KAMPALA. Maj Edith Nakalema hitherto a personal assistant to President Museveni was sent for a senior command and staff course at London-based Shrivenham Defence Academy in the UK after being upstaged in a stinging supremacy battle among the President’s aides.
Maj Nakalema who leaves this month for the course, had been at loggerheads with the President’s new Principal Private Secretary, Molly Kamukama. Kamukama assumed the role after the 2016 presidential and general electrons and her appointment left Maj Nakalema, then the President’s all-powerful private secretary, in an inferior position of just military assistant.
As Kamukama sought to assert her authority, after succeeding Mary Amajo, Maj Nakalema became an immediate target. Interestingly, Amajo had largely been reduced to a figure head and title holder as Nakalema wielded unwavering clout and influence around the President, sieving and determining who met him, when, what information he received and drafting his most sensitive communications.
When Kamukama, who served as political assistant to the NRM chairman during the 2016 general election campaign, was appointed to the office, Nakalema, sources in State House say, asked the President to return her to mainstream SFC (Special Forces Command) because she couldn’t work with Kamukama. She didn’t get the decision.
According to sources, Kamukama denied Maj Nakalema access to the President, essentially clipping the wings of an aide who had in so short a time emerged as the last line of contact for visitors and sensitive documents to the President. Previously, without Nakalema’s sanction and nod, anyone seeking to see the President would be rendered unsuccessful.
But Maj Nakalema now found herself in an awkward situation—from the de facto PPS to just a figurehead military assistant. In her previous role, she had wielded so much power that put her on a collision course with some of the President’s staff including former Makerere University guild president Sarah Kagingo, whose tenure as special communications assistant to the President ended unceremoniously with a police case in which she accused Maj Nakalema of assault, claiming she had shoved her off a car on the President’s convoy and left her injured.
But in a change of fortunes, as Kamukama asserted her position, controlling the President’s itinerary and determining who meets him and when, Maj Nakalema’s once shining armour of influence dimmed, with the President’s guards, according to sources close to SFC, the elite wing of the army charged with guarding the President, sometimes turning her away when she sought to meet the President.
Kamukama would later isolate staff loyal to Nakalema or winning their loyalty is she could not blank them.
The schism has also reportedly affected some ministers with former Presidency minister Frank Tumwebaze, according to sources, sought to be a target of Kamukama. Tumwebaze has reportedly had to seek intervention of a senior NRM figure after being variously reported before the President for a host of accusations and being blocked from meeting him to clear his name.
Kamukama, according to sources, has an axe to grind with the minister who she considers to have fought her during the elections.
The army confirmed this week that Maj Nakalema will be off to the UK. With Maj Nakalema off the UK, it is understood President Museveni will expect the tensions to reduce.