Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja and Government Chief Whip Thomas Tayebwa have defended the recruitment to their offices in Parliament of what their accusers say are their biological children or other close relations.
This has seen the displaced staff attempt to seek intervention from other higher authorities.
In Ms Nabbanja’s office have been deployed at least five close relatives, including two biological children, in the Office of the Leader of Government Business, which leads and coordinates all government business in Parliament.
Similarly, Government Chief Whip Tayebwa has at least four of about 25 staff in his office filled with persons having close links with him.
In an interview on the matter, Ms Nabbanja confirmed that two of her daughters have been employed by the Office of the Leader of Government Business following her appointment.
One of her daughters has been hired as a senior liaison officer in the Office of the Leader of Government Business.
Ms Nabbanja says her daughter is qualified and had been prior to her appointment an employee of Parliament as far back as 2016.
Ms Nabbanja’s other daughter is employed as an office assistant (Minute Secretary) in the same office. Other people in the same office linked to Ms Nabbanja are a liaison officer, who is reportedly the daughter of the premier’s late brother.
Another, employed as a liaison officer, is the wife of Ms Nabbanja’s brother while another is the cousin of the Prime Minister.
Ms Nabbanja said the three “could be” members of her constituency - Kakumiro District - and that nothing bars them from taking roles in one of her offices.
“It is true I know the two children. You should ask about the rest to the Parliamentary Commission and the Clerk (to Parliament) because they know how they came to be working in Parliament. They are children of the Prime Minister, but they are entitled to work,” she said.
“My children are not part of my politics. As the President tells you, play with him, but don’t play with his family. Faridah [one of those said to be her daughter] has a Master degree in Oil and Gas and she is qualified to work anywhere. The law allows the Leader of the Government Business to second some people. Do you want someone to appoint a personal assistant for me?” she asked.
“They [accusers] are digging up rubbish. It is not easy to keep a clean record in this country. Should the people from Kakumiro not get jobs?”
On his part, Government Chief Whip Tayebwa said in a reply on WhatsApp: “Save me the madness bro. Go get the list of all my staff and ask where they come from. Only one is from my constituency. The rest are spread from all over the country.”
When we presented to Mr Tayebwa the list of those said to be his relations that have been employed in his office in Parliament, he did not respond to this particular message and did not pick up our phone calls.
But Parliament’s Director of Communication and Public affairs, Mr Chris Obore, said both offices of the Leader of Government Business, and that of the Government Chief Whip are political offices, with the holders allowed to headhunt the personnel they believe will drive their agenda or what they have set out to.
However, he added, “The director and assistant directors and such staff are permanent staff of Parliament and that permanent structure remains, but other positions of policy analysts, etc., are headhunted.
Mr Obore added: “You cannot impose on her [Ms Nabbanja] or him [Mr Tayebwa] the staff he or she cannot work with.” Mr Obore also said what Ms Nabbanja has done is recruiting contractual staff, and as the Leader of Government business she has a leeway. He said those who are reportedly replaced were employed on contract and had their contracts expired.
The Office of the Leader of Government Business in Parliament and that of the Chief Whip are closely connected and work hand-in-hand to process the government’s legislative agenda.
The staff that have been kicked out to give way to the new team include Mr Geoffrey Beinomugisha (principal policy analyst), Mr Joel Ocuka Opio and Mr Azhar Sebbi (both policy analysts), Mr Yusuf Ahimbisibwe and Ms Dorothy Nazzinga (both liaison officers).
Others are Ms Flavia Nsubuga Mukasa (policy analyst), Ms Emmanuel Ninsiima (principal liaison officer), and Ms Hope Magyezi (policy analyst).
Many of those who have been sent away have been working in the office for at least 15 years under former premiers Patrick Amama Mbabazi and Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, and former government chief whips Daudi Migereko and Ruth Nankabirwa.
“These cadres are actually seeking audience over the irregularities and unfairness meted out to them by their own,” a source told Sunday Monitor.
Name Designation Relationship
Kasaana Washington Kakembo Adyeri Principal Policy Analyst Paternal Cousin brother to Nabanjja
Nakasumba Faridah Senior Liaison Officer Biological daughter to Nabanjja
Nakasumba Fatinah Officer Assistant Biological daughter to the PM
Nakanwagi Gorreti Liaison Officer Niece/Daughter to Rt. Hon. PM’s brother
Namata Sylvia Liaison Officer Sister in law/Wife to the PM’s biological brother
Alanaitwe Bright Bukyanagandi Senior Liaison Officer Relative to Rt. Hon. PM
Muhumuza D. Daniel Policy Analyst Biological Brother to Government Chief Whip
Muruhura Moses Office Assistant Uncle to Government Chief Whip
Atuheire Annah Policy Analyst Niece to Government Chief Whip
Muheebwa Henry Senior Policy Analyst Relative to Government Chief Whip
Kyarisiima Catherine Office Assistant Niece to Director, OLGB