M7, Minister Mbayo Clash Over New RDC List
By John V Sserwaniko
It’s increasingly becoming chaotic between President Museveni and his Presidency Minister Esther Mbayo. Our reliable sources revealed that this is the reason why the new RDCs’ list has delayed.
We can exclusively reveal that Museveni has previously showed displeasure with Mbayo’s ineptness and his dismay was illustrated recently when he bitterly criticized her during a cabinet meeting.
“He furiously asked her why she continues redeploying RDCs without consulting him first yet her people keep telling the affected RDCs it’s the president doing this. He was unhappy and asked her ‘why do you keep dragging my name in this?’ It was clear the two aren’t on good terms anymore yet the Presidency minister is ordinarily supposed to be among those closest to the big man,” said a source.
It was further revealed Museveni’s trust in the elderly Mbayo rapidly diminished recently when contents of an intelligence report revealed she was in a Nantaba-like habit of exaggerating her phone interaction with the President.
“She likes going behind the tent during public functions and makes major announcements on the microphone saying ‘I have just spoken to the president as you saw me go on the sides. He was on the line.’ This can boost her personally but its something the President hates because it trivializes him,” added a source predicting Mbayo’s misery in the mini cabinet reshuffle Museveni is said to be pondering around Easter.
We are told Museveni has thrice rejected the new RDCs’ list proposed by Mbayo whose activities and strategies are mostly influenced by Butaleja RDC Richard Gulume and Kamuli Municipality MP Rehema Watongola whose stay in Parliament was terminated Tuesday when Court of Appeal threw her out on grounds of inadequate academic qualifications.
Gulume is her long time ally and was expeditiously transferred from lean Buvuma district where Mbayo’s predecessor Frank Tumwebaze left him to more lucrative Butaleja.
One of the things irking Gulume’s supervisors in Kampala is his insatiable apetite to meddle in land wrangles wherever he is deployed.
Being an island district, Buvuma was boring because it didn’t have much work in terms of juicy land wrangles.
His involvement in raising money to feed crowds during the last year independence celebrations that Museveni attended in Mbayo’s Luuka district sometime last year caused a scandal and almost caused Mbayo her job.
Several Jinja tycoons were approached and were being asked to raise money to feed NRM supporters who would come to the event to cheer the President. The area NRM cadres were bitter and dismissed the tofaali-like fundraising as very embarrassing to Museveni whose NRM had just been reelected.
Then Jinja RDC Eric Sakwa led the opposition to the fundraising and Mbayo reacted by demoting him to remote Kumi district where he now works. Mbayo’s Jinja-based henchmen also resented the strong stand Sakwa had taken against corruption.
In opposing the fundraising, Sakwa argued the business community was already distressed and went to radio talk shows urging the Minister Mbayo to reprimand Gulume and others. As Presidency Minister, Mbayo was the chief organizer for that year’s independence celebrations for which Gulume and RDC Bewayo were raising money to feed NRM supporters.
More recently, Mbayo also acted on ex-Buikwe RDC Kyeyune Senyonjo formerly of UPC and as we talk Senyonjo now serves as RDC without portfolio having been recalled back to Kampala awaiting fresh deployment.
Mbayo has also had issues with Busoga’s undisputed political giant Rebecca Kadaga whose supporters despise Mbayo’s exaggerated powerfulness and closeness to the President. Some of the pro-Mbayo RDCs that have since been empowered with juicy deployments are people Rebecca Kadaga had previously complained to the president about dismissing them as unworthy.
She has also not been properly recognizing powerful Kadaga at public functions where she has been MC in her capacity as Presidency Minister. The intelligence reports to the President also show that besides failing to be a team player, Mbayo has also turned out not to be a good mobilizer yet that office does mobilization among other things. This is the reason Museveni decongested it by taking away the Kampala docket.
“Unlike her predecessor Tumwebaze, elderly Mbayo is slow witted and is never available for media engagements which are vital for the occupant of that office. Tumwebaze was strong, was eloquent, wrote many news articles and often appeared on radio and TV talk shows to counter propaganda by the opposition, something Mbayo hasn’t adopted hence pushing the presidency into near obscurity,” remarked a source close to the President.
Mbayo’s other problem is that she is feuding with PPS Molly Kamukama whom she always treats with suspicion.
“This is one very bad area because the two offices must out of necessity work together otherwise the President’s operations will be hurt,” said a knowledgeable source.
It was further revealed Museveni’s displeasure manifested a few weeks ago when he shunned the party Mbayo had organized for her office staff and some RDCs at Hotel Africana. He had been expected but Museveni was no show, a thing that left Mbayo feeling very subdued.
DELAYED RDCS’ LIST
It was impeccably revealed Mbayo’s secretariat has so far submitted the list four times and the President refused to endorse it. He has for instance not been comfortable with the way Mbayo has constituted the list especially regarding regional balance.
“The president is a nationalist and there is no way he can just sign something that doesn’t reflect the national character. He couldn’t believe all his hard working historical RDCs were not on the list. He returned it back to Mbayo calling for more work on it,” said a source adding that at one time the big man felt the list had far more names from Luuka and Busoga than necessary.
We are told that having found Mbayo’s four lists wanting, Museveni resorted to tasking intelligence agencies like ISO to originate a new list with close reference to Mbayo’s. Besides the list, Mbayo has also been rare whenever RDCs want to interact with her to share their operational problems since she is their supervisor.
Those of Kampala have suffered most with KCCA ED Jennifer Musisi treating them with contempt. Led by RCC Deborah Mbabazi, the Kampala group has been rendered redundant as Musisi doesn’t disclose to them anything regarding government program being implemented under the heavily funded KCCA.
“You people I like to but I really don’t know how to work with you. I don’t even know what you exactly do,” Musisi reportedly told the city RCCs recently when they stormed city hall demanding to meet her.
They hold weekly KCCA security committee meetings at Deborah Mbabazi’s office in Wandegeya and Musisi is mandated to attend but has never attended any.
Recently the RCCs went to the President and subsequently wrote a letter arguing there are accountability questions they wanted Musisi to answer.
They summoned her to a meeting insisting as Museveni’s representatives, they have powers to summon her. Workaholic Musisi didn’t show up on grounds she was very busy with better things to do. This irked the RCCs and Deborah Mbabazi immediately threw out a one Rusoke (head KCCA security) who had represented Musisi.
This Rusoke expulsion escalated an already bad situation and a concerned Museveni tried to get involved but became too busy and failed to meet the RCCs for guidance. State House hoped that Mbayo, whose office the RCCs had been frequently, would intervene and help the RCCs circumvent Musisi’s crippling attitude towards them but Mbayo, the Luuka woman MP, never did so.
This further exposed her ineptness to the chagrin of the appointing authority which is more reason why she is very unlikely to keep her job in the upcoming mini reshuffle. “There is no way the President can entrust such a person with the duty to come up with the RDCs’ list and this is the reason that reshuffle has delayed,” disclosed one of the sources we spoke to for this article.
There are also many districts where RDCs are fighting with their deputies and Mbayo hasn’t been in a hurry to intervene and reconcile them.