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  • Written by:

    Dan Mwangi


    Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has recently described his ministers as selfish people who do not put the interest of the country first. While addressing investors during the country’s sixth Presidential Investors Roundtable in Entebbe, Mr Museveni said although his ministers get free consultancies during such meetings they only think about themselves instead of implementing projects agreed upon.

    It is interesting that Mr Museveni is echoing sentiments that have been expressed by his Kenyan counterpart President Uhuru Kenyatta. President Kenyatta has of late shown open disdain for his Cabinet secretaries, begging the question how long some of them will stay in their dockets.Local dailies report that the president has also been admonishing his CSs privately so much that some dread receiving his call.Though this could be his style of management, the President’s penchant for admonishing his key lieutenants who are supposed to deliver his vision for the country has left tongues wagging in the corridors of power.

    Some of the CSs who have had the unfortunate encounter with the Head of State include Echesa, Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri and Health CS Sicily Kariuki.The President also rubbished his entire Cabinet when he launched the Kenya Coast Guard and suggested he had to engineer the whole parastatal alongside Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe fearing his own men and women would want to steal from the public.

    Recently, the President was concerned that MrEchesa has hardly taken up his ministerial duties with the seriousness it deserves, but instead was giving undue focus on attending funerals and insulting other leaders.“You seem to think that the work of a Cabinet secretary is to attend all funerals in western Kenya,” the President is reported to have told the shocked CS right in front of MrOdinga and other senior government officials at the home of the former doyen of Opposition politics, MrJaramogiOgingaOdinga.

    Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri was also on the receiving end in October when the President opened the Nairobi International Show over the National Cereals and Produce Board failure to pay genuine farmers.The President, speaking in mother tongue, told MrKiunjuri that he will be in trouble if, once again, money meant for maize farmers is paid out to well-connected individuals.

    In the maize scandal, which has seen several National Cereals and Produce Board officials charged in court, maize importers were paid millions of shillings for deliveries while genuine farmers were left out.In April, the President caught Health CS Sicily Kariuki off guard when he directed her to build modern hospitals in a record time of one year. While opening Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, the President seemed oblivious of the bureaucracy in the procurement process in government.

    The Tenwek eye and dental clinic, which cost Sh300m and has a capacity to handle 20,000 patients and conduct 5,000 surgeries yearly, impressed the President so much that he wondered why the same can’t be replicated in government hospitals.The President told MsKariuki, who was present, to supervise construction of four similar clinics in Eldoret, Nyeri, Nairobi and Mombasa by next year, or risk losing her job. It seems like the two East African presidents might have caught the same flu as read from both their public utterances.

    “Many of my ministers are sleeping. They are selfish and only think about themselves,” Mr Museveni recently said. He said this in a meeting which was attended by both local and foreign investors, focused on six thematic areas of tourism, agriculture and value addition, oil and gas, competitiveness, transport and mineral value addition.Mr Museveni’s remarks followed a statement by the country’s Agriculture minister Christopher Kibanzanga that the agricultural sector in Uganda is being developed in a “private-led system” and the government can only help with research and extension services.

    Asked at a press conference why he was not firing ministers he appoints if they were sleeping on the job, Mr Museveni said, “It is not only the ministers that are sleeping, but even other Ugandans.”The chairman of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Elly Karuhanga said investors targeting Uganda’s oil production have failed to budget for their investments in the sector because of uncertainty.

    Other issues raised by investors is the slow development in the tourism sector, poaching and early political campaigns which portrays the country as violent.During the same meeting, MrMuseveni directed Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda together with Attorney-General to resolve the taxation conflict between Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and Tullow Oil.This was after Tullow Oil General Manager Jimmy Mugerwa, reported that URA continuously asked his company to pay $167 million in taxes over the sale of shares to Total E&P even when it had been agreed that they would pay $85 million and the rest be paid by buyer.

    A while back Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni sacked his security minister and chief of police, he said via Twitter late on Sunday, but gave no reason for the firings although mediareported a feud between the two outgoing officials. Museveni, who has been in power for 32 years, frequently replaces ministers and other top government officials without publicly giving explanations.In the tweet, Museveni said he had appointed Elly Tumwine, a non-active general in the military as the new security minister, replacing Henry Tumukunde.He also named Okoth Ochola as the new chief of police, replacing Kale Kayihura.




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