TRADE BOSSES FIGHT OVER NEW MINISTRY OFFICES: SOME WANT TO RENT ONE OF THE K’LA BUILDINGS BELONGING TO DR. SUDHIR
By Mulengera Reporters
For months now, political leaders at the Ministry of Trade & Industry have been sharply split regarding whether to take up very expensive rental space at Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia‘s Kingdom Building or staying put at their Farmers House headquarters which they currently occupy free of charge since it belongs to the GoU which owns it through a company called Uganda Property Holdings Ltd.
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A group led by State Minister David Bahati has been favoring proposals to relocate to more spacious and better furnished Kingdom Building because it offers a more corporate setting. These had for months been emboldened by a report purported to be coming from KCCA condemning Farmers House as too old and therefore unfit for habitation.
The group’s advocacy in favor of taking up rented space at Sudhir‘s Building, however, suffered a major setback when KCCA wrote a letter stating that Farmers House remains okay, solid and in habitable state provided some renovations and painting is done on it.
Armed with this written clarification from KCCA, the group opposed to renting Sudhir‘s Building came to top management more emboldened than ever before. Comprising of the Senior Minister Francis Mwebesa, Hariet Ntabazi and PS Geraldine Ssali, the pro-status quo group members subsequently prevailed leaving members of the Bahati school of thought with an egg on their face.
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The sharp disagreements created as a result of the debate on office space has since toxicated the work environment at the Trade Ministry to the extent that Hon Bahati these days feels dejected and almost unwanted at the Ministry. Even when he attends weekly top management meetings, Bahati, who many think deserves to be full Cabinet Minister, is not enthusiastic as he used to be.
The lukewarm state he is in these days has emboldened or prompted less prolific Hariet Ntabazi to vigorously step forward and take charge of agencies like UNBS which ordinarily are supposed to be part of Bahati‘s docket. The withdrawn Bahati was also among those who never promptly got allocated official cars at the Trade Ministry which is famous for being among those that are least funded by the government of Gen YK Museveni.
In the ensuing belligerent debate in the corridors of the Ministry, some members of the Bahati school of thought have resorted to complaining that their man has been undermined and sidelined from the execution of the Ministry’s mainstream work. Those against Bahati have claimed that no one has sidelined him and have mockingly been making sarcastic suggestions that the very senior Ndorwa West MP should use his seniority to convince the President to transfer the supervision of the Morrison Rwakakamba-led Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) from the Ministry of Finance to that of Trade & Industry. (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at email@example.com).