Minister Nadduli speaking to www.muwado.com from his office
Hajji ABDU NADDULI, has been a minister without portfolio for the last two months. Nadduli, the outspoken NRM vice chairperson for Buganda region, had proclaimed himself a special inspector for government projects vowing never to return the official car he used as Luwero LC5 chairperson to his predecessor prior to his appointment to hold this docket.
In this August4 interview with www.muwado.com, minister Nadduli discussed some issues around his ministry, opposition political strategy, and the rare public sacking of health workers by President Museveni.
Below are the excerpts;
How does it feel to be a minister without portfolio?
It feels good. The ministry without portfolio is okay (but) it’s very tiresome because it has a number of clients which means you are always that anything involving all people falls under me. It attracts people to come to me. But since I have been doing the same work before being made a minister without portfolio, it’s been the same incidentals I have been facing.
How did you cope with ridiculous statements about your academic credentials that hovered allover shortly after your appointment to this office?
Those (statements) are no longer matter (to discuss.) They were political techniques just as you see these Besigye’s fighting in the roads and doing sorts of satire to satisfy his supporters that he’s doing something, but he knows that (elections) are over. I have never seen Besigye drinking, but he looks, and behaves like one. So, it depends on the nature of a person and the way he was brought up. Therefore, this (ridiculing me) was politics of how they could fail me. But how can a man like me lack academic papers? Have you ever come across a person who became a teacher of senior one to Senior four without going to school? Leave alone this teaching license which is different from academic status, but can you teach something you don’t know. Had you ever heard of anywhere I stepped and queried me on anything? It wasn’t there even in parliament’[s appointments committee] because I went with all my papers and that was the permit me to go through… This shouting about my academic credentials was unnecessary because I started from NRM electoral Commission. From there, our (NRM flag bearers) were carried to UNEB (Uganda National Examinations Board) and from there they were rectified by the National Council for Higher Education and the process got over and that why everything went so smoothly.
What are the priorities that you have set out to achieve as the minister without portfolio?
You know, the mandate of the ministry is to guide and teach the people across the sectors. For example, we are now expecting a group of people from Netherlands to teach our young men skills of rearing fish. We have so many rivers with very clean water which means that fish of every type can grow from there. So, it’s better to turn them fishermen. After all, lake Victoria was raped whereby all the fish including the young ones were uprooted and remained with water.
As a minister without portfolio, you are also charged with political mobilisation, right? Yes and that is the biggest matter in it (ministry.)
How have you planned to achieve this?
That (task) hasn’t puzzled my head because this is my 35th year in mobilisation. I started mobilisation on 20th February 1981.
But have you put it in mind that you have been given this office at such a precarious moment when the government’s popularity is diminishing every the other day amongst the populace?
Because you are in a war, you don’t carry all soldiers to war at ago, you take and recall them in phases and that is the way we do things here.
How did you learn of your appointment as a minister?
I wasn’t tipped.
So, it came to you as a surprise?
It was the newsmen like you who were in the (radio) studios saying that ‘I am here in the studio with the list of the ministers to form the in-coming new government, and Hajji Nadduli is among them against the ministry without portfolio’
So, did the newsmen give you calls to that effect?
Yes, they asked me what I was saying and said that I heard nothing to say because I am not the appointing authority. What it happens that you have told me air? Don’t you see how stupid I would become?
But had the president in any manner consulted you prior to your appointment?
He didn’t because many people would have leaked it to newsmen like you. So, he hid everything so terribly and I can tell you, very few of those who were appointed new earlier before the official announcement.
The opposition, mainly the FDC is up to date insisting that Museveni and NRM government didn’t win an election and that it should be ousted through defiance. What do you make of this?
When did they (opposition) start to understand that they would not win?
I don’t know.
Therefore, they (opposition) don’t know. Had they known, they should have taken their issues to the courts. Why didn’t they go to court?
They chose defiance.
Defiance means rebellion and wait for the consequences which will come out from that (FDC) defiance.
Would you like to suggest that all these former key NRM figures like Dr Kizza Besigye, General Mugisha Muntu, and recently Amama Mbabazi who have departed ways to join the opposition have a problem?
…There is democracy to vote for all leaders at various stages…by the people which mean that what they (Besigye and likes) are in place. But those (ambitions) within their minds, I would be this and that are the only problems that really endangering them.
How would you advise the youth particularly those from the central region regarding the continued defiance?
If there is any muganda who wants to become a political leader, should evacuate himself from those political thugs because abusing a person, fighting in the roads can’t make you success politically. Even if those involved in the defiance shout to the clouds, that can’t shake my legs or make my body nervous because they have said this and that because those are mere words.
What do you make of president Museveni’s rare sacking of the heath workers on site?
Many more (public servants) behaving as those (he sacked) will be done like that. Those are (the fruits) of the seven days we spent in Kyankwanzi. We spent the entire week talking about the inefficiency of service delivery. The teachers don’t teach and the health personnel are not there. The drugs we take down to the people are being sold instead of distributing them to the people free of charge, out of the numbers of doctors we have in health centers, you only see two. Didn’t you see how big the line was at Mpumudde? Where were the rest? So, they were eased and they can now go for their (personal) jobs and we (government) bring in those with the good hearts to serve.
So, would I be right to conclude that while in Kyankwanzi, ministers plotted against civil servants?
We told him (president Museveni) that just as you have tasked us to work hard, you are the starter and you open up the door. So, he (Museveni) has just opened up, and many more will be seen.
What category of the civil servants that is likely to be affected? The escapes, the robbers, the smugglers, and among others, will be affected.
But people out there say that NRM is copying systems from other countries like Tanzania without studying the due process according to our laws.
Does it require any study for you to know a negligent person? Would you be happy to take your wife or child to a healthy centre where there is no any health worker when you pay taxes yet we use those taxes to pay their salaries?
Your last word to the Ugandans
My last word to the people of Uganda most especially my youth in Buganda where all these events take place is that I appeal to them to disassociate from these opposition people particularly Besigye, General David Sejusa, Muntu because are the ones who fought for this liberation. If they have decided to overturn the government they think they brought, it’s not true because the government we came with ended in 1996 and this is a government brought by people and if they are fighting it thinking they are fighting Museveni, they are fighting the country.