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Mutebile survives coup at central bank

If the governor is concerned about the planned walk out by board members, he shows no concerns at all at the lunch date.

And if his deputy, who is also opposed to the transfers, is aware of the plans by protesting board members, he too makes no mention of it, insiders say. The two men go through their lunch seemingly happy.

But speculation was high among the two major camps—those seen as loyal to Mutebile and those seen as loyal to Kasekende on what the governor and his deputy each has up his sleeve. Calls were made.

There is anxiety because, at a previous meeting, some of the board members openly opposed Mutebile’s transfers.

One of the board members had even volunteered information to Inspector General of Government (IGG), Irene Mulyagonja and was ready to appear before her inquiry into these transfers as a witness.

However, President Museveni in a March 26 meeting at State House Nakasero asked Mulyagonja to stay off the issue and let a special committee deal with any issues that emerged as a result of the transfers.

The Independent has learnt that some board members; led by former Attorney General, James Kahooza, oppose Twinemanzi because he was appointed in the contested Feb.8 reshuffle, which they say is irregular.

And, many people say, when Kahooza is opposed to something—he is known to be rigid and means business. They cite the January 2012 case when he was board chairman of Uganda Development Bank (UDB) and instituted an internal investigation into the poor performance of trade finance loans at the bank.

When the results of the investigations arrived, on April 20, 2012, the Kahooza-led board resolved to caution the then CEO, Gabriel Etou and suspended him for 15 days. Etou would later lose the job.

So when, in February, Kahooza openly told Governor Mutebile at the inaugural board meeting that he was opposed to the transfers, many sensed trouble. “They should be reversed,” Kahooza shot at the Governor without mincing his words.

Apart from Kahooza, the other members of the Mutebile-chaired board are; his deputy, Louis Kasekende, Bank Secretary, Susan Kanyemibwa, William Kalema, Judy Obitre-Gama, and Josephine OkuiOssiya, who replaced Ibrahim Kabanda in November last year. Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi also sits on the board.

Keith Muhakanizi and President Museveni

Of all these members, it is only Muhakaniziwho is seen to be firmly in Mutebile’s corner. The others are either in opposition or can swing either way especially on the issue of transfers. That is why the planned coup was a potential disaster for Mutebile.

But, having learnt of the plot early, Mutebile tactfully laid a counter plot.

When the meeting opened the following day, the governor announced to the surprise of the rest of the board members that the head of legal would address them instead. Twinemanzi was nowhere. There were silent murmurs and some sighs of relief.

“Oh. This saves the situation!” muttered one member.

The meeting proceeded smoothly.

Amidst all this scheming and counter scheming, many had hoped that Mutebile would have his hands full, addressing the crisis at BoU. But, The Independent has learnt, he instead insisted on travelling to Washington DC for the April 16-22 International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Spring meetings.

The meetings will bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, parliamentarians, private sector executives, representatives from civil society organisations and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness.

In Mutebile’s absence many eyes will be on the actions of Kasekende, his allies in management, and the board. Until Mutebile returns.

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