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Sacked minister spills secrets

Alex Onzima

Alex Onzima

The concept of minister without portfolio, more so in the Office of the Vice President, is complicated, a minister sacked recently from that job has intimated.

In the true sense of the job definition, Alex Aadroa Onzima, a former minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Vice President, said he was not a minister.

“Vice presidency is not a ministry because there are no ministries attached to it. Although I am called a minister of state, it is not a ministry; so, I was appointed to work in this office under the vice president to wait for whatever assignment the vice president assigns me. So, it is not really a ministry as such,” Onzima said.

Onzima was sacked via social media, without warning from the president on December 14.

“The VP [vice president] has in his capacity as the second-highest-ranking personality in government been giving me assignments to represent him, which I have been doing to the best of my capacity and which I also did faithfully without receiving any negatives about my performance. Unless there is something that happened, it did not come to my attention,” Onzima added.

Onzima’s predecessors have said in previous interviews that there’s no work in the office of the vice president apart from reading newspapers and making calls. In 2013, the former minister of state in the Office of the Vice President Vincent Nyanzi told a parliamentary committee on presidential affairs that he was rendered redundant in that office.

Onzima said he worked as and when he was assigned. He said he kept in office waiting on assignments from his boss Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi.

My experience has been ….yes, when the VP assigns you work, you do it. So, when he has not assigned you any work, you wait for it; it’s that simple. I have been waiting for assignments,” Onzima said.

“We wait for assignments; it’s not like some ministries where you are spread out all over the country. It’s not like ministries where a senior minister is busy and assigns you or you as minister of state you draw your own programmes of duty, which is not actually the case here,” he added.

Sacked without warning from the president on December 14, Onzima was later appointed as a presidential advisor along with four other former ministers.

Interviewed recently by The Observer, Onzima said he is not quite sure he knows what useful advice he would offer the president in his new posting.

The former minister Without Portfolio in the Office of the Vice-President said he was not really a minister under that office. He said he simply waited on assignments from his boss, which were few over the years.

In all, seven ministers were sacked in the December 14 reshuffle including; Irene Muloni (Energy), Monica Azuba Ntege (Works), Janat Mukwaya (Gender), Idah Erios Nantaba (ICT), Charles Bakkabulindi (Sports), Hajj Abdul Nadduli (Without Portfolio) and Alex Onzima (Office of the Vice-President).

Days after the reshuffle, five ex-officios (ministers without constituencies) Irene Nafuna Muloni, Alex Aadroa Onzima, Abdul Nadduli, Janat Mukwaya and Monica Azuba Ntege were appointed senior presidential advisors while Idah Erios Nantaba (former ICT state minister) and Charles Bakkabulindi (former sports state minister) remain backbench MPs.

Nantaba is the Woman MP for Kayunga while Bakkabulindi represents workers in parliament. Asked in an interview at his old office about his readiness for the new advisory job, Onzima said he is not sure he knows what exactly he is supposed to be advising the president about.

He said he heard about his new posting as a senior presidential advisor but had not received any official communication from the appointing authority.

“I don’t know what I am supposed to advise the president about because I have never been to an office like that before and I don’t know how they operate,” Onzima said.

He said he was yet to receive the instruments of appointment from the president.

“You know when he [president] makes that pronouncement [fresh appointment], you have to wait for the instrument of appointment. That one has not yet come. So, ours is still a blank cheque. So, in this case now, I cannot tell you exactly what I am going to do.”

“And even a senior presidential advisor, on what?” Onzima added.

Asked if he knew why he was appointed as a presidential advisor, a furious Onzima told this reporter to call and ask the president.

“All the executive authority is vested in the president. He has full authority to appoint, disappoint, to make changes in his government. He is the head of state; so, I wouldn’t know why he appoints people as ministers or vice president. All that is premised on his own discretion…the only authoritative person to answer that question is the president himself,” Onzima said.

“I cannot speculate why the president appointed me to the ministry of Local Government, then here [office of the vice president] and to the new assignment to come [senior presidential advisor]. I will advise you, in my honest way, to call him and you put that question to him. It’s the president to answer, not Alex Onzima,” he added.

Onzima refused to be drawn into commenting on the movement of former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Kahinda Otafiire and Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana to less significant portfolios of East African Affairs and Labour ministry respectively, which draw less public scrutiny.

“If I do not have a clue on my own appointment, why would I know about other people? I told you I do not know why the man shifted me from Local Government to here and now senior presidential advisor,” Onzima said.

“I don’t know why. It is his prerogative and now, you come here and ask about Rukutana…. maybe Rukutana has his own answers. Follow Rukutana, then Otafiire, call them,” Onzima added.

Asked if his opposition to the president’s push for the creation of new administrative units had something to do with his sacking from the ministry of Local Government, Onzima said it was wrong to tie what transpired in Local Government to his sacking from the Office of the Vice President.

“This office will be here. Like now another minister is coming. So, it still remains the structure of the executive. It will exist long after we have left,” Onzima said.

Onzima, who contested in 2016 and lost his Maracha seat, which he had represented since 1996, said he doesn’t want to ‘disturb’ the current MP Denis Lee Oguzu until May 2020.

“Me I always say proudly that I am mature in mind and in age so I don’t do things haphazardly I just said no, let’s give this boy [MP Oguzu] some space…” Onzima said.

“I have given myself up to May [2020] because it will be four years in which this boy has had free space to implement his manifesto,” Onzima added.



+3 #1 WADADA rogers 2020-01-01 11:36
He sound so bitter, did he think he would be a minister for ever, atleast he is not one of the bush war comrades to enjoy a ministerial office in perpetuity
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+1 #2 Ugthinker 2020-01-01 12:20
That’s Muyekera for you, he leaves his targets clueless!
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+1 #3 Akot 2020-01-01 18:44
WADADA rogers, agreed!

When he was in post, everything was alright for him, but now, he wants sympathy from Ugandans!

It only Museveni who is assured of post while Ugandans are only used to ensure his continuity & those used up are thrown out of posts!

Ugandans MUST bring down the tribalistic system & UNITE to say NO to Museveni, 34 years+++, WHY?

Even without a common National Leader as it is, UNITY will block & throw Museveni OUT & Ugandans will be FREE as police/army won't be used against them by the demon!

Is there any reason tribal leaders stay in posts to ensure Museveni's continuity?

Why have Dr Besigye & mp Bobi Wine not ask tribal leaders to stand down & to UNITY against Museveni?

Do Ugandans really want Museveni OUT?

Why are Ugandans so afraid to live WITHOUT Museveni?
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-2 #4 Akot 2020-01-01 19:11
Ugthinker, Happy New Year!

At this point in history, we should all by now know Uganda is not a country any more!

In what state will Museveni leave Ugandans & their land & how will our people restart?

Having a country means ensuring it's well governed to ensure children/grand kids get better heritage, a safer future, right?

No people with brains go for election controlled by the same demon for 34 years, but UNITE to ensure the demon is OUT, then go for election without him around!

UNITY will throw Museveni out & tribal leaders will go back to their posts & make tribal lands 'countries' or Ugandans can Reform the Republic!

Why are tribal leaders still in posts ensuring tribally divided Ugandans are POWERLESS & against Museveni's?

Why are Ugandans their own enemies while Museveni owns their land riches?
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+3 #5 Apollo 2020-01-01 20:24
"Presidential Advisor" is not a deployment or assignment. It is a strategic tool that enables Gen. Museveni reduce the surface area of his soft underbelly from attack.

He uses political leverage to deprive potentially credible opponents of the space to challenge him by appointing them as Presidential Advisors, RDCs, Board members on Agency bodies, e.t.c.

Opposition strategists must aim to increase the surface area of Gen. Museveni's soft underbelly by depriving him of this leverage. Otherwise, their shenanigans aimed t attracting public sympathy will only achieve superficial impact.
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+4 #6 Odongkara 2020-01-02 10:05
Mr. Alex I personally know you and you are a very intelligent, honest and straight forward talking guy but I have a question for you to answer: why didn't you say all what you say now while in that redundant ministerial position, wasn't it love of money rather than service for the the tax payers?

Do you have any morals left in you honestly? Why didn't you resign? Didn't you realize yourself being used to generate votes from your poverty ridden Maracha people for greedy Museveni, reducing your intelligence to zeros?
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+3 #7 Odongkara 2020-01-02 10:07
Mr. Onzima my verdict on you today is that you are terribly disappointed and hurt and bitter because you sold your earlier integrity that earned you the respect of West Nile region but the moment you boarded the yellow bus you prepared your own pillao so it without screaming!

Stand warned if you are preparing for 2021 for it is going to be a a sad day for Museveni and his boot lickers, the Onzimas of this world! You are the senior presidential advisor for elections rigging West Nile region.
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+2 #8 rubangakene 2020-01-03 23:10
You "little fool", you were used like a "prostitute" and discarded.

Don't cry now, you should have been principled and stayed with FDC, you became greedy and what have you got now, eh? Nothing and no place for 'political prostitutes' in Arua!
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