UGANDA, Kololo | Real Muloodi News | Parliament engaged in a heated debate last week over a proposal to have Government gift a house for Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile’s family, the late governor of the Bank of Uganda (BoU) or allow them to retain the governor’s official residence in Kololo, an upscale Kampala City suburb.
Bukooli Central MP, Solomon Silwany, tabled the proposal as Parliament considered a motion by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to pay tribute to the longest-serving BoU Governor, in honour of his outstanding performance and contribution to the country.
Governor Mutebile, 72, died of diabetes and related complications on January 23, 2022, in Nairobi Hospital in Kenya, where he was hospitalised on December 31, 2021.
Mutebile, a veteran banker, served as Governor and Chairperson of the Bank of Uganda’s Board of Directors from 2001. He had just begun a new tenure when he was reappointed in 2021. He previously worked as Secretary of the Treasury from 1992 until he was appointed governor in 2001.
The late governor and his family had occupied his official government-owned residence in Kololo for over 20 years, while his upcountry home is in Kabale.
“This property or home should be for the Mutebile family led by the widow. It is known knowledge that the late Professor was a very honest man and by the fact that he was Governor Bank of Uganda for a very long time, as we talk today, the family may not have where to go,” said Silwany.
Mutebile, he continued, did not collect a lot of fortune like other persons who might enjoy the benefits of their offices, such as the governor.
However, Mutebile was one of the highest paid public servants in Uganda, with a salary of UGX53 million per month without counting other perks of the job. Whereas the average monthly income for a Ugandan family of four is UGX416,000, according to UBOS’s latest National Household Survey.
When the Deputy Speaker, Anita Among, inquired if Silwany’s motion had been seconded, a group of parliamentarians said no, mainly from the opposition.
This led her to notify parliament that she had attended a memorial at the late governor’s official mansion in Kololo on Wednesday when the widow alluded to having no home.
The Buyaga West MP, Barnabas Tinkasimire, then favoured Silwany’s motion. He explained his choice by stating that he visited the late Governor in June of last year and discovered that the Kololo mansion is merely the official residence provided by the Central Bank.
The Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja, stated that she had taken note of the MPs’ issues and suggested that she confer with them and give feedback on their next plan of action.
The Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Zaake, stood on a parliamentary basis, stating that the motion by Silwany had not been backed by himself and the whole House. Among said the proposal could be put to the vote if Zaake and the parliamentary commissioner agree.
Medard Lubega Sseggona, MP for Busiro East, presented another proposal, stating that the administration follows through on the Prime Minister’s commitment and reports back to parliament in successive sittings on the actions taken.
In her proposal, Nabbanja referred to Mutebile as an outstanding career and conscientious leader who has served Uganda enormously with commitment and patriotism. She also praised Mutebile for helping to shape Uganda’s future by modernising the country’s financial sector and devising and executing economic and fiscal reform measures that have helped to rebuild the country’s economy.
The opposition leader, Mathias Mpuuga, said Mutebile’s death marked the end of an era of someone in a generation who engaged in state and institution-building when more than 85 per cent of Ugandans presently living in the country had not yet been born.
“That distinction falls on a select few who get that rare once-only opportunity to help set up institutions during and after the birth of a nation. Dr. Mutebile was a fortunate man. He was the right man with the right credentials who rose on account of his competence that helped cushion our economy from a state of near-collapse in the early 1990s to one where our people can only try to survive on basics of life,” said Mpuuga.
He did, however, say that the renowned economist has left behind leaders who are promoting the Parish Development Model as a miraculous economic transformative instrument that will pull underprivileged communities out of poverty and into riches.
The MP for Nyendo-Mukungwe urged parliament to guarantee that older individuals who have represented Uganda with dignity retire honourably and spend several years in retirement.
“This House owes our senior citizens a law that bars men and women who have reached retirement age from continued stress of public service,” Mpuuga said.
He went on to say that the habit of seeking specialist medical care in neighbouring countries is highly unfair to millions of Ugandans who entrusted authorities with the responsibility of fixing the country’s failing healthcare system.
The motion by MP Silwanyi for the family of late Mutebile to retain the BOU Governor’s Kololo home was rejected. However Gov’t has been tasked to work with BOU to ensure the family gets a decent home. The prime minister will update the house next week.
A national funeral service for the late governor took place on Friday 28th Janurary at the Kololo Independence Grounds, and the burial was held on Sunday 30th in Rugarama, Kabale.
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