By Moses Kaketo
Bank of Uganda (BoU) may soon have a new deputy Governor as the days of Prof. Louis Kasekende are running out. The contract of Prof. Kasekende, a man for years who has been seen as Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile’s natural successor, runs out on 13th January 2020.
With less than two weeks to go, the appointing authority is silent on the matter.
Sources close to the corridors of power say, this is the first time the appointing authority is doing this.
Normally he makes a decision- renews or appoints a new person well in time. It should also be noted that parliament which vets appointments is in recess. Another indicator that Kasekende’s days at headquarters of Uganda’s financial sector are numbered
The Independent reported that Kasekende tried, but failed to meet the president in November last year to talk about the possibility of extending his contract.
Why the delay?
Knowledgeable sources say the president could be still ‘widely consulting’. It recently emerged that there are cliques [at the Central Bank, fighting to bring down each other.
The two camps [perceived or real] are said to be around the Governor and the Deputy Governor. The infighting has seen trove of endless leaked documents from BoU in the recent past. Something unheard of in the past.
The president is said to be aware of the squabbling and not pleased with it. Once described as the only clean institution left, BoU has in the past been dragged in the mud, eating away the Bank’s reputation.
Informed sources claim, by extending Kasendeke’s contract [for another five years] Mutebile’s camp [whose contract expires in January 2021] would have lost the battle. And this may only worsen matters on Plot 17/19 Kampala Road
To restore coherence and public sureness in the Central bank, Sources say, the president may choose to let the two bosses at BoU, go when their term expires. The only concern is that firing the two of them at once threatens to destabilize the already soiled central bank even farther. The BoU is a very sensitive institution with major implications for the economy.
According to informed sources, President Museveni has for long been so concerned about the deteriorating reputation of the central bank and its impact on the economy that he is looking to shake up the top leadership and even get rid of both Kasekende and Mutebile
Already rumors are flying that Kasendeke’s contract may not be renewed.-could this explain the delay in renewing his contract?
Kasekende: not your ordinary boy
Analysts point out that Kasekende is an ordinary banker. He is well-respected economist internationally. He belongs to Uganda’s two biggest political constituencies—he is a catholic and a Muganda. Not an ordinary Muganda, he is close to the powerful Mengo establishment. The catholic establishment and Mengo would not take easily to his firing.
The man boasts of over 30 years’ experience in running of the central bank, with vast knowledge in operational and technical issues cannot easily be ‘fired’.
Despite the recent exposed twaddle at the bank of all banks, Prof. Kasekende and Prof. Mutebile have been credited for keeping the economy firm.
It should be noted that Dr. Mutebile’s contract also expires January 2021. This is his last time in office. Can Mr. Museveni afford to lose both of them at almost the same time?
The highly connected & respected Kasekende
A reliable source at Bank of Uganda told Newz Post that the Deputy Governor is not only very experienced, but also connected locally and internationally.
‘‘ Kasekende is a protuberant catholic, highly connected to the Cardinal. In fact during the recent thanksgiving ceremony at State House, the Cardinal was pictured whispering to the president, could the issue of Kasekende’s contract have come up’’ the source said.
It is said, religion and tribe feature prominently when it comes to choose who becomes the next Governor or Deputy Governor.
Kasekende also has another constituency. He is a Muganda and a loyal subject to the Kabaka. Analysts say, the Kabaka will be happy to see his subject given another term to serve.
The deputy Governor is also, according to sources well respected among the donor community including the IMF, World Bank, African Development Bank among others.
From May 2006 to 2009, Kasekende served as Chief Economist of the African Development Bank (AfDB). As Chief Economist, he was the Bank’s spokesperson on socio-economic and development issues of importance for Africa. He supervised the Development Research Department, the Statistics Department and the African Development Institute.
Between 2002 and 2004, he served as Alternate Executive Director and later as Executive Director at the World Bank for Africa Group 1, including 22 countries mostly from Anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa.
Prior to joining the World Bank, he had worked for 17 years at the Bank of Uganda in several capacities, including Director of Research Department, Executive Director responsible for Research and Policy and served as Deputy Governor between 1999 and 2002.
He has previously served as a member of the United Nations Group of Eminent Persons for the Least Developed Countries and the World Bank Knowledge Advisory Commission.
Currently, Dr Kasekende is a Board Member of the African Export Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK), the International Economics Association (IEA) and the Africa Economic Research Consortium (AERC), and is a member of the National Steering Committee on Capital Markets Development in Uganda.
That is Kasekende for you.
According to sources with knowledge on the operations of the Central Bank, the Donor community have a say on who should be Governor or Deputy Governor.
It is clear, Kasekende has several constituencies which the president cannot afford to ignore, as we get close to 2021.
There is always a way out. Just like he did when he dropped super minister Hon. Amama Mbabazi from powerful Kigezi sub region [ and replaced him Hon. Rugunda, the president may chose not to renew Kasekende’s contract and appoint another Ugandan with similar attributes- a Muganda, catholic with vast experience in the ruling of the economy.
About the Author : MOSES KAKETO
also read: Poison, witchcraft scare at Bank of Uganda