By Mulengera Reporters
In his short life of 45 years on planet earth, Daniel Fred Kidega has been many things and has reason to be grateful to the Almighty God. From being Speaker for the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Kidega has been things his peers can ordinarily only dream about. The UCU and Kyambogo University graduate has been MP in the Ugandan Parliament (2001-2006 representing youth of Northern Uganda) and also sits on the NRM NEC.
Despite not being at Makerere (on whose governing Council he now sits), Kidega (a former Ntare HP) in the 1990s served as the President National Youth Council (NYC), the very position Lillian Aber now occupies. In 2001, young as he was, Kidega was a member of the President’s national campaign taskforce as he faced (his former Political Commissar) Col Kizza Besigye for the first time. In the course of doing a campaign errand in the 2001 campaigns, Kidega fell into an ambush by LRA along with his childhood buddy Richard Todwong. The two had been sent to deliver campaign funds by Afande Noble Mayombo.
Before joining Parliament, Kidega had also plentifully eaten things serving as a personal assistant to then VP Specioza Kazibwe who, unlike laid back Edward Sekandi, was an eventful VP with a lot of activities and even had the agriculture docket under her. Kidega lasted in that position for two years.
In 2007, shortly after completing his tour of duty as youth MP (and losing the Kilak County race to FDC’s Mike Ocula), Kidega leveraged on his NRM connections and became one of the 9 Ugandan politicians representing the Pearl of Africa in the Arusha-based EALA. He worked at EALA for 10 straight years (2007-2017) and even exploited circumstances of the day to become EALA Speaker after members rejected Margaret Zziwa Nantongo whose term he completed (December 2014-2017).
On ceasing to be EALA Speaker and MP, Kidega (addicted to endless groceries that come with occupying those high-flying political offices) scouted around for opportunities to lobby for and the NRM establishment consoled him with a posting on the Makerere University governing Council.
As Speaker EALA, Kidega earned a monthly salary of $10,000; had a chauffeur-driven vehicle, fatty housing allowance, exclusively flew business class, regularly interacted with the mighty in the EAC region and beyond, had his own budget and a huge secretariat with well qualified supporting staff including an executive personal secretary, PA and others. Besides all that clout, Kidega also qualified to have the EAC secretariat pay for the education of four of his biological children in any school of his choice globally. He was also eligible to import in vehicles into the country without attracting any tax liability, a privilege all the other EALA MPs enjoy.
Having been in such positions of privilege for much of his time since leaving Parliament, Kidega is once again job-hunting. Evidence? He recently shocked many when he applied for the job of Executive Director (ED) for Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) which many consider to be an organization with very limited clout because of thin budget allocation it gets annually. Here the ED earns a basic salary which many see as peanuts compared to what CEOs earn elsewhere. And sources say that the fact that Kidega can passionately apply for such a position is indicative of how desperate he is for positions. It remains to be seen how he will handle the conflicting situation in case he succeeds in becoming UIA ED and yet he has also previously been perceived by fellow members in the NRM as one appropriate to replace elderly Sam Engola as the NRM Vice Chairperson for the Northern region.
Whereas some analysts we spoke to considered it a plus to go for the UIA position (advertised recently) as it shows he is a man of humility, majority pundits had no kind words for Kidega. To such sceptics, his decision to fight for the UIA job is indicative of a man whose mentality is the Ugandan tax payer must look after him for an eternity as opposed to leaving the opportunity for others to also enjoy public office.
Yet the larger dilemma is that Kidega is just one of the many former NRM MPs and politicians who are eyeing the job and have actually put in their applications. One of them is Nusura Tiperu who, just like Kidega, did 10 straight years at EALA after doing another 10 in the Ugandan Parliament where she preceded him as youth MP (1996-2001) before bouncing back to the same legislature as Yumbe woman MP (2001-2006). (For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755 or email us at email@example.com).