M7 DELAYED CABINET RESHUFFLE CAUSES ANXIETY IN TESO REGION
By Mulengera Reporters
When Serere woman MP Hellen Adoa was recently hosted at one of the President’s ranches, an impression was created the big man was possibly weighing the prospects of appointing her Minister in his upcoming cabinet reshuffle.
It’s not hard to understand the genesis of this speculation. In 2015, the President drove to Serere where he addressed a rally on the eve of the 2016 general campaigns. He had no kind words for the then district woman MP Alice Alaso who loomed large as the powerful founding Secretary General of the FDC party. He called her a saboteur of his development programs in the area and begged voters to help him overcome her at the subsequent elections.
He pledged he would reward Serere the day they help her politically neutralize Alaso in the ballot box. He also promised a big political prize for any female NRM cadre that would defeat Alaso in elections. Alaso had largely been credited for the political thumping Col Kizza Besigye occasioned on the big man from Rwakitura during the previous elections especially that of 2006.
That year, Museveni’s NRM licked their political wounds not only because KB floored him but because the nascent Najjanankumbi party equally performed well at local council and Parliamentary levels. Being Secretary General and the most senior FDC leader in Teso, Alaso took much of this credit and her rating as a national political power broker soared.
This is the background explaining why whenever he got the microphone to speak crowds in Teso, Museveni always spoke very viciously against her. Some extremist NRM cadres followed suit and began describing Alaso as the political cancer that had to be uprooted for the NRM-spearheaded service delivery programs to improve in Teso sub region. Museveni corroborated this by referring to Alaso’s name each time voters cried of poor service delivery in Teso and unfulfilled pledges including those related to post-insurgency reconstruction.
ADOA INTO THE PIX
Hence being the one who in 2016 finally felled the political colossus Alaso had become, relentless Adoa or even her supporters and area political pundits considered it a given the new Serere woman MP would be made a minister in the post-election reshuffle especially that equally helpful actors like Jessica Alupo had been defeated.
Ironically this never happened, leaving many politically broken. Naturally those resentful of Adoa jubilated until recently when the former class room teacher, who had for long been blocked, managed to get one to one audience with the H.E. When pictures of the encounter emerged on social media, her foes felt disturbed and got down to work.
For starters, Adoa is a businesswoman of great repute operating many businesses including Halcyon High School which is one of the sub region’s best private academic institutions the other being Mzee Oryong’s Geresa High School. Her school, perceived by many to be in ugly competition with Geresa, has over 2,000 students.
These are mostly destitute children and orphans from economically vulnerable families in Karamoja and Teso sub regions. And it has always been believed that to cripple her even politically, one must occasion an attack on her businesses from which she derives the lifeline to sustain lethal political operations.
This explains why when issues came up with an expelled student turning round to allege sexual molestation by the head teacher, Adoa’s supporters considered this to be an act of political sabotage to soil her image before the president and also cripple the school much of whose success is considered to be deriving from the head teacher’s excellent performance and management style. That one of the 8 students that were expelled for misconduct joined Geresa only made the situation more complicated.
The Soroti CPS initially investigated and exonerated the head teacher concluding the sexual molestation allegations were malicious and untrue. But the PR damage had already been done given that parents naturally react very apprehensively at mere allegation of sex molestation of their children at school. It won’t matter much even if it’s a mere rumor. The head teacher, who had previously declined juicy remuneration offers to defect to rival schools, resumed his duties and soldiered on.
THINGS FALL APART
Adoa hoped the fact that her school charges low and affordable school fees, despite very high academic standards, would be sufficient to ensure numbers don’t drop inspite of the sex molestation claims. This actually happened and sanity had returned to the school until recently when the molestation claims were resurrected. This time round, someone purporting to be a concerned parent petitioned the Police Standards Unit (PSU) demanding severe sanctioning against the Soroti area police leaders who had previously handled the inquiry into the head teacher’s conduct.
To ensure maximum damage and attention, the petition was copied to many other offices in Kampala including the IGP Okoth Ochora, UHRC, Ethics/Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo, Ministry of Education and Board of Governors for Adoa’s own Halcyon High School Soroti.
Copying in the board risked frightening external funders whose financing has always made it possible for Adoa to offer heavily subsidized education yet of high quality. The petition was very comprehensive highlighting many things and the author makes a plea that action must be taken against the headmaster to ensure people’s children aren’t endangered while schooling at Adoa’s school. Intriguingly, the copies of the petition were originated by a personal assistant to what of the Teso political leaders on the social media networks where it first emerged.
Adoa supporters claim that all this is aimed at demonizing her school so that enrollment drops and in the end she gets financially constrained and unable to mobilize sufficient resources for the upcoming intense campaigns both for NRM primaries and general elections. This is why the mood in the Adoa camp is that of nervousness since her pursuers don’t seem prepared to deescalate things with their eye ultimately being on her MP Seat whose slipping away will automatically diminish her chances of ever being appointed cabinet minister.
It’s apparently not going to be easy for her because one of the ladies she competed with last time has deep connections in State House where her sibling has worked directly reporting to the president. In fact, sources say some assistants in State House had to answer and explain regarding how the Adoa-Museveni ranch encounter was arranged.
The visit’s photos is something that has emboldened her supporters to soldier on. Yet during the President’s recent visit to Serere, something very controversial happened pulling the rag under the feet of Adoa’s adversaries who aren’t only in Serere but in other districts of Teso.
To her total exclusion, actors from outside Serere had worked with parallel structures and prepared hundreds of defectors that Museveni would receive to be coming from Patrick Amuriat’s FDC. When Adoa, who was at the event learnt of this moments to the ceremony, she used her connections within the President’s entourage and foiled the move.
Mzee’s protocol teams deleted the item off the big man’s itinerary while in the district and the argument Adoa’s camp kept fronting in justification was that these weren’t authentic defectors but merely something-a façade-meant to indicate to the President the area woman MP was after all not in charge of the political mobilization of her own district.
As Adoa (who is facing a resurgent Alaso who is curiously loaded these days) ponders her next move, her political adversaries are said to be numerically growing by the day given the interest many political actors from the East attach on inclusion into Museveni’s cabinet. Alaso, who is these days the defacto SG for Gen Mugisha Muntu’s ANT having acrimoniously quit FDC a party she co-founded with others, is determined leaving no stone unturned in her efforts to get back her Serere woman MP position. (For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).