PICTURES: Behind Museveni’s u-turn on statutory agencies/authorities
When Museveni took over power in 1986, he inherited a vibrant public service and sound government infrastructure. It’s only the army that he had successfully dismantled. He came into office with a biased mindset that the officials manning the different government structures owed their loyalty to the previous regimes. He was therefore concerned over how to bring into the public service his regime cohorts. To overcome this hurdle, he went ahead to discard some statutory bodies like Lint Marketing Board, Coffee Marketing Board, UEB, URC, NYTIL, National Parks and Game Departments, Customs, Uganda Airlines, etc. and instead created new ones to run parallel to Ministries.
Consequently, over 40 statutory bodies have been created during his 31years’ hold onto power. These agencies and authorities have been attracting huge funding from both the central government and external donors. Museveni has been the sole appointing authority for the top executives of these agencies who in turn have been recruiting and firing staff as opposed to the public service standing orders. Museveni has directly been sending individuals to these agencies to be employed as top and middle cadre staff and that is why they are dominated by people from his home region and a few regime cohorts from other regions. The mode of recruitment has been based on patronage – ‘who knows who.’
Their salaries and emoluments are high above the salary structure of mainstream public servants. The Executive Director of URA’s monthly salary is equivalent to the monthly salary of 12 Doctors in a government hospital while the salary of a driver in URA is equivalent to the monthly salary of three Doctors in a government hospital.
These agencies/authorities have been agents of theft of public money and land grabbing. The people from those tribes who are dominating them have accumulated immense wealth that will sustain them and their generations to come. The recent discovery by Ugandans that Museveni had dished out 6b shillings (US$ 1.7m) to a group of 42 public servants who are also among the best paid in the country, ignited a serious debate on wanton sectarian and patronage driven misuse of tax payers’ money. It brought into question the disparity in remuneration prompting Museveni to order for putting in place a Salary Review Commission. The agencies have always been more funded and facilitated than their mother ministries.
By making a sudden about turn and questioning their relevancy and efficiency, he is attempting to diffuse the rising tempers by pretending to do away with these agencies yet in actual fact he is intending to push his people who have been manning them into mainstream public service through the back door.
Most of these agencies and authorities have been involved in heinous crimes against Ugandans:
- NEMA has presided over destruction of wetlands
- NFA has facilitated the destruction of forests and land grabbing
- NDA is responsible for the lack of drugs in public hospitals
- UWA is reputed for stealing tons of ivory from their custody
- FIA is responsible for the chaos in financial institutions
- UIA is responsible for fake investors who provide the cover for land grabbing and the list is endless.
It is these atrocities that Museveni is trying to cover up from public scrutiny and possible legal proceedings.
When the opposition leader, Dr. Besigye was rigged out of the February 2016 general elections, he threatened to form a parallel government. He mentioned disbanding and restructuring of these bogus agencies/authorities which to this date remains top on his agenda. Somehow Museveni got to know about it and he is now trying to act smart.
The regime is financially bankrupt and on top of the money generated by the presence of refugees and the Somalia Peace Keeping Mission, it intends to tap into and take direct control of the external funding for some of these agencies.
Otherwise, if Museveni is serious with cutting the cost and ensuring efficiency, he would reduce the size of his over 75 Cabinet Ministers, over 400 Members of Parliament, over 130 District Commissioners, over one hundred useless Presidential Advisors, etc. Not to mention the sacks of millions of tax payers’ money that he dishes out at public functions. It is through the same method of creating parallel units that he has managed to undermine the performance of the armed forces and other security agencies.
Once again, Museveni has duped gullible Ugandans and they preparing to resume their deep slumber. By the time they wake up again, it will be around the next elections season and he will have prepared another doze of anesthesia. Moreover, at the end of the day his strategic agencies/authorities will remain intact.
INFORMATION IS POWER AND DEFIANCE IS THE WAY TO GO
change of guards blog