President Yoweri Museveni has created countless gatekeepers to stop what can be described as political corruption.
So much that one can justifiably earn parole and acquittal for losing count of those gatekeepers.
Despite the president earning the global fame as well as accolade for launching and winning a war of guns in a record of five years using what had been a rag-tag army.
Such a famous military tsar he has been for the last three decades puzzlingly failed to win the war against corruption.
Despite dismissing them as good-for-nothing being admittedly harsh, but a person with a brute sense of humor can be excused were he or she to use such adjective to describe those the president has been paying to stop the political leeches in vain.
The political leeches have proved to be blood-thirsty vampires of massive proportions. So much so that the feared combatant in Kaguta has had to resort to desperate means such as walking.
In the hope that such would scare away what has been an endemic problem for his government for as long as he has presided over Uganda.
One can, frankly speaking, fill up a number of books with the mega financial sleazes the political leeches have been able to infamously pull off under the watch and gaze of the countless gatekeepers the president has been erecting and generously rewarding using public funds to stop them.
A few will suffice in the interest of time and space. There was first and foremost, the infamous looting of the Luweero triangle post-war rehabilitation funds.
Those funds had been placed under– what else?– the Prime Minister’s office. That was under the direct supervision and management of the departed Dr. Samson Mululumubi Kisekka.
Grilled about the whereabouts of what he had been entrusted with to use to fix the mess, Museveni and his group had conspired to create in Luweero triangle, the former wordsmith retorted without a trace of shame in his eyes how he had eaten the money.
And that he had done that since he had been himself one of the orphans of the Luweero liberation war. And yet one of his names, Mululumubi, unambiguously warns about the dangers of gluttony!
As if to prove that neither had the government learned nor had forgotten anything from such round of callous looting, another bunch of huge funds allocated to rehabilitate the war-ravaged northern part of the country, would too end up in the bottomless stomachs of the highly connected political leeches.
Those funds had been code-named by the government as Northern Uganda Action Fund (NUSAF One) and Northern Uganda Action Fund (NUSAF Two).
The political leeches in government have been so heartless and callous that not only have they stopped at only that, but have daringly gone ahead to gobble up what has been budgeted to buy drugs for HIV plus malaria sufferers and to procure drugs for COVID-19.
Billions of funds budgeted for use for defense and security purposes have too not been spared by the same parasites either.
Talk here of billions of funds that those leeches made off with, including ones that Dr. Kizza Besigye jokingly christened as the Belarus junk military choppers. Not to forget the equally disturbingly infamous deal to supply undersized military uniforms.
Consequent to that and in addition to quite a number of related scams not mentioned here, just a few Ugandans got could have previously probably thoroughly got shocked to learn that what the government had allocated to the poor in Karamoja to use to roof their mud and wattle Manyattas and to rear to get some money. Right.
That the same had been diverted to roofing sheds for cows belonging to the financially well-off political leeches. And or to learn that some of the relief items had been turned over to the mothers and relatives of the Ministers charged with distribution of the same to the vulnerable recipients.
Permit yours truly to use that background to launch into the real topic at hand.
As the president continues to claim absence of evidence to use to punish financial sleaze, God has been so generous that he has once again presented the same in form of the diverted Mabaati and goats meant for the poor Karimoajong.
The second opportunity God has presented the president with to use to clamp down on the political leeches, is the diversion of what was supposed to be public land at Naguru.
Fortunately enough, the National Assembly has since done its part. This, by duly censuring Persis Namuganza, the minister at the center of the scam. Minister Namuganza denies all allegations of mismanaging Naguru land, and insists that the censure plot was a vendetta against her and her husband for nullifying the civil marriage documents of Speaker Anet Anita Among and her beau Moses Magogo, also an MP.
What is being awaited by the country and the world at large currently, is not for the President to merely bark. Neither for him to walk on the streets, but to go ahead and swing the axe.
In order to send out a clear message out there that diverting items meant for the poor, can earn someone very painful consequences.
The same can be stated in respect of Betty Amongi Akena. Amongi is for those not aware, the Gender, Labor and Social Development Minister.
Amongi’s troubles stem from her supervisory role in respect of the National Social Security Fund – NSSF. She stands accused of attempting to appropriate what Parliament states was an irregular budget worth Uganda shillings six billion from the NSSF coffers.
Amongi states that money wasn’t supposed to go into her account, but that it was rather meant to boost the workers’ savings by an additional two hundred billions from the untapped savers.
Yet her accusers respond with what they claim are measures already in place at NSSF and a budget already in place too to carry out exactly what Amongi had budgeted for.
Granted, neither has Namuganza nor Among been declared guilty already as alleged by any competent court anywhere in Uganda.
Neither have they been yet fully investigated by the concerned authorities. Such as the CID, the IGG, the Chief government Auditor and such.
Yet nothing of the kind that has been mentioned above can stop the appointing authority from using his powers to at least suspend the two ministers in the meantime.
Karamoja Mabaati, goats
Enter the presently trending Mabaati and goats relief diversion scam.
At the center of all this is Gorreti Kitutu, the Karamoja Senior Minister and the supervisor of how these items were supposed to be distributed.
Kitutu saw the light pretty quickly and owned up. But she continues to argue how she was never guided about how to handle the distribution of the relief items.
That one can be treated as an afterthought. In any case, she doesn’t go ahead to tell us who she says hadn’t guided her.
Such a dubious defense and in light of her apology, can be used as a good justification by the appointing authority to suspend her from office.
There is another one, Finance State Minister, Amos Lugoloobi. He was caught red handed with the Karamoja mabaati upon the shed for his cows.
Despite Ibrahim Ssemujju calling him a good man. But who got soiled by joining what he brands as the thieves in government.
Ssemujju goes on to state all the same that Lugoloobi should have taken himself to Luzira yesterday.
“This one need not to have wasted his time by waiting for his detention order,” said the Kira Municipality’s lawmaker, apparently making light of a graver matter.
Mzee Matia Kasaija
The Finance Minister, looking to escape fault, states how he merely found the impugned mabaati in his compound.
Yet he doesn’t goes on to state the fact that items were unmistakably branded as mabaati for the Karimojong.
What all he says is that no one can reject free things. What this would imply is that even if such things have been stolen in the first place. The elder from Bunyoro can’t reject them.
As Minister of Finance and the custodian of all public funds, Minister Kasaija, ought to have known, therefore, that what the money he had released was meant to buy mabaati for Karimojong, not for him.
Robinah Nabbanja Musafiri, the Prime Minister, looks to be not wholly clean either.
The Karamoja lawmakers share this view as a block. Faith Nakut is one of them. She is the treasurer of the ruling NRM parliament caucus.
But that doesn’t intimidate her. Neither does it stop her when it comes to speaking out her mind in regard to this issue.
Primier Nabbanja on the other hand, out to take full political responsibility in her capacity as the leader of government business for all that went wrong in regard to these relief items,” the lioness of Karamoja roars.
Nabbanja, should, Nakuti insists: “Kindly step out …instead of waiting for the President to push her out.”
The professional accountant justifies herself, by noting that the performance of previous Prime Ministers has been degenerating over time, to the detriment of Karamoja.
So! Consequent to that, Nakuti and her counterparts from Karamoja ask the President to quickly fire just anyone starting with the Prime Minister herself.
She proposes to the president as a midpoint, to transfer Nabbanja and her group elsewhere in case he still wants them to serve under his government.
Turning to Karamoja’s Senior Minister, the humorous Nakuti remarks: “To my friend Gorreti Kitutu, I applaud you for your apology. Thanks indeed,” Nakut starts off
But quickly toughens by stating that: “But you should quickly go ahead and follow up your apology with actual resignation as the Minister of Karamoja.”
Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda enters the fury. The Kira municipality cantekerous lawmaker starts off by quickly questioning Nabbanja’s competence.
He repeats his claim about how Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s Prime Minister can’t measure up to the task of being the CEO of a private company.
The last time Ssemujju stated so, Nabbanja offered to undress and generously offer her whatever it is he has ever asked from her and she never offered it to him.
But the talkative but shy Ssemujju instead cowered away in light of Nabbanja’s promised freebies.
Listen now to what Ssemujju states about Nabbanja in his own words. “If she ( Nabbanja) can’t manage being the CEO of a private company. Give me a break. She can’t be expected then to measure up to the daunting task of being the leader of the government business.”
Ssemujju then goes for his usual nemesis. For bragging about what Ssemujju calls his (president’s) fishers in cabinet, the veteran journalist tauts Gen Museveni to now accept to take full political responsibility for their failings and scams.
Moving fast forward to the NSSF sleaze involving the savers’ funds supervising minister, we have already dwelt already with Betty Amongi elsewhere in these pages.
Parliament had also since called for the suspension of both Richard Byarugaba and Patrick Ayota, formerly the MD of NSSF and his successor in that order plus some top managers there.
That is on account of what Parliament treats as the abuse of workers’ funds, highly inflated land and construction deals plus use of nepotism during the workers recruitment processes.
Found at fault too is former Workers MP, Dr. Sam Lyomoki and his lawyer friend, Penninah Tukamwesigye.
Lyomoki is said to have irregularly brought Penninah into the NSSF board where both would go on to irregularly sit and earn fat allowances until after the National Assembly’s intervention just a few days back.
Lyomoki stands accused further of falsely luring the top managers at NSSF to release to him– but through COFTU–, a workers union, a cool Uganda shillings one billion.
That was under the cover of being cash to facilitate Lyomoki and COFTU’s supervision of the workers funds at NSSF. But that was obviously a clear case of conflict of interest and influence peddling.
Since Lyomoki couldn’t be ideally expected to be paid by NSSF top managers for supervising them. Let alone to do a good job after being paid by those he was expected to supervise.
Neither was he in those circumstances, expected to offer accountability to those he was supposed to supervise in respect of the money they had given him to supervise them.
Fortunately enough, COFTU’s top leadership have since ejected Lyomoki out of the workers’ union alongside his Penninah.
What is now being awaited is the President to direct the relevant authorities to properly and fully investigate Lyomoki and Penninah with the view to prosecuting them in courts of law and to have them also refund whatever coin they could have falsely taken out of NSSF.
Let’s wind up by reiterating that these scams present the President with a very, very good opportunity to use to punish financial sleazes or to ignore and be accused of inaction and conspiracy of silence.