of portfolios under the Presidency and in-connection directly to the President.

Secondly the Prime Minister has it even more of structural issue. Not only does the Prime Minister have three (3) direct deputies underneath. It has two (2) Ministers in the Office of the Prime Minister, this is the General Duties and the Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees. In addition there is five (5) “junior” ministers under the Office of the Prime Minster. Meaning there is a collection of 8 Ministers with various of portfolios and roles. These in combination to the 3 deputies. Totally being 11 officials, which all are under order of the Prime Minster. This must be a hectic mess.

Thirdly, the Vice-President on the other hand has only one (1) “junior” minister under the office of the VP. Who just seems to be the Deputy of the “Deputy” President too. With no specific role, but being a minister in the office of the VP. That must be a chill role.

When we look at Ministers directly in Ministries themselves. Then it makes more sense, but also shows how they operate and how many people the President is really employing to this.

Just looking at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. There is one (1) minister, but three (3) “junior” ministers underneath. The Juniors are directly having one for each part of the ministry. Meaning one junior for Agriculture, Animal Industry (livestock) and Fisheries. How to make it a bother and employ four (4) persons to run ONE Ministry!

Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs have one (1) minister, but two (2) “junior” ministers. These are one for each side. Meaning one is working for Defence and the other for Veterans Affairs. This has secured the state three (3) ministers.

In the Ministry of Education and Sports, there is one (1) minster, but three (3) “junior” ministers. There is one (1) for Higher Education, Primary Education and Sports. Clearly, the main could have hold on to three (3) of these jobs with the education, but the sports could be totally separate. Still, this shows how the President is creating posts for his Movement. This is another 4 to run one Ministry.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has one (1) minster, but two (2) juniors. You can guess the structure. One “junior” for Energy and another for Minerals. Therefore, to run this Ministry is three (3) ministries.

Again, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) have one (1) minster, but four (4) “junior” ministers. The “juniors” are posted in General Duties, Planning, Privatization and Investment and Micro-Finance. This is having five (5) ministers to run this ministry alone.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs have one (1) minister, but has two (2) “junior” ministers. One is posted at International Affairs and the other at Regional Affairs. What is striking here and shows the lacking structures and how they entangles each other. Is that the 1st Deputy Prime Minster is for the East African Community, which would have been fitted under the MoFA, but for some reason is breached out of here.

Then you have the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development have one (1) minister, but has five (5) “junior” ministers. This is one (1) for Gender and Culture, Youth and Children Affairs, Employment and Industrial Relations, Disability Affairs and Elderly Affairs. This means six (6) ministers are running this ministry.

The ironic thing about this ministry in one fashion and additional representation is that the Parliament has five (5) Youth MPs and Five (5) Elderly MPs as representatives as well. Plus the 5 Workers MPs as well. This means there 15 MPs who works and are there directly for the causes of the Ministry. This should further add to the structure and shows there is 21 High Ranking Officials who are there for these specific reasons and not picked on a random.

I could continue, but I feel I am getting the point across. There are other ministries who are bloated and have to many hands. There are already a flex of people who are appointed and works in the Ministries. This is just the ministers and the “junior” ministers aka State Ministers. Therefore, we are not looking into the Permanent Secretaries and the other civil servants. All the other organizations in the hierarchy or within the Ministry itself. Where they are also covering the same mandate and working towards the same goal.

This just show the brutal truth of how the government is made for hacks, cronies and the extended entourage of the President. His hiring his folks and allies. Secures jobs for the ones he can from the opposition as well. Just to spite these parties and show his “victories” over them. Peace.

The new cabinet isn’t that sharp [Museveni’s most intriguing Minister’s for 2021-26] Part III

This is the third and final instalment in the series after the announcement of the 80 members big cabinet. Where President Yoweri Tibuhurwa Kaguta Museveni appoints the new ministers. Where he retains a dozens, but also shuffles a few. That is visible too, but I am only looking at the ones who is appointed and their past.

The first is General David Muhoozi. The Commander of the Defence Force (CDF) of the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) aka the army. The highest command of the army is appointed as the Minister of State for Internal Affairs. Another General into the Cabinet and shows how militarized the politics are. Not enough with 10 UPDF MPs in Parliament and the other army commanders and retired generals in appointments. This fella needs to be there too. That is really a bad precedent without even looking into his history or what he has done as a commander. That says a lot.

Another who has retained his office is Peter Lokeris. Who has been a State Minister for Energy and Mineral Development with focus on Minerals. A man who is not open for transparency and being open with the agreements of extraction of the mineral resources in the Republic. This must be a gem for Museveni to retain. Have him to wheel and deal, while not leaking or being open about the agreements made with the various of companies and licence agreements.

A man who gets a new ministry, but has been there for years is Obiga Kania, the State Minister for Urban Developments. Former Internal Affairs and he has really a bad record. A man who serves the President well, but not the general public. As long as Museveni are in office. It seems like this man will have a safe haven.

We have the former opposition and turned yellow, Beatrice Anywar. She went from Mama Mbira to become another autocrats best friend. She lost in both the Primaries and the General Election in 2021. This is her second office and ministerial office, State Minister of Water and Environment in-charge of Environment. Clearly her newfound loyalty is paying off. Though she is like Evelyn Anite only living on mercy from the President. Since both of them couldn’t get re-elected into Parliament this time around.

Another one who is well known in the cabinet is Musa Ecweru. Who before politics was an accountant and worked for years as a Residential District Commissioner which he did between 1998 to 2006. Where he was working in the districts of Nebbi, Gulu, Kasese and Soroti. Before joining politics. He has been in Parliament since 1996. Before his appointment now as a deputy to Gen. Wamala. Ecweru was a State Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness. Still, the mudslides and landslides haven’t stopped and the state haven’t had anything prepared in the hour of need. This man is an inept minister. Who is lucky to have the good graces of Museveni. If he didn’t have that. He wouldn’t be near any ministerial post.

So, with this third edition I have now described and taken 25 of 80 appointments. That is more than enough. This is all people who will serve diligently. The President will direct and object to their actions. The NRM Caucus with everything will direct their moves. There are so many players. So, they are not chefs alone. They shouldn’t expect much freedom or liberty. However, they are granted a huge pay-check and allowances. They are the high ranking officials of the state. Peace.

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