By John V Sserwaniko
Unless President Museveni looks at them favorably, four senior Permanent Secretaries could find themselves jobless by mid-March. This is so because they each have barely a month to the end of their three year contracts which are expiring in the second week of March this very year. The affected PSs include Christine Guwatudde of OPM, Works Ministry’s Waiswa Baligeya, Ethics Ministry’s Alex Okello and Finance Ministry’s Keith Muhakanizi (aka PSST). As Secretary to Treasury, Muhakanizi also has the responsibility to deploy other accounting officers for the different government ministries and agencies. You can’t be accounting officer and get entrusted to handle government money without Muhakanizi signing your instrument of appointment. That makes long-serving Muhakanizi a super PS of sorts.
CLINGING ON MORE
Whereas many thought Muhakanizi was tired and would opt out at expiry of his current contract, the man from Rukungiri has already written to the appointing authority indicating desire to stay on. The procedure is that the incumbent PSs don’t have to have their jobs advertised at expiry of their contracts. What happens is that one just writes indicating readiness to carry on. Public Service then prepares to subject them to a vetting exercise to determine their suitability for reappointment. As part of that vetting, Public Service accesses previous reports of Auditor General, PPDA, Prime Minister’s assessment scorecard for the different MDAs, the NPA’s Certificate of Compliance (CoC) and reports from the IGG if any. This is meant to establish the extent to which a given PS or accounting officer has been accountably spending public funds entrusted to him or her in the preceding three FYs. The interview sessions are arranged for the given PS to have the opportunity to elaborate his or her accomplishments and give reasons for the failures. It’s also an opportunity to explain what one intends to do better or differently once given a new contract. The assessment report is then dispatched to the President pointing out what the Public Service considers to be the weak and strong points of a given PS. Basing on the report, the President directs his PPS Molly Kamukama to draft an instrument of reappointment for the big man’s signature. The signed instruments are then sent back to the respective PSs still through Public Service. State House sources say that because of the fact that the 2021 general election is around the corner, Museveni is generally in a magnanimous mood and wouldn’t want to use his constitutional powers to disappoint anyone. “Chances are high they will all bounce back not because they have had exceptional performance but largely because we these days live in a Uganda where it’s fashionable for the incumbents to keep their positions for the status quo to be maintained almost everywhere in government to avoid making the big man [M7] look odd,” said one of the knowledgeable sources we spoke to for this article. Museveni has rarely declined reappointing a PS once vetted and passed as satisfactory by Public Service and the only few ill-fated contenders whose desire for reappointment he declined in recent times were PSC’s Duncan Bigirwa and MAAIF’s Pius Rubarema. The two indicated readiness to carry on and were vetted satisfactory by Public Service but Museveni refused to reappoint them and opted to appoint totally new people to take their positions and this is barely three years ago. For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755.