The thing about Ugandan politics- and other non-political spaces- is that when there is that one person in office, you cannot think of anyone else who would step in their shoes later. It is a combination of ignorance of the system (where we don’t know who else is involved and qualified to do the job) and a personalization of the state that makes positions more about an individual than the job.
This is the only explanation that I can come up with for the regrettable piece that I wrote when Allen Kagina retired. I had gone into a panic about who would replace her. It is of course not a position set aside for women, but despite the visibility of women executives around, there are still more men running this town.
Allen Kagina had been the Commissioner General for URA (Uganda Revenue Authority), the country’s tax body, since November 2004. Replacing Annebrit Aslund, a Swedish expatriate, Kagina joined at a difficult time- after the Ssebutinde Report 2004. She took on a mass restructuring of URA, with lessons from the report. When we spoke of women in authority, we spoke of women like Allen Kagina. During her time as tax boss, Kagina had reduced corruption at URA, increased domestic revenue drastically and the body was borrowing less to finance its budget.
Luckily the panic was for naught, there was Doris Akol to replace her. Doris Akol, before the appointment in October last year, was Commissioner Legal Services and Board Affairs of the Uganda Revenue Authority. Akol went straight to work, visiting traders in Kikuubo and figuring out how to further widen Uganda’s tax base.
I want to be fair to all genders… but I must admit, I kind of like this URA succession.