A massive shockwave characterized by intrigue, blackmail, and infighting has hit Ugandan Missions abroad ahead of a looming ambassadorial reshuffle.
According to sources, President Yoweri Museveni is in the final stages of reshuffling Members of the diplomatic corps representing Uganda in various Missions abroad. In June this year, Museveni shuffled his cabinet where he dropped a whopping 13 cabinet ministers and 25 state ministers, who previously served in the 2016-2021 government.
A month later, Museveni also reshuffled Permanent Secretaries where he dropped and retired about 10 of them.
This trend has sent chills in the nerves of Uganda’s envoys for fear of being the next victims in the reshuffle as Museveni emphasizes on building an efficient team of public servants to drive the country into a money economy.
There is now uncertainty and tension at the Ugandan Missions abroad ahead of the reshuffle as ambassadors and other envoys resort to intrigue, smear campaigns and infighting in order to knock out possible suitors who could threaten their positions.
Apparently, lobbying from various corridors of power has also become the order of the day while others have resorted to circulation of malicious reports in the media and to the appointing authority to win favours.
This blackmail and malicious tendencies among envoys have also been fuelled by the rise of young and energetic NRM cadres, most of whom participated in the recent elections and did not make it through. There is fear that these “political failures” are eyeing ambassadorial positions as their last resort having lost in the general polls.
Similarly, career diplomats are also worried about the new kids on the block who have been deployed to work with them in various Missions abroad either as Foreign Service officers or deputy ambassadors.
Apparently, the new kids on the block are “stealing the show” at their expense. With the recent reshuffles that saw the Ministry of Foreign Affairs get a new Minister [Gen Jeje Odongo] and new Permanent Secretary [Vincent Bagiire], there is a lot of job insecurity brewing among diplomats especially those who have served for at least 10years as head of missions.
Of late, there have been reports that several of Uganda’s Missions were under performing and this had preliminarily been attributed to non-performing ambassadors some of whom have been involved in scandalous acts. It is these levels of insecurity and uncertainty that has pushed Ugandan diplomats to the extent that many of them have resorted to treading unfounded allegations of corruption to soil others, just to secure their postings.
Last year, Uganda's Ambassador to Nairobi Phoebe Otaala brought the country into disrepute when she deliberately refused to hand over office to the new ambassador, Hassan Galiwango, saying she did not resign to participate in the elections.
In 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was forced to recall its ambassador to Denmark, Nimisha Madhvani and her deputy, after the pair were recorded apparently plotting in a Zoom meeting to steal funds meant to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
In 2019, there was an ugly scene in Kampala after Uganda’s Ambassador to Burundi, Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza and his bodyguards reportedly assaulted a female traffic officer.