Why Museveni Fired Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary Isabalija

President Yoweri Museveni has fired Dr Steven Isabalija as the energy ministry permanent secretary barely a year after he appointed him to replace Kabagambe Kalisa.

Steven Isabalija has been replaced with senior geologist Robert Kasande.

But why exactly did Museveni send Isabalija packing?

The youthful Isabalija’s troubles started when he clashed with ministry of finance, planning and economic development permanent secretary Keith Muhakanizi.

The feud was sparked off by Muhakanizi directive to the auditor general to investigate the Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) for which Isabalija was chairperson before he was appointed energy ministry PS.

In a 15-page dossier to the auditor general, a whistleblower (who Isabalija suspects was working for Muhakanizi) pinned Isabalija for overseeing the misuse and diversion of billions of tax payers’ money meant for the the 600MW Karuma and the 185 MW Isimba dam projects.

Isabalija is also accused of flouting procurement laws and spending foreign trips cash yet he reportedly did not leave Kampala during the time he was supposed to have travelled.

Using the weight of his position as board chairperson, Isabalija reportedly frustrated (and blocked) a forensic audit into the whistleblower’s claims, only for the probe to see light of day when he was appointed PS.

It remains unclear why Isabalija was sent packing.

However, it is likely that the UEGCL ghosts followed up Isabalija to the PS office.

Although he has been sent on forced leave, the investigation results may not see him return to office.

For now, geologist Robert Kasande will take charge in acting capacity.

In his over three-decade rule, Museveni’s government has lost over Shs 25tn in graft.

Museveni has been under pressure to implicate ‘big fish’ thieves. Months ago, state minister for labour, employment and industrial relations was charged with soliciting bribes, and directed to step aside.


Marion Ayebazibwe