Politicians across the political divide yesterday received the news about Gen (rtd) Salim Saleh’s declaration of plans to retire as Presidential Adviser next year with mixed feelings but with a consensus pointing towards a well-deserved rest.
Gen Saleh was at the weekend quoted as saying he would not seek a contract renewal when it expires in March next year.
He was quoted telling Luweero District residents that he will utilise the remaining time to create income generating projects for them.
Luweero is where he and his elder brother, President Museveni, launched the guerilla war which brought NRM government to power in 1986.
“Very soon, I will be retiring from my assignments because I have grown old. In March next year, my contract as presidential adviser is expiring and I will not renew it. I am only available for this little time,” Gen Saleh reportedly told the residents there.
“Make sure you use me when I am still available to ensure that you have sound economic projects that generate income,” he added.
Sarah Eperu, FDC Women’s League spokesperson:
“I hope it’s genuine and if it is so, then it is a pointer to his brother to follow suit. But I hope he will not be made to pay for it. I also hope he will not be coerced and arm-twisted to backtrack on his position. If he remains firm, Gen Saleh will have set a precedent for the NRM historical wing. For example, how can someone be a minister for 27 years?”
Sam Kuteesa, Minister for Foreign Affairs:
“It means he wants to work for himself. I have visited him in Kapeeka and he is doing a fantastic job. He has opened a lot of farmland for people in Luweero to engage them in production and food security. I think he is changing attention to development.”
Ogenga Latigo, former Leader of Opposition in Parliament:
“I do not know whether in offering the statement he was sending a message to his brother [President Museveni]. I know he has been struggling to help ordinary people in Luweero, especially the veterans. He feels frustrated that his efforts are not being recognised.”
Sarah Nkonge Muwonge, Senior Presidential Adviser on land matters:
“He should tell us that he no longer wants to be given special duties by the President. He has been doing citizen work and may be we are seeing the superficial part of it. He could have been doing some more work we don’t know. But honestly, I can’t tell what he is retiring from because he has very many portfolios.”
Amongi Betty Ongom, Oyam County South MP:
“Looking at the fact that he has been mobilising for his brother and the NRM, I suspect that he wants to join active politics. I look at his retirement as being more political than reasonable given the fact that Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s powers of mobilisation have been clipped.”
John Nagenda, Special Presidential Advisor on Media:
“It means what he says. I know his health has not been excellent for a long time and time comes when you feel you need to take the back seat. I do not think if I am an older brother to young ones, then if they feel they want to retire yet I am still strong enough, I should retire.”