The rise of Senior Citizen Dr Omona, President Museveni’s Principal private secretary.
Until his appointment as the Principal Private Secretary to the President, many knew Dr Kenneth Omona Olusegun as just a National Resistance Movement (NRM) party Young Turk.
Born on August 16, 1974, in Kaberamaido District in Teso Sub-region in eastern Uganda, the soft-spoken Dr Omona betrays his persona and history – laden with a humble upbringing by parents who had migrated from Acholi to Teso in the 1960s.
First, the former NRM deputy treasurer does not look his age, and yet for his 45 years on earth he has already been up to this and that. Second, the energy with which he speaks about the ruling party does not show on his face.
When a local journalist sought him for an interview upon his appointment as PPS , Dr Omona preferred an extensive chat, saying he was already in a meeting.
The father of two came to the position after a series of female principal secretaries to the President. Before him were Sserwanga Lwanga, Amelia Kyambadde, Grace Akello, Mary Amajo, and Molly Kamukama, among others.
Dr Omona attended Kaberamaido Secondary School for O-Level, Teso College Aloet for A-Level, then went for a diploma in medicine at the Mbale School of Clinical Officers. He would later upgrade from Makerere University.
Dr Omona had been in politics for as long as he can remember – rising from a timekeeper to assistant head prefect in primary school. While in Mbale, he contested the guild presidency but lost and also chased the vote in vain for multiparty dispensation.
It is in the eastern town that he built his love for the NRM, campaigning for President Museveni and later galvanising it in the Acholi Students Association, which later played a pivotal in meeting the President in 2008.
In recent times, no political or public officer has been appointed and is overwhelmingly welcomed by people of all walks of life and all shades of opinion like the new Principal Private Secretary to the
President Dr. Kenneth Olusegun Omona.
In the entire new cabinet and government reshuffle, whether on radio and TV talk shows or phone-in programs, on electronic and social media, almost everybody was happy with the appointment of Dr. Omona.
NRM historicals and veterans, senior and junior cadres and mobilizers and even members of the Opposition including DP President General Norbert Mao and former Secretary General Dr. Lulume Bayiga, could castigate others but not Omona whom they referred to as a loyalist to the President and the system.
The appointment of Dr. Omona found him in Acholi sub-region, where he had been deployed for 10 days as a Regional Supervisor, overseeing mobilization of the people to register as voters by Independent
Dr. Omona started working as PPS on the Christmas New Year holiday when he featured at the President meeting with the former Premier Amama Mbabazi at Kisozi farm in Maddu Sub County, Gomba District on eve of New Year Day. He was handed over the office on Friday, January 3rd, 2020.
Dr. Omona can be called a “Kadogo” at the final stage of the liberation of Uganda by the National Resistance Movement/Army (NRM/NRA). Unlike the “Kadogos” (young soldiers) of Luwero Triangle who had lost parents in the five-year people’s protracted war, Omona volunteered as an “LDU” when the NRA reached his home Kaberamaido district in pursuing the fleeing Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) in Teso sub-region, North Eastern Uganda.
Dr. Omona is a son of now Kaberamaido Town Council) a multi-ethnic place in Uganda on 16th of August 1974 to Acholi parents with four siblings Omona has a very high sense of responsibility and self-esteem.
Although Kaberamaido is in the Teso sub-region, it is culturally autonomous as Kumam ethnicity. It pioneered in the recruitment of FRONASA rebels under now-President Yoweri Museveni in seventies in
fighting Idi Amin dictatorship and no wonder, Dr. Omona is the third from the sub-region as PPS as one of his predecessors Mary Amajo, now Senior Presidential Advisor, was from the same region replacing Grace Akello, again from the same region.
Grace Akello was the Chairperson of Presidential Commission on Teso which ended the insurgency waged by Uganda People’s Army (UPA) rebels led by Peter Otai, who has just passed on in London aging 81 years, a former Minister of State for Defence under Obote ll.
Today, Dr. Omona heads the Private Office and Household of H.E the President as the Principal Private Secretary (PPS) who is the overall coordinator, supervisor, and manager of the related staff and functional units. All heads of related units, as well as private secretaries, report to the PPS.
“I have come to work with you individually, departmentally and institutionally. Let us build our strength towards working for the development of Uganda,” he said while calling on the staff of State House to work diligently and maintain at all times the positive image of the country by fulfilling all their tasks.
Dr. Omona thanked President Museveni for giving him the opportunity to serve the Presidency and the country and congratulated the outgoing PPS for her successful tour of duty.
“I want to give assurances that I have come to work with all of you in both your strengths and weaknesses for the achievements of all of us leveraging on the strength of all of us. This institution has got high responsibilities and requires teamwork and a high level of coordination and discipline to build synergy. We must keep re-examining the tasks we have joyfully and painfully to uphold the values of the institution of the Presidency,” he said.
Omona, is also a former Member of Parliament for Kaberamaido County.
He told a local newspaper in an interview in 2014: “I finally met the President 2008 after the last occurrence of LRA in Teso with Kachama Muhammad. I told the President we wanted to go and fight and quoted the Constitution that we had a right to fight and it was his obligation as president to support us. He was in shock and said; “Omona, let’s go slow” and the rest is history.”