KAMPALA, Uganda: Listening to the Shs6bn oil cash bonanza’s Parliament probe committee (COSASE) is when you get to know how bold thieves can be. The devil must have pitched camp in Uganda. Indeed the many youth working at Nasser and Nkrumah roads in the printing industry get even more squinted eyes when they hear a person who photocopied the documents, as saying, she received Ushs30M! Indeed the devil is a liar.
Even the prophets, especially those with the miraculous rice of Shs50, 000 a kilo, failed to see that! It is sad that many are running in circles and cannot substantiate as to why they were paid that money. Maybe the prophets need to see this! ‘For God and my country’ is our motto as a nation but again listening to what they say makes one wonder; what a hell is the meaning of that motto!
As if that was not enough, schools (even the government ones) have fees of 4500 shillings but the development fund, centenary fund, PTA fund and others can total to over Shs1.4M. If you doubt that, ask any parent or guardian of St. Henry Kitovu and other prominent schools in the land. I call them the ‘first class schools’ especially for the corrupt and public funds embezzlers.
Just as the parents and guardians were settling for less, the Minister of education and sports, Hon. Kataha Janet Museveni told them that the government has no money for the sanitary wears (pads) for their dear female students! How unfair life can be for any Ugandan! At the moment you hear that, one indeed thinks of the infamous Presidential handshake.
Those who were in Namutumba, Busoga expected the presidential handshake but hell broke loose when nearly nothing was given out by the number one citizen. Based on the nurtured culture of beggar mentality as the poor are many due to the erratic and unimplemented government policies; as even those in place are weakened further by the systemic corruption in the country.
With a sad analysis too, listening to Ms. Syson Ainembabazi (one of the beneficiaries of the handshake; URA staff) makes one even choke on air to inhale. She argues that she doesn’t remember those trips she made to London, UK. Indeed I can only say these are the real freedom fighters or liberators we have today.
As if Ms. Ainembabazi has not treated us to this hilarious money bonanza, you hear of the Solicitor General, Francis Atoke, (who received Shs129M saying he did not know the Bank account from which the money came from! That’s pure utopia financial reasoning in this context.
But anyway he’s a Ugandan, and such answers are expected depending on who asks for them. I remember one freedom fighter, Jim Muhwezi who asked Justice Ogoola where he was when they were fighting in the bush. Ogoola nearly asked again what the then minister had said but in comparison, either Ainembabazi or Atoke are saying the same sentence to the COSASE committee!
Even at that, the moment the former MP of Nakawa and Attorney General, Fredrick Ruhindi told the committee that; “President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was the one who initiated the idea of rewarding people.” Now from that explanation, that’s the sole reason why this so called need to recover that Shs6Bn is a financial myth!
The COSASE committee however braggadocios and hard-hitting Hon. Abdu Katuntu and his colleagues (Members of parliament) now have been showed the exit to that. Nothing can be done beyond that, the moment it heads to the number one citizen in the land.
Besides that, many investigations over financial scandals (losses) or corruption scandals at that have always been part of the Ugandan political elites. They swallow public funds in the name of the devil and always earmark public losses.
Why not forget and move on?
However, why do we have to cry for the 6 billion this time round given to 42 Ugandans yet Mr. Hassan Basajjabalaba was given over 20 billion to invest in his businesses. The chain of businesses he had meant a lot to the president and recommended his rescue but nothing was fruitful later. Then, why do we cry and harass these citizens who received the golden presidential handshake? Let’s dig a big in Basajjabalaba and his financial scandals in Uganda.
When Basajjabalaba was given the Shs142 billion; Bank of Uganda (BoU) was pursuing him over forgery of land titles which the central bank was holding in connection with an earlier cash bail-out of over Shs20 billion advanced to the businessman.
Whereas Basajjabalaba had deposited the titles as security; he reportedly managed to get them cancelled and new ones issued by the Land Registry, which were then transferred to new owners. That Shs142 billion compensation to him by the government accumulated as a result of reversing of the then Kampala City Council Authority decision to sell Nakasero, Shauriyako, St Balikuddembe (Owino) markets and the Constitution Square to Mr. Basajjabalaba.
In Uganda things happen in way we seem to talk about them now and we leave them there. Can anyone of you imagine that one can propose to buy the “constitutional square” or even patenting the “Uganda Airlines name?”
In the same context therefore, we must all look at the presidential handshake as something which has happened in the normal Uganda. With time, Ugandans will forget it as if nothing happened just like the examples above and others like “Temangalo’, CHOGM money, Global and GAVI funds” and among others. With the tumultuous militaristic history we have had in this country, much of these corrupt officials might have learned something in our past; but for them, they definitely learned nothing. Many of them don’t believe that the regime can change one day and they can be made to vomit the loot.