Prime Minister Nabanja accuses Minister Onek of indiscipline.

KAMPALA – The Prime Minister Robinah Nabanja has accused the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hillary Onek of indiscipline.

This was after Minister Hillary Onek wrote a letter trending on social media and copied the president accusing her of usurping his roles and that of his deputy as Ministers of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees.

“I have not seen the letter but if the minister decided to write to me that is different. It is indiscipline because his office is next to my office so if he felt something bad was going on he would have come to my office and we harmonize,” says Nabbanja.

“You want to tell me that people should steal money when you are seated and I fail to come in. Fellow Ugandans things have changed, so I ask my fellow ministers to come and we walk together because we have little time. We are not going to blow off,” she added.

This all started after assuming her office, the Prime Minister immediately started visiting disaster affected areas such as the Kasese floods where she delivered several relief items such as blankets, meals and soap.

In a letter circulating on social media dated October 29, 2021, signed by Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hilary Onek complained about Nabbanja’s conduct of not involving his office while executing duties related to his docket.

“From the time of your appointment, I have been observing with total displeasure the fact that my role and that of my deputy as the ministers in charge of refugees and disaster and the lead policy makers on matters of refugee and disaster management have been totally usurped by your office,” the letter reads in part.

Onek also adds that the Prime Minister has been side-lining the top officials and only considering his juniors while visiting refugee camps.

“You have been calling for meetings, going to disaster affected places and visiting refugee settlements without informing either my office or that of my deputy. To my shock, my staff who I supervise are the ones being called for a meeting with the local leadership of Bududa without involving my office or even the area Members of Parliament, which may lead to decisions being made that contradicts earlier and official cabinet position

Hon Onek adds that using such approaches will duplicate his efforts in the office of disaster and preparedness.

The letter also compels the Prime Minister to restrain herself from using excessive force while pinning corrupt leaders holding government positions without making further investigations.

“You have also purged the department of disaster management, taken over the distribution of relief items and causing interdiction of staff members without proper investigation. The interdicted staff were accused of causing a financial loss without conducting a forensic audit by involving office of the auditor general,” reads in part.

“On 5th October 2021, you wrote to my office halting the settlement of refugees in Kyangwali over land ownership, this decision was arrived at without involving either me or my deputy or any technical staff from the department of refugees” the letter further reads.

Onek further advised Nabbanja that her constitutional powers stop at coordinating legislative agenda, leading government business in parliament and monitoring all ministries and government programs but not involving in micro management of other ministries.

“If you decide to micromanage other ministries, what then is the role of the senior ministers who are supposed to plan, make policies and deliver on the manifestoes of H.E the president,” Onek asked in a letter.

The letter was copied to President Y.K Tubuhaburwa Museveni, Speaker of Parliament, Deputy speaker of parliament and to the PPS to H.E the President.

Onek further threatened to withdraw from the ministry responsible for disasters and preparedness should the prime minister continue working in isolation.

“If you have decided to carry on working like this and rendering my docket irrelevant, kindly put it in writing to H.E the president who is the appointing authority and I will relieve myself on my responsibilities and allow you carry on with your duties, “reads the letter.

In a media briefing on Tuesday, prime minister Nabbanja vowed not to withdraw her operational methods but insisted to keep working with only government officials willing to change the face of Uganda in terms of service delivery.

Most legislators supported Nabbanja’s way of doing government works claiming that it will awaken ministers who have been sleeping on government positions for long.

Others claimed that Nabbanja’s business of doing things will undermine powers of her junior ministers in government.

“Nabbanja wants to show off to the president that she is hardworking but in turn she is undermining her junior ministers,” says MP Paul Semakula Rutamaguza representing Nakaseke South.

Our correspondent tried to reach Minister Onek to respond to this accusation but his renowned phone numbers were off.

Robinah Nabbanja was appointed as Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business in Parliament in June 2021 replacing Rt Hon. Dr Ruhakana Rugunda.

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