The former Minister of Lands and Urban Development Beti Namisango Kamya has been appointed the new Inspector General of Government (IGG) by President Yoweri Museveni.
Kamya’s appointment has however attracted excitement and skepticism in equal measure in the anti-corruption circles.
Although the law gives the appointing authority the liberty to name anyone with a sound mind into the position, as long as that person is fit to be a judge of the high court, or if he/she is deputized by a person fit to be a judge of the high court, Kamya’s appointment has nonetheless raised eyebrows.
Kamya will be only the second person after Augustibe Ruzindana,without a legal background to occupy the position, if her appointment is approved by Parliament.
The other four former IGGs have all been lawyers. Jotham Tumwesigye 1996-2004, Justice Faith Mwondha 2005-2009, Raphael Baku (Ag. IGG) 2010-2013, Justice Irene Mulyagonja Kakooza 2013-2020 were lawyers.
Recent appointments had created a semblance of impatiality expected of a government ombudsman, before the role got watered down when the former IGG Mulyagonja failed to secure the backing of the president in her investigation of corruption which she said involved people close to him.
Kamya’s appointment has been met with a tinge of skepticism because of the calling of the job as the watchdog of the government.
As a card-carrying member of the ruling NRM party, the demands of the office of the IGG, including investigating his own party colleagues, could be weakened by her political bias.
Cissy Kagaba, the Coordinator of the Anti-corruption Coalition Uganda, cautiously welcomed Kamya’s appointment when she told The Sunrise that: “The appointment of a substative IGG is a welcome development because the office has been redundant for a long time. However, the question is; will she have the guts to say no, if she has been singing praises of the president.
Kagaba further ponders when she says: “We have numerous grand corruption cases. We don’t know if she will be able to bell the cat. Of course she can shine by hunting the small fish in the districts, but when it comes to the untouchables, there are doubts.
“You remember the former IGG Irene Mulyagonja said she couldn’t do her work because the currupt were people around the president. I don’t know miracle Beti Kamya is going to perform?”
Perhaps the answers to some of these questions lie in an article that was authored by the first IGG Augustine Ruzindana for Pambazuka, when he attacked Museveni’s tendance to weaken institutions so as to retain control.
Ruzindana wrote: “You have an Inspector General of Police who is also a presidential military assistant. You have a Gen. Tumwine who is a serving military officer, an MP and a Chief Judge (3 in one) of the court martial, the complete negation of the separation of powers.
“All these unusual things are not accidental. They inform everyone that what Museveni wants is the law and the norm. It promotes the image of omnipotence which grants him the latitude to do so many things outside the law and to use the structures and the normal channels of government accordingly. Legal niceties or checks and balances are dismissed off hand. So if he gives Shs 20 bn to Basajja, so what? Even if he adds another Shs13.4 bn to him,” Ruzindana wrote in his June 26,2006 Article.