M7 RETURNS MAJ EDITH NAKALEMA: BUT WILL SHE WORK WITH PPS MOLLY KAMUKAMA?
By Our Reporters
In what many State House watchers saw as signaling the resumption of active intrigue in the State House corridors, President Museveni Sunday night announced the return of much feared Maj Edith Nakalema in his circles. As the big man rightly stated, the hitherto very powerful Nakalema (naughty West Africans referred to her as Maj Makarema during the AU Kazibwe vote in Kigali) has been away in UK for a military course. As part of his address to the nation Sunday night, Museveni revealed that Nakalema had completed her course and is back to town to continue from where she stopped. As private secretary to the President for secretarial affairs (she calls him Mweshimewa), Nakalema wielded a lot of powers in State House having effectively taken advantage of then substantive PPS Mary Amajo’s laid back character to run the show and be perceived by many as defacto PPS. The very prayerful officer from Kashari in Mbarara district was so much feared those days that ministers and MPs trembled at merely seeing her from a distance. Whereas critics felt she was unnecessarily too tough, there are those who appreciated her for strictly enforcing decorum around the President. She had started out as a finance manager in the SFC from where she was seconded to State House to help Mweshimewa fill the administrative gap the Amelia Kyambadde departure had conspicuously created. She did a lot and greatly impacted on those she interacted with in such a short time. Some liked her for being youth-friendly and always ensured her favorite youth leaders like David Kabanda (Sam Kutesa’s PA) and Abdul Kitata always had frequent audience with the generous big man from Rwakitura who willingly facilitated them to do some clandestine political work for him.
However, Nakalema’s glorious days where brought to an abrupt ending when equally powerful and connected Molly Kamukama became the PPS substantively replacing Mary Amajo. Naturally, Nakalema who had become PPS Defacto was to suffer diminished clout as Kamukama moved to assert her authority as the new PPS. The two historically aren’t best allies and are renowned for bitterly exchanging before the President even in high level meetings. Months into Molly’s tenure, the President prudently acted and sent Nakalema to the UK for a prestigious military course. To do this the President dismayed some people when he rejected their advice to contemptuously send Rev Serwadda’s daughter to Bombo army offices for redeployment elsewhere in the UPDF. Those who have seen her, say Nakalema (who these days holds very strong views on ideology, management and transformation of Uganda) now has more swag than before. Even her accent has changed and she now speaks like somebody who was born and raised in the UK. “She is more sophisticated in the way she talks and carries herself about,” said a State House source adding that this image make-over by Nakalema had discomforted some in Molly Kamukama’s camp. There are fears her return and the president’s decision to approvingly talk about her in public during the Sunday address is only going to create more uneaseness among Molly’s adherents in State House. The President says Nakalema will be using her newly acquired skills to coordinate his anti-corruption efforts. The big man freely read out her number to the public on Sunday and was categorical she is the one through whom the public should report corruption.
This is how Museveni came to make reference to Maj Nakalema. He said whereas he had accomplished many things and Uganda was finally at the take-off stage, there are 6 areas that are still constraining progress. He listed corruption as top on that list but he said Ugandans shouldn’t worry because graft was being tackled like never before. He then read out his own office hotline (0800100770) through which citizens should directly volunteer information exposing the corrupt. He said this goes directly to his office but in case anyone finds it hard using that line, they can still report and reach him through Maj Nakalema whose phone number (0772634743) he read out twice and encouraged members of the public to make use of it. Since she will be doing her duties still within the precincts of State House, Maj Nakalema will only be able to effectively deliver on her mandate after beginning to acknowledge the authority of Molly Kamukama who, as PPS, is the boss over and above all State House employees including powerful figures like comptroller Lucy Nakyobe and the controversial Gen Proscovia Nalweyiso. Failure to submit to the PPS’ authority will only complicate things for everyone working at Uganda’s seat of power. But it will also require those employees considering themselves Molly allies opening up and begin to perceive Nakalema with diminished suspicion and mistrust. For feedback, reach us on 0703164755.