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By John V Sserwaniko

Some ministers risked the wrath of the President and put up a fight in three cabinet sessions trying to prevent some government agencies and entities from being disbanded. Two of the meetings were in August and one in September. “It was a very important matter for the President and that’s why he insisted on being the one to chair all the meetings lest Rugunda gets arm-twisted and doesn’t do the thing the way he [M7] wanted it,” said a cabinet source.  Museveni would sit right up there with a huge document. He would go reading out each agency and then invite ministers to give their views on whether it’s appropriate to retain or disband it. He would then insist that the John Mitala-led members of the cabinet secretariat have recorded the right thing in the minutes. Sources say during the discussions, there are entities on whose fate it wasn’t easy to generate unanimity. One of them was URSB which Mr. Twebaze Bemanya, the controversial man from Kanungu, built from scratch. Those leading the onslaught to have it disbanded were led by Investments & Privatization Minister Evelyn Anite who personally has sharp differences with Bemanya having fallen out on the most appropriate investor to acquire the majority stake in UTL. She had previously returned from studies abroad and Museveni, who clearly knows her views on Bemanya, prompted her saying ‘my daughter what do you have to say?” Naturally she said “Mzee scrap that one.” She was immediately joined by cheer leaders like Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, Benny Namugwanya and Haruna Kasolo. The trio spoke so eloquently against URSB that they left Museveni with no option but to overlook the persuasive arguments Gen Kahinda Otafiire and AG William Byaruhanga were making trying to justify URSB’ continued stay. They tried to argue that it wasn’t possible to disband URSB without breaching international obligations but their reasoning was easily drowned by the noise and foot-stamping those against Bemanya kept making. Then came Prof Ephraim Kamuntu who almost shed tears when Museveni shut him up as he painfully explained how much forex UTB had brought in (Shs5trn/$1.4bn last FY). But Museveni was clearly decided and in a hurry to move to the next agency. Kamuntu, a renowned defector from UPC, endlessly shook his head as if to say “but sir this isn’t being fair to UTB.” Kamuntu must have left Entebbe emotionally wounded because even Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) wasn’t retained. These entities are what often made whoever held the lucrative tourism docket powerful and disbanding them no doubt erodes all that clout. Luwero Triangle Minister Dennis Ssozi Galabuzi (also Busiro North MP) unsuccessfully defended NITA-Uganda and even left the cabinet meeting earlier than other colleagues because the emotional wounds of failure were too deep and too painful for him. When it came to Moses Kamabare’s National Medical Stores (NMS), the ministers were unanimous that the entity had done a good job and praised the GM Kamabare for running it in a corporate values-based manner that makes it a model of excellence for other MDAs to emulate. Cancer and Heart Institutes were unexpectedly merged and returned back to mother ministry of health. Sources say this easily sailed through because ministers were unhappy with the way UCI Director Jackson Orem was always a disrespectful intriguer who never co-existed with his bosses Minister Jane Ruth Aceng and PS Dr. Diana Atwine. Sources say cabinet members were sick and tired of endless wars, some of which were spilling into the media, regarding the excessive autonomous powers Dr. Orem always insisted on having to himself. Even when the finance ministry allowed him to take his budget and autonomously procure medicines for cancer patients, the intrigue never abated. NDA disbandment also reportedly excited ministers from MAAIF especially Joy Kabatsi who had been having public spats with its board Chairman Dr. Medard Bitekyerezo. For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755.



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