Kampala- President Museveni has 98 men and women who are collectively paid Shs230 million from the national Treasury every month to give him advice. In a year, the earnings translate into Shs2.7b.
The total wage bill of the department of administration in the Office of the President, which also covers Resident District Commissioners, stands at Shs702.2 million a month, totaling to more than Shs8 billion annually.
The full time advisers and assistants also receive additional perks such as an official vehicle, a driver and in some cases, an escort.
The details are contained in the 2013/2014 Ministerial Policy Statement for the Presidency, which is under scrutiny before Parliament.
The 98 presidential advisors are not the only public officials expected to advise the President. These are in addition to the 77 Cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister and Vice President. If the 22 Permanent Secretaries (who are government’s highest ranking technical civil servants) of the respective ministries are added, President Museveni has a pool of about 200 advisors from whom to pick advice on how to govern Uganda.
At least 48 of the 98 presidential advisers are employed as full time staff, 44 are paid a retainer wage, while the status of others is unclear. The least paid presidential adviser earns Shs2.2 million while the highest paid gets Shs2.6 million every month, with the exception of former German ambassador to Uganda, Mr Claus E.P Holderbaum who is paid Shs7 million a month as Senior Presidential adviser on Special Duties.
Looking at the bulk of the advisers the President has at his disposal, Uganda should perhaps be one of the most efficiently governed countries in Africa or in the region. But Uganda is ranked as the most corrupt country among the five East African Community (EAC) states in The East African Bribery Index 2012 report by Transparency International published last year. Tanzania and Kenya are in second and third positions respectively.
Burundi is ranked fourth and Rwanda remains the least corrupt country in the region.
Uganda is also ranked 22nd among the 59 countries ranked as failed states in the world by US-based Foreign Policy (FP) magazine and the Fund for Peace global organisation. Uganda’s failing status is rated at 96 per cent slightly below Syria, at 97 per cent.
A World Health Organisation global status report on Road Safety 2013 lumped Uganda among countries with the highest accident deaths in Africa, with 2,954 people killed in road accidents in 2010, beaten only by Nigeria (4,065 deaths) and South Africa (13,768 deaths) in 2009. Uganda is also 19th among 64 countries with the highest number of road accident deaths in the world.
Uganda is top in many failure indicators of socio-economic development yet the President enjoys abundance of advice from a huge pool of “wise men and women”.
Useful or no advice?
With such a wide pool of advisors, the President should have been in a position to fix some of the basic problems facing the country. But it appears the country’s standing on several international indices is still not good.
One probable reason is that the President hardly consults them for advice. Indeed their selection is largely dependent on political and other interests rather than professional and technical merit or competence. For example the advisers are a mixture of college professors, graduates, Senior Four leavers and others with lower qualifications. Many of them have unexplainable roles.
Their roles are not based on issues, but mere names of places or institutions. It is not clear what an advisor is expected to do. For example, there is a presidential advisor on Ruharo matters, the seat of East Ankole Diocese in Mbarara and another advisor on Kigezi Diocese. It is difficult to understand what advice such a person would give the President about a place.
Though some advisors are known to meet and give advice to the President, majority of them take years on end without meeting him or even speaking to him.
Former Prime Minister Kintu Musoke, one of the advisers, refused to respond to the question on how often the president reaches him for advice. He claimed he was too busy on his farm out of town.
Brig Kasirye Ggwanga, another adviser on Buganda affairs was cagey as well. He only muttered that; “It is those who don’t know what they were appointed to do who worry about whether the President consults them or not.”
However, he added that he had been in regular contact with the President although it was not clear whether it was about offering advice to the head of state or seeking his protection.
About three months ago, there were attempts by some sections of the security establishment to evict Brig Gwanga from a house in Makindye Division in Kampala for alleged trespass. However, after several interventions from various government authorities, Brig Gwanga was spared the embarrassment of being thrown out of the house.
The subject of Presidential Advisers has been controversial with questions of whether they actually advise the president and whether he takes their advice.
Critics have said these positions are only meant to give out a retirement pension for the President’s supporters or as subsistence employment when he can no longer accommodate them in Cabinet and they become cash strapped. Indeed, many former ministers are on the list of the advisers.
Former chief pilot of the Presidential helicopter, Gen. Ali Kiiza is a presidential adviser on air force.
Gen David Sejusa aka Tinyefuza, who fled the country in April after falling out with the state is still listed as President Museveni’s advisor/coordinator of Internal Security Organisation and External Security Organisation, both intelligence bodies.
Gen Sejusa’s role, however, raises more controversy given that the President has expressly said the renegade General faces treason charges if he is arrested. Yet the list of the presidential advisors with Sejusa’s name was provided for in the national budget read in June, two months after he had fled to exile.
Two weeks ago, Col Samson Mande, a former fighter in the bush war that brought Museveni to power, said from his exile in Sweden that Gen Sejusa was still on the government’s payroll and could not be easily trusted to lead a struggle for regime change in Uganda.
Regional and gender distribution
Looking at the regional distribution of the advisers throws up the old balancing problem the NRM has continuously grappled with. Of the 98 presidential advisers and assistants, the western and central regions take the lion share with 31 and 30 respectively while eastern and northern region are less represented at the advisory level with 16 and eight respectively.
Only one adviser comes from outside Uganda, while the others could not be accurately categorised because of shared names. Because these advisers are largely part of political patronage reward system, it means political and financial pickings are higher in central and western than in the other regions.
There is also glaring gender imbalance with only 20 women out of the 98 advisers. They include former Education minister Namirembe Bitamazire, Ms Tereza Mbire, Luweero bush war fighter Getrude Njuba, Tooro’s Princess Elizabeth Bagaya, former vice president Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe and former presidency minister Beatrice Wabudeya.
Dr Ham Mulira Mukasa Senior Pres.Adviser/ICT
Gen Caleb Akandwanaho Senior Pres.Adviser /Defence
Dr Ezra Suruma Senior Pres. Adviser/Fin. & Plan.
Chango Machyo (RIP) Senior Pres. Adviser/Pol. Affairs
Gen David Sejusa Sr Pres. Adviser/ISO & ESO
Kintu Musoke Sr Pres. Adviser/Political Affairs
Dr Jesse Kagimba Senior Pres Adviser/HIV-AIDS
Prince Besweri Mulondo Sr Pres. Adviser/Land Matters
Namirembe Bitamazire Senior Pres. Adviser
Dr James Makumbi Sr Pres. Adviser/Medical Affairs
Dr Martin Jerome Aliker Sr Pres. Adviser/Special Duties
Nisibambi Apollo Sen. Pres. Adviser
Dr John Joseph Otim Senior Pres.Adviser /Agric & Vet
John Nagenda Senior Pres.Adviser / Press &PR
Karazarwe Wycliffe Sen. Pres. Advier/Local Govt
Major Gen.Ali Kiiza Sr Pres.Adviser /Air Force
Robert Ssebunya Senior Pres.Adviser/ Buganda
Maj. Gen. Mugume Joram Sr Pres.Adviser/ Military Affairs
Gerald Sendaula Sr Pres.Advisor/ Financial Matters
Maj. Ronald Kakooza Mutale Senior Pres.Adviser /Political
Yekoyada Nuwagaba Senior Pres.Adviser / Political
Moses Kizige Sr Pres.Adviser/ Foreign Affairs
Wegulo Badru Sr Pres.Adviser/ Political Affairs
Dorah Kibende Senior Pres.Adviser / Corruption
Musumba Isaac Senior Presidential Adviser
Osinde Wangwar Sr Pres.Adviser / Political Affairs
Prof. Rugumayo .B. Edward Sr Pres.Adviser / Political
Steven H. Bamwanga Senior Pres.Adviser/ Culture
Dr Kamuhangire Rwumo Public Private Partnerships
Balihuta Arsene(Amb) Sr Pres.adviser/decentralisation
Kiwanuka Godfrey Sr Pres.Adviser / Public Service
Ruhinda Richard Senior Pres.Adviser/ Media Mgt.
Ocen Laury Lawrence Sen. Pres. Adv/Political Affairs
Baryehuki Margaret Senior Presidential Advisor/Acholi
Abalo Ongom Lilian Sr Pres. Adviser /Special Duties
Amos Amis Mukumbi ASS. Sr Adviser / Special Duties
Gertrude Njuba Sr Pres.Adviser / Legal Matters
Makaaru Yowasi Sr Pres.Adviser/ Inter. Affairs
Prof. Tibamanya Mushanga Sr Pres. Adviser/ Kigezi Diocese
Bituguramye John Senior Pres. Advisor/Wild Life
OtekatJohnEmilly Senior Pres.Adviser/ Environment
Kigyagi Arimpa Sr Pres.Adviser/ Lango Region
Ojjur Franco Sr Pres.Adviser/ Cultural Matters
Mbiire Tereza Sr Pres.Adviser/ Political Affairs
Batinti Francis Sr Pres.Adviser / Special Duties
Klaus E.P Holderbaum Sr Pres.Adviser /Pop. & Health
Dr Wandira S. Kazibwe Senior Presidential Adviser
Amb. Tomusange J Senior Pres.Adviser/Pub&C 1
Dorothy Nasolo Sen Pres/Adv/Spedal Duties
Dorothy Samali Sr Pres.Adviser /Special Duties
Rwakasisi Chris Asst. Sr Pres.Advi./ Pol Affairs
Watuwa Ntaamo.S Senior Pres.Adviser/ Vet. Services
Dr.Wabudeya Beatrice Senior pres.Advis/S. West Region
BP Tibeesigwa George Sen. Pres. Adv
Vincent Ssemakula PresAdviser/ Cultural Issues
Princess Bagaya Edith Pres Adviser/ Political Affairs
Mushemeza Elijah Dickens PresAdviser/ Political Affairs
Kawuma Mary Pres Adviser/ Political Affairs
Kiyimba Kisaka Dorothy Pres Adviser/ Political Affairs
Sikubwabo Kyeyune George PresAdviser/ Political Affairs
Mwebesa Francis Presidential Adviser/ Luwero
Pharez Katamba Pres Adviser/ Luwero Triangle
Kazibwe Godfrey Presi Adviser/ Security Buganda
Brig. Kasirye Gwanga PresAdviser/ Foreign Affairs
Pr. Simbwa David Alexander Presidential Adviser/ Literary
Prof. Wangusa Timothy Presidential Adviser/ Agriculture
Nyombi Nekemiya Peterson Pres Adviser/ Trade & Commerce
Al Haji Sajabi Tezikuba Presidential Adviser/ Markets
H.G. Kayongo Nkajja Pres Adviser/ Youth Affairs
Wekesa John Wambogo Pres Adviser/ Air Force Matters
Maj.Gen.Joshua Masaba Asst. Pres. Adviser / Buganda
Tom Kayongo Special Pres Ass / Veterans
Haji Edirisa Ssedunga Spe Pres.Adviser/Political Affairs
Kakooza Mutale T. Spe Asst./ NRM civilians veterans
Major Jacob Asiiwe Special Pres. Asst./ Ruharo
Jenipher Twebaze Musooke Speical Pres.Asst/Political Mob
Oketta Santa Special Pres. Asst./ Veterinary
Dr.John Rick Akeny Spe Pres. Asst./ Political Affairs
Okuluma Stephen Spe Pres. Asst./ Political Affairs
Nadduli Kibaale Spe Pres. Asst./ Special Duties
Sichon Namballe Bob Spe Pres. Asst./ RDCs1 Office
Mayanja Mohammed Sadik Spe Pres. Asst./ Pol Affairs
Nalima Betty Special Pres. Asst./ Western
Kafuniza Emmanuel Special Pres. Asst./ Veterinary
Dr. Samuel Byagagaire Spe Pres. Asst./ political affairs
Alex Kyawe Katega For Underprivileged Youth
Resty Nakayenga Kiguli Special Pres. Asst./ Research
Prof. Lwanga Lunyiigo Spe Pres. Asst./ Political Affairs
Kwesiga Charles Spe Pres. Asst./ Pol Affairs
Mwijakubi Godfrey Spe Pres. Asst./ Political Affairs
Rwegyemera Henry Spe Pres. Asst./ Security
Okodi Levi Macpio Spe Pres. Asst./ Pol Affairs, Lango
Muhindo Christine Dep. Special Pres.Asst. /Rwenzori
Hajati Anuna Omari Dep. Special Pres.Asst./ Pol Affairs
Sabila Salimo Dep. Spe Pres.Asst./ Pol Affairs
Ignatius Begumisa K. Dep. SpePres.Asst./ Valley Dams & Vet.
Margaret K. Sekyewa Dep. Spe. Pres.Asst./ Pol Affairs
Twine Winne Dep. Presidetial Adviser /Markets