Minister Kuteesa Laments over Few Career Diplomats
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kuteesa has lamented over the imbalance in the appointment of more political diplomats over career diplomats.
Kuteesa, while meeting Members of Parliament on the Foreign Affairs committee on April 25, 2017, noted that currently, only 17.1% of the 35 ambassadors spread across the world are career diplomats.
Kuteesa, who presented the 2017/2018 budget estimates before MPs, revealed that only six out of the 35 diplomats have served in diplomatic service for years and have adequate experience to handle foreign policy matters.
He named them as Phillip Katureebe stationed at Mombasa, Kenya; Nimisha Madhvani posted to Abu Dhabi; Katende Sebujja posted in New York; Adonia Ayebare in New York; Richard Kabonero in Dar es Salaam and Solomon Rutega in Guangzhou.
The minister revealed that he has made recommendations to the President, who is the appointing authority, to consider career diplomats first during his consideration of ambassadors for postings, a decision which a section of committee MPs agreed to.
Rose Mutonyi, the committee chairperson agreed that the imbalances in the diplomatic appointments could cause internal squabbles, especially career diplomats who feel left out.
Mutonyi tasked Kuteesa to organise a meeting between the committee and the President to iron out some of the discrepancies in the Foreign Service, as well as budgetary constraints that have seen a number of foreign missions in dire straits.
The President early this year appointed new ambassadors, with the list dotted with politicians who lost in the 2016 general elections.
They included former Defence minister, Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, Joy Ruth Ochieng, Phibby Otaala, Barbara Nekesa, Jame Mbahimba and Rebecca Otengo.
During the meeting, Kuteesa revealed that the ministry has budgeted for about Shs 4 billion for economic and commercial diplomacy to promote commercial diplomacy.
The missions include Ugx 614 million for London; Ugx 382 million for New Delhi; Ugx 294 million for Nairobi; Shs 294 million for Pretoria; Ugx 1 billion for Beijing, China; Ugx 590 million for Berlin; Ugx 314 million for Abu Dhabi and Ugx 400 million for Guangzhou.
The ministry’s budget for the 2017/2018 financial year stands at Ugx 31 billion.