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From Policeman to the UN, and now to politics

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From Policeman to the UN, and now to politics

EX-Police publicist now eyes Parliament

Ex-Police Spokesperson Simeo Nsubuga relives a life of great personal accomplishments

Simeo Nsubuga’s name is still associated by many people with the Uganda Police force even though he left the organization four years ago.

Nsubuga shot onto the public scene in 2007 when he became the first spokesperson of the Uganda Police – Kampala Extra region – the first time such a position was being created in the history of the force.  

Using his public speaking skills and regular news conferences, Nsubuga reveals it came as a worthwhile consolation for his missed opportunity to join the army.

During an exclusive interview with The Sunrise, it was interesting to note how an unquenchable thirst to achieve personal goals has driven him from one profession to another with amazing success.

First as a trained teacher, Nsubuga served the police for ten years before he joined the diplomatic realm as a Senior UN advisor in law and order. The motor-mouthed former police officer is now setting his eyes to politics. His interesting run of successes suggests that at the young age of 40, he has his best part of his life ahead of him.

Coming from a humble background, Nsubuga grew up with a burning determination to beat the odd, including financial obstacles.

Born in Myanzi, Kasanda South constituency, Mubende district, Nsubuga 40, walked sixteen kilometres daily from his home village to Naama S.S for his early secondary education. Despite his young age, Nsubuga defied critics when he completed three years of walking daily to Naama secondary school where he scored good grades that allowed him to proceed for A-Levels at Mityana S.S.

He joined Makerere University on government scholarship in 1996 where he did a bachelors degree in education. He taught for three years after graduation before the long-desired opportunity of joining the army came. An advert was posted in the papers and Nsubuga along with friends Andrew Felix Kaweesi and Moses Kafeero – both of them now in senior positions in the police.

But they were conscious of the tough call that comes with the military combat. The trio sought the advice of a senior Muganda officer whom Nsubuga prefers not to name but is said to be at the rank of a Brigadier general.  

“He advised us against joining the army. He argued that our families had high expectations from us. Including being bread winners for our parents and educating our siblings. He narrated his past and counselled that the army would not put us in that position to meet those demands,”

“Given his seniority and experience, we could not go against his advice, however much we wanted to join,” Having failed to join the army, the trio seized the next best opportunity – enrolling into the police force.

Nsubuga served police for 10 years during which he built a formidable profile as a charismatic speaker when he was appointed as the first regional spokesperson for Kampala region.

Besides his public image, Nsubuga is also proud of the fact that he left the force without a single disciplinary action taken against him.

While in police, Nsubuga added a master’s degree in human rights to his curriculum vitae that increased his chances for greener pastures. His record as a police officer with advanced education in human rights put him in favourable position to join the United Nations.

As luck would have it, when the United Nations advertised for trainers of police officers for Somalia, he was ready to make the big jump. This was made even easier by the fact that he had been dropped by the IGP from the influential position of Police PRO and posted to a lowly police post in Kyambogo.

It’s now close to four years while Nsubuga joined the United Nations, a transition that has brought him greater fortunes including money and exposure. Besides training Somali police officers to man the civil police roles in the rag-tag Eastern Africa country, Nsubuga now serves as senior UN advisor for law and order in South Sudan.  

Nsubuga wants to take his winning streak to another level by contesting for party leadership in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) as well as for Member of Parliament for his home area of Kasanda South.

“I can assure you that I will become the spokesperson of NRM the next time the party chooses its leaders. I know this because no one, not even Karooro or Ofwono Opondo, can compare with me when it comes to persuasion and analysing issues.”

When it comes to his bid for MP, Nsubuga appears to be even more resolute than ever before snatch the seat from the powerful state minister for ICT Nyombi Tembo.

Minister Nyombi Tembo has held the constituency for two terms but Nsubuga is unmoved by influence or even his financial clout. The youthful ex-police police officer who sometimes refers to himself as Musajja wa Kabaka – (a phrase made in reference to someone who is loyal to the Kabaka of Buganda), Nsubuga claims that Nyombi’s tenure has yielded little if anything to uplift the lives of hundreds of his poor villagers many of whom face an even bleaker future as they are threatened with land evictions.

He cites the land wrangles that have left most people in the constituency very bitter about a plan by Abid Alam to displace tens of thousands of people from land they have cultivated for decades.

He also has an axe to grind with the minister for allegedly sabotaging development in the area. He cited the President’s recent visit to the area where the minister ‘deliberately’ refused to allow local leaders to express their grievances.

“As you know, whenever people ask for assistance from the president these days, he gives them. But the minister stopped our people from asking for assistance. I am sure the president would have given us something had the minister allowed local leaders to present their problems,” adds Nsubuga: “Wherever he went that day, he donated money and cattle to people.”

“I think the minister has lost touch with the people” says Nsubuga.

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