AGNES NANDUTU: Was she a victim of circumstance or used and dumped?

Having served as a journalist for over 20 years, Nandutu seems to have met her times of uncertainty and danger, after joining the field of politics in which she has served for only 3 years.


In a swift and unexpected turn of events, the tenure of state minister for Karamoja Affairs Agnes Nandutu has come to an abrupt end, marking a stark conclusion to what was anticipated as a promising term.

Serving just 3 years in office, Nandutu was relieved of her duties by the president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, amidst mounting controversies regarding the iron sheets scandal charges she is battling in court.

Appointed with much fanfare in 2021 after winning the Bududa District woman MP seat, Nandutu entered office with ambitious plans and a vision for reform. However, her time in the ministerial role was fraught with challenges and setbacks, ultimately culminating in what one may call her dismissal, reflecting on Mr. Museveni’s promise to handle the iron sheets scandal politically.

Having served as a journalist for over 20 years, Nandutu seems to have met her times of uncertainty and danger, after joining the field of politics in which she has served for only 3 years.

In 2022, she fell out with leaders of the National Unity Platform Party (NUP), when scoffed at the party’s initiative to donate food relief to the starving people of Karamoja, it was just for cheap popularity.

She explained that the government does things systematically, adding that by the time NUP sent food relief to the region, there was already food in Karamoja.

“NUP can’t even do 0.00% of what we did in Karamoja. There is no longer a crisis in Karamoja because we are now in charge. We have a strategic plan to ensure that there is food security in the region,” she said during the NBS Face Off show on one Sunday evening.

In April last year, at least more than 20 ministers and about 35 legislators across the country were facing the heat over the Karamoja irons sheets, with the government struggling to save face over the scandal.

After days of eluding police in the same year, the then-state Minister for Karamoja Affairs, later on turned up at the police Criminal Investigations Department for questioning. She was later charged and committed to the High Court for trial on charges of dealing with suspect property contrary to section 21A(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009.

The court heard that during June 2022 at the Office of the Prime Minister’s Stores in Namanve and Kkola Cell Bulwanyi Parish Mukono District, Nandutu dealt with government property that is 2,000 prepainted iron sheets Gauge 28 by receiving and holding the said iron sheets.

According to the prosecution, Nandutu had reason to believe the iron sheets were acquired as a result of loss of public property, an offense under section 10 of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2000 as amended.

Despite denying the charges, Nandutu was denied bail and remanded to Luzira Prison up to May 3rd, 2023. She continued trying in several ways to fight back, but her case is still pending in the anti-corruption court.

The Anti-Corruption Court also in May dismissed an application in which Nandutu had requested to halt her trial. Lady Justice Jane Okuo Kajuga ruled against Nandutu’s request to forward her case to the Constitutional Court for an interpretation of the charges, questioning whether her right to a fair hearing would be infringed upon. Nandutu faces charges of dealing with suspect property, as alleged by the prosecution.

Of late, On Monday, March 18, 2024, the Anti-Corruption Court presided over by Justice Jane Okuo Kajuga, admitted in court a certified copy of the scene of crime report Indicating the number of iron sheets recovered from Nandutu’s farm, located in Mukono district after Mubiru testified against Nandutu.

Commenting about reshuffle

While speaking to journalists today commenting on the cabinet reshuffle where she was dropped, Agnes Nandutu expressed gratitude to President Museveni for the chance to serve in the cabinet despite being dropped.

“I just want to thank the head of this country, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, for the opportunity he gave me to serve at the highest level of government as a cabinet minister. Am grateful and thank him for that opportunity,” she said.

She explained that while many people saw nothing in her, Museveni saw something in her, and appointed her to be one of the 100 important people in this country.

In events that also followed today, the former State minister for Karamoja was barred from addressing journalists at the Office of the Prime Minister. She had scheduled a news briefing at OPM for 11 am following the Cabinet Reshuffle on Thursday evening.

Nandutu, who is facing corruption and abuse of office-related charges over her involvement in the theft of iron sheets for Karimojong, was replaced in Cabinet with Florence Nambozo Wamala.

“Nandutu is no longer a minister,” security at the Twin Towers (OPM office) told journalists who insisted they had a scheduled news briefing.

Addressing journalists at Parliament, Nandutu asked for pardon from President Museveni and pledged to support the NRM manifesto from the backbench.

On the earlier events at OPM, she told this website that she had not informed security of the scheduled presser and that is why they acted in that manner.

Nandutu lost her office as state minister for Karamoja together with her former senior Mary Gorreti Kitutu.


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