Former top Forum for Democratic Change party official Anne Mugisha made a secret undertaking to President Museveni to renounce involvement in politics before getting official clearance to get a UN job, emerging details indicate.
Our investigations show that the former FDC special presidential envoy nearly missed the Public Information Officer position with the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) after some Ugandan officials complained about her political affiliation.
Highly-placed sources say Amb. Augustine Mahiga, the special representative of the United Nations secretary-general, was reportedly informed that Ms Mugisha would not work well with AU peace-keepers in Somalia (AMISOM), whose majority troops are Ugandans, because of her strong opposition at home to the ruling government.
After passing the job interviews on merit, Ms Mugisha was told to satisfy UN officials that her selection would not jeopardise the world body’s working relations with Amisom and Uganda government.
She was as well tasked to guarantee that she would not have any difficulty working with UPDF soldiers on assignment in Somalia, having been the opposition FDC party’s deputy secretary for international affairs.
Letter to President
In an April 30, 2012 letter to President Museveni, Ms Mugisha promised to abandon politics and adhere to UN values of neutrality, loyalty, transparency, diligence and high integrity.
She also explained personal circumstances that prompted her to take up UN employment instead of hanging onto opposition politics. “I am writing to request your clearance for an appointment to a position with the United Nations, she told Mr Museveni.
“I am putting an end to twelve years of opposition activism in order to concentrate on building a career with the UN and this position in UNPOS offers an invaluable entry point.”
Following this assurance, sources familiar with the behind-the-scene manoeuvres say Mr Museveni instructed Uganda’s diplomats at the UN headquarters in New York to clear Ms Mugisha.
Amb. Adonia Ayebare, the acting Permanent Representative to the UN, then wrote in the first week of May to inform Amb. Mahiga that Uganda government had no objection with Ms Mugisha’s eligibility for the Nairobi post.
Ms Mugisha did not answer or return our telephone calls yesterday. Whereas the President’s clearance showed his magnanimity, the failed attempt to block Ms Mugisha itself highlighted vindictiveness by some government officials which in the past denied some deserving Ugandans lucrative international jobs.
A case in point
Former Supreme Court judge, Prof. George Kanyehamba, said yesterday that some “politicians in Kampala” vetoed his selection as president of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and later blocked his appointment as Chief Justice for the Indian Ocean Island country, Seychelles. This, he said, was because he is considered a Museveni critic.
“It is a very wrong practice; blackmailing one’s citizens and I do not support it,” Justice Kanyeihamba said. “They go punishing citizens who disagree with government, and this is anti-patriotic.”
In contrast, government seconded ex-CID director Elizabeth Kuteesa for an Interpol job in spite of questions at home about her professionalism after she was implicated in falsifying police records to incriminate FDC leader Kizza Besigye in a rape case.