MUSEVENI EXPULSION FROM AGOA DEAL: Is It Now The Time For Him To Recall ‘Mr. Fixer’ Sam Kutesa From His Hideout?

Sam Kahamba Kutesa on phone

President Museveni is making changes to his cabinet anytime soon after the NRA liberation day. But as this we await his decision that is likely to affect 30 ministers, the diplomatic front has started showing signs of weaknesses as witnessed in this week’s decision by the US to knife Uganda from the AGOA deal. This comes after an earlier threat of suspension of the country from benefiting from future loans.

What could have gone wrong after years when Museveni has been navigating such storms since 2001 when issues of human and democratic rights were raised by the West after the advent of Kizza Besigye’s Reform Agenda? 


In the run up to 2006 elections, Museveni faced similar accusations occasioned on his government by Kizza Besigye and his Reform Agenda which later became FDC. Besigye at the time was in self-imposed exile in South Africa where he made a successful case against Museveni on human rights violations and shrinking democratic credentials.

The situation went on for years up to 2016 but Museveni managed to wade through these muddy waters which even had the nasty Buganda riots and walk to work where many lives were lost.

As all this went on, Inspectors said Museveni employed four fronts to extinguish the opposition onslaught. On one hand, he had a strong NRM secretariat, had a robust diplomatic team, organized the diaspora and most of all, had Sam Kahamba Kutesa who is said to have played the Mr. Fixer role at Chatham House. HOW?

Sam Kahamba Kutesa meets India PM Nalendra Modi


When Besigye became a real problem abroad, Museveni in 2005 sat and devised a strategy to recruit or enlist the support of patriotic Ugandans in the diaspora regardless of their political inclinations. Intelligence informed him that majority of these Ugandans shared a common challenge of immigration papers since they were foreigners in a foreign land. He tactfully, reached out to many of his patriots (NRM) who were in the diaspora who helped him to mobilize Ugandans there. He never used formal embassies but informal channels to reach out to those Ugandans.

When he succeeded, he mooted a proposal to have the diaspora (league) incorporated into the NRM-O constitution which was being formulated at the time. Museveni went ahead and pushed through the national constitution the issue of Dual Citizenship in addition to establishing an office on Diaspora Affairs by appointing Haji Abbey Kigozi Walusimbi as an SPA/DA.

“Museveni secretly, through his patriotic NRM ideologists, went ahead and opened NRM Chapters all over UK, India, US and other western capitals where there was a lot of noise. These chapters managed to counter Besigye propaganda and they also organized meetings where he (Museveni) directly addressed Ugandans” explained an inspector, adding that all these interfaces he had with Ugandans, helped detoxicate FDC rhetoric warning Ugandans against sending money back home on grounds that it wasn’t safe. The trick allegedly worked for him.

Hajji Abbey Kigozi Walusimbi who started diaspora leagues as chairman


At the time of the Besigye challenge abroad, there was also a strong NRM secretariat that was ideologically mentored under John Patrick Amama Mbabazi.

“Amama could only do the political work of Museveni and supporting him. He opened chapters all over including in Ukraine where he sent Hope Mwesigye, Walusimbi and others to open it. By then, Amama complimented Museveni and now (that) he’s no longer in the secretariat, that’s why you can’t hear of a chapter in Ukraine! Instead, its Bobi Wine there” explained an inspector adding that whereas Amama is now into global security affairs, this has nothing to do with diplomacy which Museveni badly needs.


Also known as the Royal Institute for International Affairs, Chatham House is a British think tank whose mission is to help governments and societies build what they call a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world. This independent policy institute is based in England. It is taken as the West’s no.1 lobbyist firm majoring in various fields be it security, politics, diplomacy, human rights among others. It is stated that there are no corridors (of power) they cannot enter and open the gates including the US, Moscow or Beijing not forgetting our Kampala!

This group according to Inspectors, gives lecturers and here, they invite people who matter and Sam Kahamba Kutesa allegedly used to attend and spoke to it. 

“They arrange the guest speaker to give the real picture of your country. They arrange everything up to World Bank, IMF for you to explain (why) they should believe you. Kutesa, through his connections used to arrange, attend and deliver messages there. It’s not easy to arrange it, you must be a person of high caliber” explained an inspector, adding that through those informal engagements, Kutesa would persuade the west to double check their stance against Museveni’s government. Kutesa at the time was minister for foreign affairs but much of this he did informally.

Museveni volunteer gal Lillian Ikulumet who lives in Germany


Inspectors said that the work of explaining Museveni’s side to the west is ideally supposed to be that of foreign affairs ministry through the various embassies. These are taken as the standard or formal channels of government-government diplomatic communication through ambassadors. However, these are also said to be doing little or nothing as there are standards or etiquette expected of them; the reason they are given diplomatic immunity. In that way according to Inspectors, their level of pushing Museveni’s version has got limitations unlike the informal channels.

“Ambassadors give diplomatic defense but informal channels (Kutesa style), give aggressive defense. Currently, as we saw it on AGOA, Museveni is doing diplomatic defense. But how do you do diplomatic defense when you have a reckless and combative opposition like NUP? There, you need an aggressive defense. When Kutesa was there, he had managed to fight the smears of the opposition” explained an inspector.


It’s stated that Museveni currently faces a challenge of balancing diplomatic etiquette and aggressive diplomacy which Kutesa did and went as far as using it to scoop the position of UNGA president.

As for Amama, whereas the former NRM SG is now into global security affairs, this has nothing to do with diplomacy which Kutesa used to do. And yet, in the 2021 cabinet announcement, Museveni ditched Kutesa to date leaving what Inspectors said a ‘vacuum’ in (aggressive) diplomacy.

The same is happening to the chapters Museveni started. It is said that these too; are almost dead and or, are only fighting for money as opposed to carrying on with the mission for which they were started. Firstly, Museveni is very occupied, his former supporter Amama is also out and yet even the ones who started those chapters like Walusimbi, Peter Mashate, Asiimwe, Dr. Kasaato among others have since moved on leaving a huge political vacuum. For example, Abbey Walusimbi, is reported to be more involved in shopping for investors leaving the area of foot soldiering as a lobbyist.

“As it stands now, all the four fronts have collapsed. Otherwise, the Anti-Homosexuality Act or Human Rights is not a new thing. Had it been that Mr. Fixer (Kutesa) was there, this AGOA deal wouldn’t have caused this diplomatic crisis. That time, Museveni succeeded in taming Besigye even when he was being funded by UK’s CP because he had street fighters in the West” explained an inspector.

However, this website recently reported that Museveni had deployed a team of Ministers led by battle-hardened Foreign affairs minister Gen. Abubaker Odongo Jeje to explain Uganda’s position on the Anti-Homosexuality Act. The same Museveni through one of his well-wisher gal from Teso, Lillian Ikulumet went to the EU Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and ably explained NRM government’s position on alleged human rights violations by NUP and the steps taken to investigate, prosecute those involved and also improve on the ratings. A smooth operator, Ikulumet lives in Germany and works without any formal appointment from the president even as she can be his Special Envoy to the European Union if appointed.

However, what’s not clear is whether the team Museveni deployed also engaged Chatham House like Kutesa used to do or they went through the High Commission(s) which unfortunately, are said to have their own challenges and limitations. On the other hand, since losing his cabinet job, the hitherto powerful minister Kutesa has kept a low profile to date. Watch this space!

Tags : President Yoweri Museveni


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