By our reporter
Former Minister Joy Kabatsi has been backed and fronted for the position of Chairperson for Uganda Railways Corporation, a government of Uganda parastatal that is charged with revamping railway transport which the President says is the best NRM solution to respond to rising fuel and commodity prices.
Museveni last week spoke to BBC and said he wasn’t prepared to subsidize fuel prices but instead would sink trillions to revamp the country’s railway system back to full operation as a way of generally lowering the cost of doing business in Uganda while sustainably pushing both the commodity and fuel prices.
But the President’s plans are faced with a big problem of lack of effective corporate governance at URC whose rot was earlier this year exposed by Parliament in a report that was authored by COSASE MPs chaired by Joel Senyonyi, the Nakawa West MP. The President must address the governance problems at URC by filling the chairperson office which has been vacant for months after former chairman Hannington Karuhanga’s contract expired.
When the Karuhanga board expired, the Works Minister Gen. Katumba Wamala wrote to all Ministers asking them to suggest and recommend names of senior citizens who they think are suitable to chair the all-important URC. Security Minister Gen. Jim Muhwezi was among those who responded. He wrote a detailed document strongly recommending Kabatsi for the position.
Muhwezi argued that Kabatsi wasn’t only senior, incorruptible, capable and experienced but was also fairly available to dedicate ample time to the revamp of the railway network. Gen. Muhwezi even rang Katumba to explain more about his nominee and Katumba assured him he had no problem against Kabatsi who he used to supervise at Works up to June last year.
President Museveni also separately rang Gen. Katumba Wamala registering his no objection for the Kabatsi nomination. Subsequently Gen. Salim Saleh, the second most powerful person in Uganda, also weighed in focusing Gen. Katumba on Kabatsi’s suitability for the top URC chair. Enterprise Uganda MD, Charles Ocic, is another person whose name has been recommended for inclusion in the new URC board.
The matter is supposed to be concluded during this Monday Cabinet meeting at Entebbe State House where VP Jessica Alupo, having been mobilized by Gen. Katumba Wamala’s Deputy Musa Ecweru, will most likely be chairing the meeting should the President get so busy and fail to personally attend.
At the Works & Transport Ministry in Kampala along Port Bell Road, top management bosses have become sharply divided over the Kabatsi deployment with a group led by Musa Ecweru being seriously opposed to her appointment on grounds that she is too quarrelsome and combative.
Those supporting her in top management, on grounds that the President, Gen. Saleh and the Security Minister can’t recommend something that isn’t in the best interest of the country, include Transport Minister Fred Byamukama, the Permanent Secretary Waisswa Baligeya and many others. Majority are silent, fearing to annoy the Gen. Katumba Wamala whose views on this matter are well known.
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