News Politics

We can’t believe Museveni overlooked us: Don Wanyama’s CEO job at New Vision Group hurts senior staff

Some of the senior staff at New Vision Group (NVG) continue to parade a subdued mood after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the Appointing Authority in the country, deployed then Senior Presidential Press Secretary to head the company as the new CEO, replacing veteran media commentator and lawyer Robert Kabushenga, who, according to sources, was not steadily leading the company in the direction that the president wants-especially when the NRM ideology comes into play.

Museveni a few days ago posted Wanyama to NVG, having years ago recruited him into State House service after the former journalist was unfairly sacked from Daily Monitor in a plan masterminded by minority shareholder Wafula Oguti who accused Wanyama, the then managing editor, of publishing an opinion poll that predicted Museveni of the NRM would win the 2016 presidential election with a clear margin against Dr. Kizza Besigye, of the FDC, the same party to which Wafula is a senior member who also served as Leader of Opposition in Parliament.

President Museveni has of recent found new medicine of ensuring that government parastatals run in the way he wants them to run, despite the set ethical and professional standards. That medicine is to send to those institutions the people he has worked with at State House. “We see that the current URA Commissioner General John Musinguzi Rujoki came from State House to replace Doris Akol, who rose through the ranks in that institution. Insiders in URA say Rujoki came with strict instructions to steer URA out of the perceived corruption and underperformance,” said an analyst who has over the years, followed Museveni’s appointments in public institutions.

NVG veterans who among others include Barbara Kaija and Paul Busharizi, in their hearts, thought they would be picked to replace Kabushenga. But they were  shocked when it emerged, they were to be directed by a young but principled Don Wanyama, who moreover had worked for a rival media house, Daily Monitor, an appendage of Kenya’s Nation Media Group (NMG). Insiders say the senior staff at NVG are demoralised by Wanyama’s appointment as chief executive of the company that they have struggled to build over the decades.

One senior editor who had hoped to replace Kabushenga said: “I and my other senior colleagues hoped that one of us would be picked to replace comrade Kabushenga but we were left out.”

Museveni has always accused the company that publishes Uganda’s leading daily- The New Vision for failing to sensitise and educate Ugandans about government programmes on top of failure to understand the NRM ideology that the president says is the cornerstone of transforming Uganda from the peasantry to a modern state. He has on several occasions warned the Group of severe consequences and now it seems the president has started to bite in the move that will see more senior executives leave NVG, just like it has been in other government parastatals.

Wanyama, is now expected to make things right at VG and move that company in line with the NRM ideology. Insiders at State House whispered to this reporter that Wanyama was given specific instructions that should see NVG aligned to NRM ideology and Manifestos. An insider at State House told this reporter that with Wanyama in charge, the public will cease to read headlines in NVG editions criticizing government on corruption and underperformance in several sectors of the economy. “You watch the space. There are going to be several changes in the editorial department,” he added.

Wanyama, according to sources, is now expected to ensure that New Vision and other affiliated outlets of the VG play the role of government mouthpieces by way of writing positively or giving airtime to government programmes without having to be paid, much as currently that company takes a lion’s share in government advertisement cash. And now with Wanyama in charge, more cash is expected from government as advertisement revenue.

A Kampala politician this news website talked to on why Museveni posted Wanyama to NVG as CEO, said the group that Kabushenga left behind were lacking politically. “Museveni wants a person that understands how politics in Uganda is played and most especially NRM politics,” he said, adding that Museveni has helped to push the Group to financial independence yet editors there seem not to appreciate it.  

However, other minds are waiting to see how Wanyama will balance between professionalism and the desires of Museveni at VG, more that the company is a public limited company even though the government owns 80 percent of the shares. It is listed on the local burse, Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

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