President Museveni has directed security to commence the vetting process of the next Governor, Bank of Uganda.
The reign of the current Governor, Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile ends in the next two years, leaving Museveni with a short window period to appoint a successor.
Mutebile was supposed to have moved on after the expiry of his two terms on January 10, 2016 only for Museveni to insist on his stay in office.
Museveni’s surprise move left many in shock.
Officials at the presidency say Museveni was yet to find a befitting successor of the powerful institution charged with fostering process stability and a sound financial system.
Due to health concerns, there also is a possibility of Mutebile, 69, opting to relinquish his position well before his retirement begins.
Mutebile, who succeeded the late Charles Kikonyogo in 2001, has for the last few years been in and out of hospitals especially in South Africa due to health challenges.
And as is usually the custom, Museveni will have to consult Mutebile, the longest-serving governor in the Central Bank’s 50-year history, on whom he believes has the potential to succeed him at the Central Bank.
Officials tell ChimpReports that a day before Mutebile reshuffled senior officials at Bank of Uganda; he met with Museveni at State House where the duo discussed the matter.
During the meeting, Museveni expressed concern that the Central Bank was veering off the right course especially in the area of Bank supervision which could pose significant challenges to the economy.
Museveni further said he was not happy about the closure and collapse of commercial banks as such situations undermine his efforts to attract investors in the country.
Mutebile said he was determined to start a clean-up with the view of strengthening the Central Bank’s structure to execute its role effectively.
It was agreed the Executive Director in charge of Supervision, Justine Bagyenda, should be removed from her position.
Officials say the meeting was cordial with the duo cracking jokes throughout.
By appointing several outsiders to head key departments at BoU, Museveni and Mutebile intended to prepare the institution for the possibility of a Governor from other government institutions or private sector.
The Governor served as Makerere University Guild President before fleeing to exile during dictator Idi Amin’s reign of terror.
On return to Uganda, Mutebile played key roles in breathing new life into Uganda’s shattered economy. He would later serve as Secretary of Treasury before being appointed Governor.
The Bank of Uganda Act 2000 provides that “There shall be a governor who shall be a person of recognized financial or banking experience and shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Cabinet.”
As he prepares to quit, officials say Museveni is looking at the current Treasury Secretary Keith Muhakanizi as a potential successor of Mutebile.
Muhakanizi is a family man with unquestionable loyalty to Museveni.
“He is one of the few people Museveni trusts. He speaks his mind. He is someone who will argue with Museveni for some time before releasing money,” said an official who preferred anonymity so as to speak freely.
Muhakanizi has as well built healthy ties with western donors who would not hesitate to support him in the position of Governor.
Armed with considerable experience in running the country’s economy, Muhakanizi stands a higher chance of succeeding Mutebile.
The second potential successor is Richard Byarugaba, the NSSF Managing Director.
He has in the last few years won support from President Museveni for turning around the national saving scheme after years of mismanagement.
But Byarugaba would need ample experience in dealing with international financial organizations such as IMF and World Bank to take the position of Governor.
The Deputy Governor, Louis Kasekende remains a potential contender for the seat. His appointment was renewed in 2016. While he remains a big force to reckon with at the Central Bank, Kasekende will need to do more to distance himself from mess of the Supervision Department that led to collapse and closure of Banks as he was close to Bagyenda. He also has to reassure Museveni on unifying the working force at the Central Bank amid the recent developments.
Another contender for the position of Governor is Augustus Nuwagaba, an international consultant on economic transformation.
He is a wealth creation expert in Africa and an economics PhD holder from the London School of Economic and Political Science. While he has consulted for World Bank, he lacks the much needed experience to run the Central Bank.
Most senior economists in the country have passed through his hands at Makerere University.
John Ddumba Ssentamu (born in 1953) is an economist, academic and banker.
Currently he is a Professor of Economics and former Vice-Chancellor (2012-2017) at Makerere University.
He also serves as chairman of the board of Centenary Bank, the second-largest indigenous commercial bank in the country, with a total asset base valued at US$573 million. He is seen as a contender for the seat.