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SECRETS WHY M7 MINISTERS ARE FRUSTRATED [MORALE VERY LOW]

By Mulengera Reporters 

When Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah died last month and the NRM party called upon those wanting the job to express interest, several Ministers stepped forward asserting they wanted the thing. An intrigued President Museveni was to later tell the country he had to prevail over some of them on the account of frail health. The country wondered why one holding a position believed to be privileged and fulfilling, such as being a Minister, would risk going for such a competitive race characterized by plenty of the unknown.

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Mulengera News now knows the extent to which some of these Cabinet positions have deliberately become demystified in Museveni’s Uganda. The inquiry Mulengera News has anonymously been conducting has revealed that many are not that much proud anymore about being Ministers in contemporary Uganda. Several Ministers we spoke to admitted feeling powerless and unable to make things happen. Even those who initially jubilated, expecting to live in luxury, are beginning to become frustrated because the material benefits, their predecessors reaped, have since become very much diminished. Some are simply politically fatigued having been Ministers for an eternity.

One Minister said nothing had made him/her excited the day they were appointed like the trips predecessors used to brag about. These are no more and many Ministers are angry that even when Finance Minister Matia Kasaija recently tried to reinstate them during a Cabinet meeting, the big man from Rwakitura objected saying the Covid19-era restrictions had indicated to him that it was possible for one to be an efficient Minister without travelling abroad.

“The budgets of Ministries had at some point been cut by 40% and the President has insisted that to remain the case which has made Ministries totally under-resourced and redundant because we are not facilitated to adequately move even in-land. The new Programme-based approach to planning and service delivery has come with a lot of anxiety and even our PSs are confused and stressed. Projects’ money is no longer easily available as it were. You sit in office and only attend to visitors, mostly voters from the Constituency, who bring you lugambo expecting to earn from you in return. They won’t understand that by the way these days we ministers live only on our salaries. No more allowances that would come from travels abroad which was a very lucrative area which the President continues to block. But the thing is that besides selfishly making some money, those trips are very good learning opportunities,” said one Minister.

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Another Minister, newly appointed, revealed that the belligerence with which Gen Museveni lately conducts Cabinet meetings has made some Ministers to become very apprehensive about driving to Entebbe every Monday for such sessions. “The President has lately become so impatient for results and Cabinet meetings are no longer fan to attend. Even senior people reach there and become very terrorized because everybody fears to annoy the boss or even be misunderstood. There is a lot of pressure in the public and resentment towards us is everywhere on social media. Yet these are things nobody is prepared to bring up for discussion in cabinet because of too much fear for the President.”

The Minister adds that the infighting, whereby most State Ministers perceive their seniors as adversaries who don’t wish them well, has only made things more complicated. Stressing on the belligerence with which Gen Museveni conducts Cabinet these days, one State Minister remarked as follows: “We used to envy our seniors when we would be asked to stay away from Cabinet meetings during those days of severe Covid restrictions but we have now realized that going to Entebbe to face the President isn’t a bed of roses anymore as we used to think.” Another Minister said the belligerence is because Gen Museveni (renowned for being thin-skinned on certain things) realizes the public remains dissatisfied even when a lot has been done and believes it’s the Ministers letting him down and not doing enough to meet citizens’ expectations.

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Some say the quality of leadership Prime Minister Robinah Nabanja has offered thus far (when compared to her predecessor Rugunda) has also created complications for many in Cabinet. Gratefully, this is something Mulengera News has insightfully written about previously as can be seen hereunder https://mulengeranews.com/m7-tells-off-nabbanja-stop-fighting-vp-alupo/;https://mulengeranews.com/tumwebaze-dares-nabanja-why-are-you-antagonizing-me-with-the-president/;https://mulengeranews.com/inside-the-stormy-monday-meeting-where-kasaija-cried-as-nabanja-pinned-ministers-evelyne-anite-tumwebaze/.

POVERTY @ HEART OF GOVT

Yet there is much more. In what manifests poverty at the heart of government, some Ministers have struggled to have access to basic things which their predecessors used to take for granted not very long ago. A lot of service delivery areas have had to be starved of funding in order to realize enough resources to fund the implementation of the Parish Development Model (PDM) which Gen Museveni fallaciously thinks will be the magic wand to end poverty in the villages and bring universal transformation and prosperity for many of the currently poverty-stricken Ugandans. This fundraising in favor of PDM has condemned many especially State Ministers to near destitution with those coordinated under the OPM enduring the worst. We are talking about Luwero Triangle, Northern Uganda, Bunyoro & Teso Affairs. Sometimes they can’t even have fuel to go to the field as often as would be desirable.

We illustrate this resource scarcity at the heart of government by referring to a few examples: Teso Affairs Minister Clement Kenneth Ongalo-Obote has had to do without the appropriate official car for months now and has been crying to State House and the Finance Minister for rescue. The Ethics Minister Akello Rose Lilly has had to grumblingly do with an old government pick-up since she was posted to replace Fr. Simon Lokodo (now deceased).

The much-sidelined David Bahati, who currently serves as State Minister for Trade having been relegated from the Finance Ministry after he personally annoyed Gen Museveni one of whose sensitive assignments he mishandled, has been using his personal vehicle to do government work for months.

At the Ministry of Gender, Dominic Gidudu Mafabi (for elderly persons) has had to endure the embarrassment that comes with travelling in a very old government vehicle that keeps breaking down each time he attempts to travel upcountry. Another Minister at the same Ministry Sarah Mateke, in charge of youths & children affairs, isn’t any better because she travels in an equally old car which the PS Aggrey Kibenge had to hijack from a Commissioner.

Recently Mafabi attempted to drive to his home land in Bugisu and the vehicle broke down and halted in the middle of Iganga town where the jobless young people shouted all manner of obscenities at him instead of coming to his rescue. Urgent rescue had to be mobilized for him from Kampala and by the time he was evacuated, more than enough damage had been caused.

Peter Ogwang, who is Minister in charge of Economic Monitoring, recently had to leverage on his excellent personal relationship with Evelyn Anite, an influential State Minister at the Finance Ministry, to get a befitting vehicle to use to go around doing government errands. It was important he urgently gets a befitting vehicle because his monitoring work involves moving around the country to supervise service delivery in Local Governments upcountry.

The logistics-related misery hasn’t spared the Deputy Premier and EAC Affairs Minister Rebecca Kadaga who until not very long ago lived large and very powerfully as Speaker of Parliament. Quite often, the long convoy she maintained even after ceasing to be Speaker suffers acute scarcities relating to fuel and remuneration of some of the escorts who are entitled to some allowances. One Minister remarked: “We are dealing with scarcities everywhere and when it comes to vehicle-related logistics, it’s only the Prime Minister and Minister Colleagues at the Finance Ministry that can be said to be plentifully having everything they need to do government work,” said one of the Ministers we spoke to for this article. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at mulengeranews@gmail.com).

 

 

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