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MONEY & POWER WARS: Chaos at Museveni’s ONC Office as Disagreements Between Chief Muzukulu Namyalo & Spokesperson Kitata Escalate into ‘Sacking’

Ibrahim Malik Kitata, Gen Yoweri Museveni and Hajjat Hadijah Uzeiye Namyalo. Courtesy Photos

Since replacing now Presidency Minister Milly Babirye Babalanda as the Coordinator of President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) Office of the National Chairman (ONC) based at Kyambogo, Chief Muzukkulu Hajjat Hadijah Namyalo Uzeiye has sought to turn around the elderly leader’s mobilization office to make it work better than her predecessor.

In recent years, the previously little-known ONC office has morphed into a very powerful one, ably rivalling – and often clashing with – the secretariat over the mobilization role in which the Ugandan leader and his financiers pump billions during the election campaign season.

So powerful is this office now that those who work there see it as a great opportunity to catch the eye of the General from Rwakitura so that they can be handed juicier jobs in the government since they are already seen as great mobilizers.

For example, those who have previously served in this very office are now eating big in government. Former ONC Kampala Coordinator Hajjat Minsa Kabanda is now the Minister of Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs. Former ONC Coordinator Babalanda is also a full cabinet minister, one of the most powerful ones in cabinet given how many ministries and ministers she is ‘supposed to supervise.’ (See our previous report on what makes Babalanda one of the most powerful ministers in Museveni’s current cabinet Here).

Former ONC administrator Faruk Kirunda is now the deputy presidential press secretary, having replaced Linda Nabusayi Wamboka who was promoted to the position of presidential press secretary and later dropped and replaced with Sandor Walusimbi. (See Details Here).

So, given how central the ONC office has become it is not surprising that there are already disagreements and fights about money and power at the Kyambogo office that have resulted into some kind of shakeup that has seen Hajjat Namyalo use her powers to relieve Ibrahim Malik Kitata of his duties as the Public Relations Officer or spokesperson of ONC. Kitata, who is also the Lwengo District LCV Chairman, has been replaced by Dr. Brenda Jessica Tibamwenda.

Now heading the ONC communications unit, Tibamwenda had been appointed the Deputy Public Relations Officer only last month. Namyalo tasked Tibamwenda, a PhD holder who hails from Iganga, with roles such as upholding the good image of the NRM National Chairman Gen Museveni, popularizing the NRM achievements to the public, preparing press releases, building a positive relationship with the public and the media, planning and producing articles in national papers, addressing inquiries from the public and media, organizing press conference as well as tracking media coverage and trends on topical matters. These roles are ideally supposed to be spearheaded by the Communications Lead, assisted by his or her deputies.

Weeks into this office, Dr Tibamwenda, the 48-year-old daughter of the late Eng George Waigumbilizi and Mrs Perpetua Waigumbilizi, has been elevated and is now in juicier things.

The fallout between Namyalo and Kitata is said to have been occasioned by some sort of power struggle between the two prominent ONC officials, with the PRO reportedly working to outshine his boss. Some reports even indicated that Kitata had attempted to meet Gen Museveni who was shocked and called Namyalo to understand why she sent the Lwengo LCV boss to represent her for an important meeting with the country’s number one.

Other reports suggested that Kitata had desperately wanted to meet Museveni to explain to him what was going on at ONC and why he was being sidelined and hounded out of the mobilization office. But he reportedly missed out on the chance as the NRM Chairman blocked him and insisted the chief muzukkulu spearheading the ‘Jajja tova ku main campaign’ should be the only one to meet him over ONC issues.

There are also reports that Hajjat Namyalo, who is also a senior presidential advisor and assistant on political matters, was not happy with the manner in which Kitata was handling funds meant for facilitating media coverage, with claims that he was inflating budgets for the communications function. There are also allegations that the embattled NRM cadre mismanaged the recruitment exercise of coordinators and other ONC staff. Extortion claims have also found their way in this issue of the recruitment exercise.

While Namyalo has relieved Kitata of his duties as the PRO of ONC, the Lwengo LCV boss’ Twitter bio still reads: ‘PRO / Spokesperson @ONC_NRM Kyambogo.’ He has also continued to engage with tweets posted by the office and its leader, Chief Muzukkulu Hajjat Namyalo. He seems determined to stay at ONC and some officials at Kyambogo base are said to be working on a petition urging Gen Museveni to officially throw him out.

Meanwhile, as ONC handles this internal chaos and confusion, there have been fears that Museveni’s recent Kampala Vote Rigging Claims will set Hajjat Namyalo’s ONC on Collision Course with NRM Secretariat & Office of the President. (See Details Here).

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