By Kagenyi Lukka
When Dr. Louis Kasekende, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda, was re-appointed in 2010, insiders say, the understanding was that he would succeed the Governor, Prof. Emmanuel Tumussime-Mutebile, who was viewed as a spent force.
A well-educated economist, Kasekende had earlier served as a Chief Economist at the African Development Bank and at the World Bank.
At Bank of Uganda, he had grown through the ranks from director research and policy to deputy governor.
Therefore, when Mutebile’s contract expired in 2015, all eyes were set on Kasekende as a possible successor.
However, things changed along the way, and Mutebile’s contract was extended.
But given Mutebile’s health issues, Kasekende, who is quite young at the age of 59, was still expected to be the key figure in the daily conduct of business at the Central Bank.
In fact, to say so is not a far-fetched thing because going by the hierarchy of roles that the two, Kasekende and Mutebile, head and co-chair key committees at the bank, the Finance committee and the Capital Projects Committee, which oversees and monitors and screens all proposals for major capital projects at the Central Bank.
Under the Central Bank policy, the office of the Deputy Governor is also responsible for the supervision of the Strategy and Risk Management Department.
Now, given the fact that Mutebile is or was no longer capable of dealing with the rigours of heading the Central Bank, everyone expect Kasekende is expected to hold the mantle.
Yet what is on ground is that Kasekende has not performed. The Central Bank has miserably failed on its major role of financial monitoring and assessment of risks.
For instance, Crane Bank, a key local bank was recently closed for reasons that any keen supervisor and economists would have detected early enough.
Kasekende is not your average economist in town. He is rather a well-trained and read person, who even worked for the World Bank.
In fact, prior to joining the World Bank, Kasekende had worked for 17 years at the Bank of Uganda in several capacities, including Director of Research Department, Executive Director responsible for Research and Policy and as Deputy Governor between 1999 and 2002.
He has also previously served as a member of the United Nations Group of Eminent Persons for the Least Developed Countries and the World Bank Knowledge Advisory Commission.
Kasekende is also a board member of various organisations such as the African Export Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK), the International Economics Association (IEA) and the Africa Economic Research Consortium (AERC), and is a member of the National Steering Committee on Capital Markets Development in Uganda.
Surely, a man with these credentials, and a PhD in Econometrics from the University of Manchester, has to do much more rather than giving the public lip service.
Indeed going by the current trend of events at the Central Bank, Kasekende and company deserve nothing but retirement.
Insiders have already said that President Yoweri Museveni is looking for Mutebile’s replacement.
The thinking within Government is that the Central Bank needs someone who can restore local and international confidence in the country’s top financial institution, which has of late, been clogged with multiple scandals.
I agreed with this Government line of thinking because the current group of the Kasekendes cannot provide this confidence that the country and our international partners are looking for.
Kagenyi Lukka, the author, is a current affairs analyst and aspiring MP Ikiiki county.