KAMPALA, Uganda: The Opposition members are spitting fire after Kampala successfully negotiated a fresh three thousand hundred and six hundred billion debt from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to fight the Corona Virus, The Investigator reports.
These people in opposition don’t see the wisdom in handing Kampala a new Corona financial kitty yet there isn’t much on the ground to show for the four thousand and six hundred dollars secured from local and foreign sources previously. “You can’t trust a hyena with keeping goat’s meat. That will be asking for too much from the meat fanatic,” remarks Harold Kaija.
Kaija is the spokesperson of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, an upshot of the Reform Agenda, founded by Dr. Warren Kiiza Besigye Kifeefe. He stood for the Kampala Central Parliamentary seat and lost to Mohamed Nsereko Mutumba, the so-called NRM rebel MP.
Kaija submits that if we had put to good use, or spent sparingly, the four thousand and six hundred billion shillings government secured from abroad and from within the country, we wouldn’t be running up and down at the present, looking for more money to fight the current lethal Corona strain.
“Museveni’s regime was given 4600Bn shillings previously, why did he ask for 3600Bn again,” Kaija asks. He states how, if the money had not been mishandled, the country would be boasting of a much better health system as opposed to the sorry state it is at the present.
“The intensive care units would be fully equipped. We wouldn’t be mourning about the lack of oxygen. And the private health centers wouldn’t be making a kill, milking Ugandans suffering from the virus,” he avers.
The Auditor General in a report filed following the disbursement and use of the first Corona cash, points out staggering procurement breaches on part of government agencies and officials which led to disappearance of billions of the relief.
Auditing honcho, John Muwanga reveals how government officials would purportedly pay for services and goods which ended up arriving months later, at best, or never came at all, at worst.
Tale in town has it that most of the mushrooming fancy shopping malls and structures in Kampala and suburbs, are constructed with money scammed off the initial Corona kitty.
Government promised to take action against whoever messed up with the money meant for fighting Corona, after scrutinizing the audit report fully. DP’s Eng. Richard Ssebamala, the proverbial David who, downed senior citizen, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, the former Vice President, joins the conversation.
Also a Civil Engineer, the new MP from Bukoto Central in Kyanamukaaka – Masaka district, kicks off his contribution by labelling Tibuhaburwa’s regime a ‘couple of thieves’. “They see each and every misfortune as an opportunity to steal public money.” He suggests that other than leaving the latest loan money from IMF in hands of ‘thieves’, the dimes should be used to vaccinate all Ugandans.
“If all Ugandans are vaccinated, we would be good to return to work in two weeks’ time,” the DP man submits. With Ugandans back at work, Ssebamala lectures, they will be able to pay taxes, helping the economy to pick up, as well as save government the financial burden of doling out alms to people currently locked at home.
Enter Finance Shadow Minister, Muwanga Kivumbi. The eloquent economist from Butambala in Mpigi district, starts off by educating how borrowing isn’t such a bad thing as it is often portrayed to be. Every country on earth….even America borrows.
“However, what makes borrowing a bad thing, is the failure by the borrower to put the loan to good use and to manage the debt well,” says the MP, who also wears another hat of the chairman of the Buganda caucus in parliament, elucidates.
Revealing how Uganda has since surpassed the borrowing ceiling, with no hope of clearing its huge debt in the near foreseeable future, Kivumbi questions the intentions of IMF and other international financers, who keep throwing debts to Kampala.
Trying to answer why the international financers continue to lend more money to governments in Africa burdened by debts already, Kivumbi says those money lenders want Africans not to learn to work hard and as such keep going to them for more money.
“The more we borrow and fail to pay for years on end, the more the lenders make super profits in accumulated interest, penalties and other charges. The principal loans themselves remain unpaid and continue to attract more and more interest and other charges with each passing year,” Kivumbi points outs.
Moving to Corona, Kivumbi calls it a small problem for Uganda. “What is killing us is incompetence and looting of funds,” he offers. He proceeds to give examples why he thinks the killer of Ugandans is incompetence and looting of public money.
“Government released money to a child of a big man to buy an oxygen plant, that child stole the money. Government didn’t punish her. And here we are dying of Corona because we don’t have enough oxygen,” Kivumbi asserts. He adds that when good Samaritans pooled resources for the buying of ambulances, the big people in government bought four-wheel drive pickups instead.
“We are now lacking enough ambulances for transporting people sick with Corona to health centers. But can a four wheel drive pickup turn into an ambulance”? The man from NUP, asks.
Carrying on with the submission on this issue, Kivumbi reveals how big people in government chose to purchase pickups worth fifty thousand dollars yet they fully knew of pickups of the same make, selling for as low as thirty thousand dollars.
“Government convinced Parliament that Namboole would be upgraded and equipped with beds and oxygen to be able to handle Corona patients. Nothing meaningful was done in that line yet money was picked from the consolidated fund,” Kivumbi submits.
Turning to the one trillion supplementary budget the defense ministry secured from Parliament, Kivumbi asks why some of that money can’t be diverted to health for use to fight corona. “Guns don’t kill Corona. We are not at war with any country currently. The invisible enemy we are faced with is Corona. Why don’t we transfer some of the money from defense to that cause?”
In his parting remarks, Kivumbi says, if he were the President of Uganda, he would have spent the fifty three billion shillings government is set to give to vulnerable people, to buy seeds of fast growing crops together with fertilizers and herbicides. “The one hundred thousand shillings is pitiful really. Rain is coming in two months, I would have bought seeds, fertilizers, and herbicides for people to grow food for their sustenance,” he winds up.
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