INSIDE STORY: Why M7 Fears Sacking Mutebile


sales geneva; font-size: small;”>The whistleblower alleged that Mutebile was seriously wasting himself by drinking like a fish even during high profile conventions in foreign countries.

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approved geneva;”>The whistleblower further gave examples of three countries including France where Mutebile had collapsed in the middle of conferences due to excessive consumption of alcohol.

ambulance geneva;”>Despite possessing this dossier, won’t reveal all details for legal reasons.

However, the BoU spy told the President’s office to immediately start pondering on Mutebile’s replacement. The name of Mutebile’s deputy – Louis Kasekende was proposed.

Mutebile was further faulted for employing mostly his relatives and bowing to political pressure to offer huge amounts of salaries to daughters and sons of eminent persons in the country.

According to the dossier, Mutebile was also accused of arrogance and taking risky decisions without consulting his colleagues.

The author of the dossier alleged a minister from western Uganda influenced the Governor to issue letters of comfort to four commercial banks guaranteeing BoU to pay Shs142b debts incurred by city tycoon Hassan Bassajabalaba since the process for compensating the latter for loss of tenders of city markets was in the pipeline.

This minister recently stepped down over corruption scandals.

Upon receiving the dossier, Museveni was reportedly incensed. As his custom, he called Mutebile for a meeting at State House, Entebbe where the governor denied the allegations.


Interestingly, at that time, Museveni and Mutebile were on a collision course over plans to buy Russian Jets at Shs17trilion.

All experts at BoU had advised Mutebile against succumbing to Museveni’s whims to purchase the war planes.

A well placed source at State House says Uganda received high level intelligence from Israel’s Mossad in December 2010 that Sudan was planning to attack Uganda using war planes with the view of killing the head of state.

A few weeks later, one of Amin’s sons was arrested at Entebbe Airport with a briefcase of classified documents detailing plans to seize Kampala after blistering air raids supported by radical Muslims in Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

This information connected with Israel’s intelligence that there was indeed plans to bomb Museveni out of power.

As fears hit peaks levels, another piece of intelligence came in from Congolese military officials that ADF had started serious mobilization of insurgents, regrouping and training of new members in Mwalika region.

Congolese officials said they ADF Commander Jamil Mukulu had sneaked into the area to morale boost his combatants following the outfits’ pronouncement it had paid allegiance to Al Qaeda.

So at the time, Museveni knew very well the consequences of allowing air attacks on Uganda after which ADF combatants would swing into action to seize Kampala.

Sudan has a history of backing rebellions. Khartoum funded and also supplied weapons to rebels in Libya who ousted Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

Faced with such threats, Museveni had no option but pressurize Mutebile to release a staggering $744m for eight jets and sophisticated military hardware from Russia.

These jets, which fly at a supersonic speed, can roll 7,000 miles without refueling, implying they can easily offer a safe cover to oil fields in western Uganda at any time.

The jets can easily engage war planes on an attack mission from any corner of Uganda.


One of the reasons why Museveni would not fire Mutebile despite the scandalous Bassajja payments is that the Governor depleted the treasury’s reserves for jets which consolidated Museveni’s hold on power.

To Museveni, according to informed sources, Mutebile took a revolutionary and patriotic move.

The second reason is that Mutebile has thousands of secrets in his brief case which, if released, would tarnish government’s image. Mutebile is well known for being vocal. He recently told Financial Times how he was fighting Museveni over reserves.

Government would face a serious public relations nightmare if Mutebile was forced out of office.

The third reason why Mutebile will hang on is his close connections to Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi. Before Museveni takes any strategic decision, he consults Mbabazi – who is a business partner to Mutebile.

The fourth reason is that the governor has strong business connections around the world. By the fact that Mutebile is capable of joining an opposition group, Museveni fears offering the likes of Besigye a man who could mobilize billions to cause regime change. In 1972, Mutebile, as Makerere Guild President, gave a critical speech against Idi Amin for expelling Asians, before fleeing for his life to Tanzania.

In Tanzania he had a chance meeting with the economist Walter Elkan, who helped him complete his studies at Durham University in the UK.

The fifth point as to why Museveni cannot fire Mutebile is his vast wealth of knowledge of Uganda’s economy and being widely credited for introducing financial discipline to a previously chaotic economy.

Museveni needs Mutebile for the control and management of oil revenues.

Economics expert Stephen Williams says: “Tumusiime-Mutebile’s reputation as a straight-talking and highly efficient economic technocrat has given the foreign entrants additional confidence in the Uganda market. For Tumusiime-Mutebile is generally credited with being responsible for the renaissance of Uganda’s economy. His life story makes fascinating reading and is intimately and inextricably bound up with the country’s recent history.


In October 1974 Mutebie began his post-graduate studies at Balliol College, Oxford, before returning to East Africa, entering the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (one year after Yoweri Museveni graduated) to lecture and conduct research while pursuing his doctorate in economics.

In October 1978 Tumusiime-Mutebile was still in Dar es Salaam when Amin ordered the Ugandan army to invade Tanzania’s Kagere Salient in a futile effort to divert attention from a rapidly disintegrating domestic situation.

Tanzania responded militarily, defeating Amin’s army and invading Uganda to unseat him from power. Alongside the Tanzanian army were many Ugandan exiles, including Museveni and Mutebile.

The Governor’s grasp of economic theory was sorely needed by Uganda, newly liberated from Amin’s tyranny but ravaged, lawless and with a bankrupt economy devastated by more than eight years of chaotic misrule.

During the short-lived Binaisa and Muwanga regimes, Mutebile was appointed deputy principal secretary to the president at State House. It was the beginning of a career as an economic technocrat that would see him, over the years, rise inexorably through Uganda’s civil service ranks.

After Obote’s return as president, in elections that Museveni disputed before returning to the bush to fight for Obote’s overthrow, Uganda’s Public Service Commission sent Tumusiime-Mutebile to the Ministry of Planning as the under-secretary before making him a senior economist, then chief economist at the ministry. He was then promoted to chief economist to the government in 1984.

When President Museveni eventually took power in 1986, he had the sense to retain Tumusiime-Mutebile’s services, even if he held views regarding the economy that, initially, differed markedly with his own. Unlike Museveni, Mutebile had dropped the idea of a command economy model some time before.


It did not take long for disagreements between Mutebile and Museveni to emerge. Always his own man, Mutebile has never hesitated in speaking his mind, forcefully at times, whether addressing presidents, international lending institutions or fellow senior economists and bankers.

Mutebile told Museveni flatly that his command economy theories were wrong and sure enough, when the economy refused to respond to price controls, Museveni began to listen and implement Mutebile’s advice.

An economic reform programme, lead authored by Mutebile and his team at the Ministry of Planning in 1987, began to liberalise the markets but, as he explains “at that time, the programme was not wholly embraced by pockets of the new government. There were still some who believed in the command economy – so the economy did not really respond properly to the programme because it was not being properly implemented.”

Economy boom

Under him, public spending, along with inflation, was stabilised while price controls were scrapped as the economy was liberalised.

Notably, the price of coffee, previously set by government through a central marketing board, was liberalised and the additional revenues this generated lifted the incomes of many thousands of poor farmers.

Even when Uganda’s newfound political process threatened to derail economic prudence, his department at the Ministry of Finance could respond. One celebrated example was when President Museveni made the provision of free primary school education an election pledge during his 1996 campaign.

Team Tumusiime had previously conducted thorough audits to assemble accurate data on spending on schools, in the process eliminating corruption that was eating up to 80% of the budget at local government level. That gave Mutebile a strong position to request the World Bank for the funding to meet the president’s pledge.

By June 1998, the World Bank had provided Uganda with $155m for education, and primary school attendance virtually doubled – an extraordinary achievement. There was just one conditionality – rather than imposing their own officer which might have been the norm, the World Bank actually insisted that a member of Team Tumusiime join the Education Ministry to oversee the spending!

In January 2001, Mutebile was appointed governor of the Bank of Uganda, the country’s central bank. Reconfirmed in 2006 for a further, final five years, he continues to focus on fiscal discipline.

Whether working within the Ministry of Finance or at the central bank, he has been an important player in ensuring that Uganda has enjoyed a decade and a half of economic progress.


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