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10 years ago: Only God can sack me – Mutebile

The Governor of the Bank of Uganda Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile has dead.

Mutebile died this morning at Nairobi Hospital, according to an announcement by Deputy Governor Micheal Atingi-Ego.

He was 72.

Mutebile was admitted to Nairobi Hospital on Sunday, December 31, 2021, after he collapsed due to complications related to diabetes.

He had been in and out of hospital in recent years for the same complications.

His death, however resurrects a prominent statement he made 10 years ago, as the Daily Monitor wrote:

Daily Monitor’s 2012 news story

Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, a seasoned professional economist has served as Governor and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Uganda since 2001, and had just started a new term of office for which he was reappointed by 2021.

Bank of Uganda Governor Tumusiime-Mutebile’s assertion that calls for his resignation by Parliament are “rumblings” portray “a reflection of impunity” and “telling of tribal favouritism”, MPs have said.

Addressing a journalists’ briefing at the BoU head offices in Kampala yesterday, Tumusiime-Mutebile said: “I can assure you that I am here for the long haul. There is nothing that will take me out of this seat…except God.”
He was responding to a question about the uncertainty of his future at the helm of an institution he’s run for 11 years and the impact it might have on the currency markets.

But the central bank chief’s remarks did not go down well with the chairperson of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, Mr Kassiano Wadri, whose team recommended that Mr Tumusiime-Mutebile be relieved of his duties over his role in the inflated compensation of businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba for loss of city property.

Wadri told Daily Monitor: “He isn’t above the law. Were those [ministers] from Buganda foolish to step aside? What is so special about this Mukiga?”

Ministers Syda Bbumba and Khiddu Makubuya a fortnight ago resigned their positions after being implicated in the same report.

At the briefing, Tumusiime-Mutebile said: “The markets shouldn’t worry about rumblings in Parliament,” adding that as mandated by the Constitution, only President Museveni can sack him.

Not bowing
Mutebile argued that he sees no reason why the President should fire him, because he is neither insane, incompetent nor dishonest, the three grounds for which a central bank governor can be removed from office by the President.

“I can assure you I will be here,” he said. “There is no case for the President of the Republic to get rid of me. So please tell the markets to remain calm.”

He added: “As you can see, I am not insane…as you can see I am not dishonest and I have not failed to deliver.”

Last month, President Museveni accepted the resignations of Makubuya (General Duties) and Ms Bbuma (Gender) for their roles in the compensation scandal.

Despite incessant calls by lawmakers for administrative action against Mutebile, a man considered the rock of the Ugandan economy, it is understood that Mr Museveni and the Cabinet have since agreed to let the central bank governor off the hook.

Already plans are afoot in Parliament to marshal ruling party lawmakers to spare Mutebile, when the crunch debate on his role in the controversial payments returns to the floor of the House on Tuesday next week.

It is understood Cabinet is worried that seeing off Mutebile could shake the economy, especially at this crucial time when Uganda is struggling with a debilitating down-turn.

At yesterday’s the briefing, Tumusiime-Mutebile also issued the monetary policy statement for the month of March. He announced that BoU had reduced the Central Bank Rate by 1 percentage point to 21 per cent, down from 22 per cent in February.

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