Nabbanja’s Position Hangs In Balance As Experts Poke Holes In Her Defence


Experts have weighed in on Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja’s confession last week that she cannot supervise some of her colleagues who are more highly educated and experienced than she is.

In one of the videos that went viral on social media, Ms Nabbanja is seen admitting that she cannot supervise the Minister of Karamoja Affairs, Ms Mary Kitutu, and other ministers because of their rich academic backgrounds.

Ms Nabbanja was responding to questions from MPs on the Parliamentary Affairs Committee, who questioned her competency and why she had failed to supervise her ministers, who ended up sharing iron sheets that were meant for the Karimojong. The committee is investigating the iron sheets scandal.
“Some of these people are highly educated, when you look at Hon Kitutu, she is a doctor. By the time you attain that status, you are highly educated,” Ms Nabbanja said.

She added: “I do not know how you expect me to be monitoring her. A highly educated person of that calibre.”

In 1998, Dr Kitutu was awarded a Master of Science in Environment Systems Analysis and Monitoring from the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation of the University of Twente, Enschede in the Netherlands.

Slightly over a decade later, she obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Science from Makerere University.

Ms Kitutu and her brother Michael Naboya, were last week remanded to Luzira prison on corruption charges in the Karamoja Community Empowerment Programme.

In a mini-survey conducted by this publication, at least four out of the 80 ministers (both Cabinet and State) have PhD in various programmes.

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Most ministers, including Ms Nabbanja, have master’s degrees in various fields of study, while a few have bachelor’s degrees.

Ms Nabbanja holds a Master’s in Monitoring and Evaluation from Nkumba University, Kampala Campus.

When asked whether a boss with less education qualifications should be threatened by his or her highly educated subordinates, human resource experts said these have nothing to do with her leadership skills.

Mr Harry Patrick Oyuru, one of the human resource experts, yesterday said the Prime Minister should be excited working with well-qualified and more experienced subordinates.

According to him, the differences in academic qualifications, work experience and age have no negative bearing on the mandate one has to perform.
“One of the key leadership mandates for any leader is to develop and provide opportunities for the development of the people they supervise,” Mr Oyuru said.

He added: “On the Prime Minister’s statement, I believe she is aware of her strength and why she has been entrusted with the mandate to head the Office of the Prime Minister and all its staff. It is not an academic appointment, otherwise, we would need a professor for these roles.”

The chief executive officer of Precision Human Resource Consultancy, Mr Joseph Ajal, said qualifications and competence are totally different things.
“You might find a person with a basic education but when they are very competent and you find another person with a PhD but very incompetent. Besides, a boss is one irrespective of their academic qualifications. Haven’t you seen people with a certificate supervising those with PhDs,” Mr Ajal said.

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According to Mr Ajal, a ministerial appointment is equivalent to the position of an MP, whose requirement is Senior Six (Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education) or its equivalent.

He added that Ms Nabbanja is competent to supervise even those with PhDs.


Ms Kitutu was on Thursday last week charged with causing loss of public property. Together with Mr Joshua Abaho, 46, a senior assistant secretary in the Ministry of Karamoja Affairs, the minister was also charged with a second offence of conspiracy to defraud.

It is reported that she diverted the iron sheets to her own benefit and to the benefit of third parties, having reason to believe that such an act would result in the loss of public property.

Count two of the same charge of causing loss of public property has the minister being accused of causing a loss of 5,500 iron sheets. Other ministers, including Ms Nabbanja, are implicated in this saga.

While appearing before the Parliament’s Presidential Affairs Committee, which is investigating the Karamoja iron sheet saga, in her office, Ms Nabbanja asked the members of the committee not to crucify her for the acts of her ministers.  She also recommended that all those who received the Karamoja iron sheets should return them immediately.

Meanwhile, Ms Nabbanja apologised for the mismanagement of the iron sheets meant for Karamoja by her ministers.

Some ministers with PhDs
1. Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo, State Minister for Higher Education, (PhD in Education).
2. Dr Chris Baryomunsi, Minister of ICT, (PhD in Public Health).
3. Mr Mary Kitutu, Minister of Karamoja Affairs, (PhD in Science).
4. Dr Joyce Kaducu, State Minister for Primary Education, (PhD in Neuroscience).

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