In a revelation that unmasks more of the behind-the-scenes intrigue at State House, a senior presidential aisor has described how officials close to the president fought her until she abandoned her job.
Maureen Kyalya Walube, a presidential aisor on poverty alleviation in Busoga sub-region, says the State House Comptroller, Lucy Nakyobe, persistently subjected her to degrading treatment until she lost interest in working for President Museveni.
“I have completely lost all the interest in anything to do with them [State House]. I have had a lot of financial and physical oppression specifically from Nakyobe. She keeps saying she acts on instructions from Rt Hon Kadaga to harass me,” Kyalya told The Observer in an interview on Friday.
However, Ms Nakyobe says Kyalya’s allegations are unfounded. Describing Kyalya as “too confused”, Nakyobe told The Observer on Saturday that the presidential aisor often overstepped her limits and did not respect her bosses at State House, or even the people she was supposed to work with in the Busoga sub-region.
“She needs help,” Nakyobe said of Kyalya. “If I was a medical expert, I would say she must see a medical doctor for analysis with immediate effect. How does she even say that we went with the speaker to blackmail her to the president? Does Madam [speaker] have such time?”
Kyalya said she abandoned her office at State House in August, after being “oppressed and frustrated,” and does not plan to step in it again. She said she is only waiting for an official termination letter from President Museveni.
“The problem is one cannot function in State House without Nakyobe. For me, since she was at the helm of fighting me and making up silly, childish allegations all the time, it was silly of me to continue wasting my time on them,” she said.
In her response, Nakyobe said that Kyalya’s contract as an aisor to the president expired in August but, since then, she has never written to State House authorities showing interest in its renewal. Kyalya’s outburst comes less than a fortnight after the former senior presidential assistant on communication in charge of social media, Sarah Kagingo, said she was hounded out of State House by senior officials allied to Nakyobe.
Official car impounded
Kyalya also accuses Nakyobe of ordering officials to confiscate her official car, much like what happened to Kagingo. However, unlike Kagingo who refused to budge, Kyalya’s car was successfully taken away by State House operatives on Saturday, November 1 from her home in Bugembe, Jinja, using a breakdown vehicle.
Kyalya, who says she was away from her home when the car was taken, describes the way operatives stormed her home and seized the car as “inhuman and unnecessary.”
In Saturday’s interview with The Observer, Nakyobe admitted that she led the team that towed the car from Kyalya’s home. She added that as an administrator of State House, it is within her mandate to manage all State House property. She also accused Kyalya of hiding the car from everyone, including her driver.
“She got the car from the driver and took the car to a hidden place and then she got out of the country without our consent as her bosses,” she said, adding “We had to use police to recover the car so that it is allocated to a serious person ready to use it.”
Kyalya, who said Nakyobe could simply have written an internal memo asking her to return the car, also revealed that her former boss frustrated her work by denying her money to carry out the president’s assignments.
“Often, she would order the cashier not to give me field allowances. For the two years I was in State House, I personally paid my drivers because they wouldn’t even pay or facilitate someone to drive me,” explains Kyalya, who is currently pursuing a master’s in Social Work in the United Kingdom.
On this claim, however, Nakyobe said Kyalya was lying. She said that as a presidential aisor, Kyalya always received Shs 2m monthly for fuel and another Shs 5m to run an office rented for her by State House.
“I even have all the records,” she said. “She used to sign for all that money herself.”
Differences with Museveni
Kyalya recently courted controversy in the Busoga sub-region when she supported Prince Columbus Wambuzi against the eventual Kyabazinga, Gabula Nadiope IV, even after President Museveni met the king. (See: Museveni aisor attacks president over Kyabazinga, The Observer, September 08, 2014)
The former presidential aisor says her stand on the matter accelerated her fallout with State House officials, who warned her at one time when she offered Wambuzi a lift in her State House vehicle. According to Kyalya, she was also ostracised out of State House because she did not have a political godfather in government, who would have backed her in the high-stakes political chess in the corridors of power.
“I have spent most of my adult life out of Uganda therefore, I have not established any entrenched friends or loyalties in the political circles of Uganda. That is a basic survival requirement in the current political set up,” she said.
Kyalya, however, says she has “no complaints” with President Museveni, under whose stewardship she says she felt privileged to serve the people in Busoga.
If Kyalya didn’t have political godfathers in NRM, it is partly because she is considered an outsider. Kyalya joined the NRM from the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party in February 2012. Before that, she had contested on the FDC ticket in the 2011 general election for the Jinja Woman MP seat, which she lost to NRM’s Agnes Nabirye.
Because of that history, Kyalya does not enjoy much sympathy both within the NRM, whose Jinja officials protested her appointment from the time it was made, and the FDC who see her as a traitor of their ideals. Over the weekend, one FDC official in Jinja, who declined to be named so he could speak freely, said: “Our party insisted on telling her not to accept any talks with NRM but she chose to listen to them. She wanted to go to State House and I think she now knows how slippery this regime is.”
However, Kyalya says she does not regret working as an aisor to President Museveni because it opened her eyes to the plight of the people in Busoga.
“It was my first opportunity of being a public servant at such a significant level and, trust me, the impact has strengthened and will continue strengthening me. Taking that job was the best decision I ever made. It even helped me confirm that H.E Museveni is still the hero he once was but we, the people working for and surrounding him, are working hard to drown his image and impact on Uganda,” she said.
Kyalya added that she was unlikely to contest in the next election. Instead, she has registered a community-based organisation, Busoga Development Cooperative Union (BUDECO), with which she will continue her anti-poverty crusade.
Source : The Observer