As the scandals dogging Bank of Uganda (BOU) continue to emerge in the media, a section of top managers now say the Governor Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile and his deputy Dr. Louis Kasekende are responsible for the mess and the poor image of the bank. The managers also fear that more scandals are likely “to arise in the near future” unless the two men settle their ‘egoistic differences’.
Indeed, yesterday, Mutebile in media statement said he is on a good working relationship with his deputy, but insider sources say this is not true. “Our observation as workers at the bank is that they have differences, some personal, others professional,” a top BoU manager said of the two men at the helm of the central bank.
An insider further intimidated to Eagle Online that Mutebile and Kasekende have had differences as regards the recruitment of staff. “The bank is dominated by people from the central (Baganda) and those from the western part of the country. This pattern almost cuts across all departments,” the official, who seems frustrated, says. “It appears that each of them wants to bring in his own people,” he added.
Another insider told Eagle Online that Kasekende was not happy that Mutebile recruited Dr Tumubweine Twinemanzi from the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to replace Justine Bagyenda who the governor sacked for reasons he has never revealed, even as the former director of supervision was to officially retire in June this year. Kasekende’s view, he said, was to promote somebody from within the BoU for that post.
Mutebile’s sacking of Bagyenda and hurried up internal transfers did not go well with Bagyenda herself and some of the senior staff. They would later seek redress from the Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irene Mulyagonja. Her intervention was rebuffed by Mutebile, claiming independence, which forced President Museveni to intervene but officials at the bank say this matter is not settled.
Insiders say Mutebile, despite being a good manager, is sometimes hard to approach and advise, especially when he has made a decision he believes is the best. “Mr Mutebile doesn’t want his decision to be questioned, something that disturbs Dr Kasekende,” one of the employees told Eagle Online.
He however added that Kasekende is one of the best technical people he has worked with at that institution. He said Kasekende is a polished economist who understands the dynamics of the economy and banking industry in particular but that what undermines him is “the cliques he is part of in undermining Mutebile”.
Indeed, Kasekende is said to be annoyed with Mutebile over Crane Bank and is reportedly not in support of BoU negotiating with Crane Bank. Instead, he is reportedly in good books with ‘conflicted lawyers’ who court discontinued from being engaged by BoU. Insiders say that Kasekende hopes that the current woes faced by BoU could be a chance to have Mutebile out of the central bank.
“That is why he is sought after for knowledge sharing. He is a good researcher and presenter of papers when it comes to the issues to with the economy,” the official said. Meanwhile, Kasekende is alleged to have teamed up with Bagyenda in fighting Mutebile on the issue of Crane Bank. The same sources allege that Kasekende has also previously flown out of the country ‘his associates’ who aren’t on the travelling list and this has left some employees at BoU disgruntled about his working methods.
Kasekende has served at the African Development Bank as Chief Economist, a position he held for three and a half years. Previously, he served as Alternate Executive Director and later as Executive Director at the World Bank in charge of Africa. Mutebile, on the other hand has also worked with the World Bank and IMF in various capacities. This, analysts say is good for the country given the exposure of the two men.
Insiders say that Mutebile, unlike Kasekende, is allied to top politicians in the country and that has at times given in to demands of politicians, something they say Kasekende doesn’t like. In fact the sources say Kasekende did not like when in 2011 Mutebile sanctioned that release of money to aid NRM’s presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni to fulfill his pledges. “You remember that caused inflations afterwards,” he said.
Insiders say differences among the top managers led to the poor decision on Crane Bank, which was sold to DFCU Bank. They further say information about Crane Bank was not shared sufficiently and as such BOU is paying in terms of money and loss of public trust. The reason why the Auditor General wants to investigate BOU on the matter.
But Mutebile says BOU is not incompetent. “If we are to objectively judge the competence of the BoU, we should look at how it has performed in relation to its core strategic objectives: controlling inflation and regulating the banking sector to protect depositors and the overall stability of the financial sector,” he said yesterday in the press release.
He says over the last three years BoU has contained core inflation at an average of 5.1 per cent from April 2015 to March 2018. “That hardly suggests that, in terms of macroeconomic management, the BoU is incompetent,” Mutebile says.
However. insiders argue that while it is true that inflation has been contained at single digits for that period, it doesn’t mean that the differences between two men have not impacted on the bank’s operations. “All is there for the public to see.”
But despite the criticisms, Mutebile says that he is on good terms with his deputy Kasekende.
“I would also like to refute the allegation made severally by the Independent magazine that I, my Deputy and other senior officials “fight each other”. I continue to count on the confidence and support of my Deputy and all other members of the Board of Directors, Executive Directors and staff,” he wrote yesterday.
Mutebile, meanwhile, is not happy with the information some frustrated workers at the bank are giving to the public and the media and warns of disciplinary against them. He said they should follow established procedure.
“There are set mechanisms for addressing any contradictions within the course of our public duty. Therefore, any BoU staff acting outside these avenues and is found to be culpable in fomenting allegations, intrigue or undermining established management processes, shall be subjected to the Bank’s disciplinary proceedings,” he added.