The freshly re-appointed Executive Director of the Uganda Media Centre Ofwono Opondo is a man of hat tricks. Not only does he wear three big hats ED of UMC, Government Spokesman and also chief publicist of the ruling NRM party, OO is the third ED of the media centre who has now been handed a third term by his boss, the president.
Effective July 1st 2019, OO kicks off his third contract after completing the previous two, from 2013 to 2016 and 2016 to 2019. He took the job from the second ED Fred Opolot who replaced the pioneer ED Robert Kabushenga.
The re-appointment re-affirms the confidence President Museveni has in OO to speak for the NRM government, a job he will now hold through the 2021 elections until June 30 2022.
There maybe several reasons why Museveni has decided to keep OO through the coming rumble of 2021 but there are three that stick out for earning the man his hat trick.
Ofwono Opondo is completely loyal to the three entities: President, the Government and the Party. Very few people among those who are senior to OO have all three attributes in combination. Unlike most big people whose loyalty can be explained either from historical, ethnic, financial or many other factors, OO’s loyalty is a given, and his boss has obviously confirmed it.
He may not be very religious but OO lives by the Biblical teaching in Luke 3: 14 “Be content with your pay”. Unlike some other long-standing members of the high echelons of the state and the party, OO is not known to have profiteered from his position and proximity to the president. He is not among those who ‘sell’ connections to state house like a few who have even been prosecuted for it. Yet OO no doubt has access. One time during a talk show featuring some security chiefs an argument arose about the build-up to the Kasese crisis. Giving some clarification of the matter, OO disclosed that he and one general were the last persons the president communicated with before giving the key instructions. President Museveni is extremely security conscious. He knows that people with an affinity for easy money are susceptible being influenced by the enemies. He may have many such, but the ones he trusts more are those who are not money hungry.
OO knows Uganda’s history and politics like the back of his hand. He holds his own with ease in any situation. He makes short work of Museveni’s opponents. With knowledge comes confidence. OO is thus objective and openly critical of corrupt tendencies among the NRM officials and infesting its institutions. He tells off Members of Parliament for seeking excessive privileges. When the need arises, he even criticizes his boss, like he did during the oil handshake. When he does, he has no fear of being misunderstood, for his record, efficiency and loyalty are secure in the president’s mind.