A silent standoff is brewing between President Museveni and technocrats at Finance Ministry over the mode of implementation for the newly created Shs500bn Innovations Fund.
The President’s commitment is to avail Shs500bn annually in the budget to sustainably finance this Fund which aims at addressing the unemployed youths’ plight and unique challenges. Museveni has fronted Hillary Kiggundu Musoke, a former PA to now renegade Gen David Sejusa to head this lucrative Fund. Before his defection from Sejusa back to Museveni fold, Musoke was the national coordinator for Uganda Youth Platform (UYP), a pressure group through which Sejusa planned to mobilize millions of youths prior to his famous escape to London exile in 2013. In his mid 30s, Musoke is also a senior lecture at Nkumba University teaching procurement and supply chain management. The Shs500bn to pioneer the Innovations Fund is already allocated in the 2016/17 FY budget.
However, technocrats at Finance are cautious and have strongly objected to the way Museveni wants the Fund to be implemented or rolled out.
Museveni, who recently appointed Musoke to be his Private Secretary on Youth Affairs (Specifically on agriculture, value addition, innovations & export promotion), wants the Fund to be managed by a State House-based Directorate similar to the Directorate of Drug Monitoring (DDM) headed by his personal doctor Diana Atwine. DDM has been instrumental in exposing and causing the prosecution of medics and district leaders who misappropriate government money meant for hospitals in the districts. Museveni wants his newly found blue eyed boy Musoke to head the Innovations Fund modeled along similar lines.
Sources close to the President have revealed he wants the Musoke-managed Innovations Fund to recruit hundreds of youths to oversee implementation of government programs and policies aimed at youth empowerment. Musoke is also being lined up to take action on floppy officials frustrating government programs and service delivery. The idea behind the Innovations Fund is to reduce youth unemployment and poverty through funding 4 thematic areas namely: agricultural production, value addition, innovations and export promotion. Beneficiaries should be youth groups aged between 18 and 35 years. Youth groups, mostly in informal sector, will be funded to train and go for apprenticeship programs abroad. Museveni, whose realization is that youth unemployment and poverty is the biggest factors soaring Besigye’s popularity, also intends to use the Innovations Fund to help uneducated/unemployed youth groups or business clusters to acquire free land and machinery. Those involved in science courses at University and in carpentry, the arts/crafts and metal fabrication in the Kampala Metropolitan Area (Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, Mpigi & Luwero) will initially be targeted. Using Musoke, Museveni has already been piloting this through the Najjera Model whereby hundreds of poor women vending food were recently given close to Shs1bn to recapitalize their food business; buying sauce pans, charcoal stoves etc.
This Najjera group is what Museveni had hoped to use to upstage Kyaddondo East MP Ibrahim Semujju. The idea is to roll that model to the whole of Kampala Metropolitan Area before gradually covering other towns upcountry. Museveni hopes millions of jobs can be created in the next five years using the Shs500bn Innovations Fund and thereby appeasing the youths and getting them away from Besigye and the opposition in general. In fact at most of his rallies, Museveni has been popularizing this Najjera Model and has been calling Musoke at every rally to reassure fellow youths on the availability of the Shs500bn in the forthcoming budget slated for June 2016. He would call Musoke to speak for 10 minutes at every rally to explain the Najjera Model which Museveni is convinced will resolve the unemployment puzzle in the next 5 years. Museveni is so defensive of Musoke because the idea was birthed from his written proposal and concept paper. Apparently Musoke authored this paper after meeting Museveni with hundreds of youthful defectors from Sejusa’s UYP in late 2013 when the renegade General was still in exile. An envious youth leader (names withheld) who had previously worked with Sejusa had sold fake intelligence to Museveni implicating Musoke in rebel activities. The claim was Sejusa was sending money for rebel recruitment to Musoke through city lawyer Joseph Luzige. In the meeting an angry Museveni rebuked Musoke and group but later made peace with them when they denounced Sejusa and his UYP. Museveni was particularly excited with the big following Musoke had cultivated for UYP across the country. In State House, Musoke now oversees many other youth aides to the president-all of who are involved in political mobilization. He was elevated ahead of many other colleagues who have served on the youth desk for much longer.
WHO IS HE?
Born 34 years ago, Musoke hails from Ngogwe Kyaggwe in Buikwe district. He was fallen Kadongo Kamu singer Paulo Kafeero’s younger brother. A former street child, Musoke was brought up by a single mother in slummy Kazo, Kawempe Division. To many in NRM he is simply Jr Kisanja. This is so because he (along with Sr Kisanja Edward Sekabanja) coiled the term Kisanja in early 2000s and in his S6 vacation he used to sell dry banana leaves at Museveni’s rallies to symbolize 3rd term. That is how he bought his 1st car. Earlier on, he had been recruited by Henry Tumukunde who stumbled on him in Maganjo slums. Tumukunde was strategizing on how to market Museveni amongst youth in Kampala slums. Besigye had just launched his challenge on Museveni and many young people had shunned the old man with a hat. Tumukunde, who was heading ISO, was scouting around to understand the dynamics popularizing KB in the slums along K’la-Bombo Highway. That is how he learnt of Musoke, a vacist, who was popular in Maganjo as a trainer of holiday kids for karaoke purposes. Musoke is an entertainer having taken cue from his brother Paulo Kafeero.
At that time over 200 kids from Kawempe slums were under his tutorage for karaoke. Tumukunde sought to use his network to infillitrate the Besigye strongholds in slums. He later introduced him to fellow senior army officers like Sejusa and Gen Aronda. He was eventually introduced to Museveni as an innovative young cadre. When Tumukunde fell out with Museveni, Musoke didn’t follow him partly because of Sejusa and Aronda influence. It was different when Sejusa fell out. Musoke followed cue and used to be flanked by lawyer Joseph Luzige to read out Sejusa’s press statements to the media. He is a self made person who used to sell small items on the streets to raise school fees. He went to Kitante High School and Agha Kan SS for his O & A’level education. He switched to business training after failing to get Medicine on government. He studied at MBI where he got a diploma in business before doing a procurement degree in Nkumba. He had two jobs one as GM for Farmers Pride in Maganjo and also as a volunteer at Wakiso district. Being the best student, Nkumba gave him a teaching assistant job.
Nkumba sponsored him for a master’s under its staff development program. He is now a PhD student. Museveni found him particularly useful because of the course unit he teaches at Nkumba-strategic logistics, supply and procurement management. He is also eloquent in his value addition gospel, a thing that fascinated Museveni the day he first met him as a leader of Sejusa’s UYP. He has since introduced to Museveni Denmark-trained nutritionist Dr. Jessica Nanyunja with whom they are to oversee the Shs500bn Innovations Fund aimed at detoxicating unemployed youths. His oratory is the reason Museveni preferred having him take 10 minutes at every rally to explain the message of hope to the youths. In his short time at State House, Musoke has helped Museveni pacify wrangles between rival taxi drivers’ groups (KOTDA & UTRADA) on one hand and KCCA ED Jennifer Musisi on the other. He has also seen many taxi drivers, previously prosecuted by KCCA, released from Luzira. This has popularized Museveni. He is now Museveni’s contact person with KCCA regarding the matter of public transport (Boda riders and taxis) in Kampala. A vote-hunting Museveni recently created a 30 members national task force and made Musoke chair it with specific instructions to pacify public transport in Kampala. The team comprises of three directors from police and 6 directors from KCCA. Its meetings are held in KCCA board room and Musoke reports to Museveni whenever any progress is made. He was behind the scrapping of road toll and other levies taxi drivers were being made to pay. Musoke is also the man through whom Museveni abolished all the enforcement operations on Lake Victoria that were being implemented by the fisheries department. He chairs another fisheries task force on the way forward. He is sophisticated unlike other modestly educated cadres Museveni has previously trusted and deployed and this could explain why technocrats are increasingly becoming hostile to the idea of having him head the Shs500bn Innovations Fund. Technocrats find him hard to manipulate.