ALL MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT-KAMPALA-UGANDA ALL CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS-UGANDA ALL RELIGIOUS LEADERS –UGANDA.
In the Gospel of St. Mathew, without fear or favour to the powers that were existing at that time , Jesus warned the crowds and his disciples against the hypocrisy and vanity of the scribes ( politicians and public civil servants )and the Pharisees (religious leaders) in the words :“The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore observe what they tell you, but do not be guided by what they do since they do not practice what they preach (say).”
Fellow leaders , Jesus was castigating the leaders that: It is not enough to recall principles ,laws, write manifestos, state intentions, programmes and policies, make heavenly promises, point to crying injustices and falsehoods and utter prophetic denunciations; these words will lack real weight unless they are accompanied for each individual by effective patriotic action. We must walk the talk. Often times some of us leaders, either out of negative and primitive fear or being compromised, we have not walked the talk or our silence, indifferentism or fear is slowly but surely mortgaging our country. Whenever some of us gather courage and speak, we soon or later contradict ourselves either because of sycophancy, intimidation; bribe, patronage and dishonesty .We must courageously overcome these sins if we have to save our pearl of Africa (Uganda).
Fellow leaders. On the eve of Uganda’s Independence Golden Jubilee Anniversary Celebrations, President Museveni, during the prayer service at Namboole Stadium, publicly repented for his sins and sins of other leaders both past and present. I do not know whether God listened to his prayers and if he did, whether he forgave him because things are becoming unbearable day after day. During the prayer service , he religiously cited a litany of sins but forgot others , which are more mortal than those he enumerated, and these are: Greed for power, breach of contract, bribery ,expropriation ,primitive arrogance , impunity ,deception duplicity ,intimidation ,theft , inconsistency ,land grabbing, sycophancy , balkanization of Uganda into tribal districts, blackmail, bad governance, bad leadership, possessiveness ,fear to do good, indifferentism, divide and rule, institutionalizing an individual and individualizing an institution, inconsiderate, favouritism, insensibility ,double standards, patronage, insincerity, kleptomania, dishonesty, manipulation, nepotism, suppression, torture, beackery, aggrandizement, pride, intolerance, extravagance , bigotry, abusive language, despotism and others.
All the sins cited above, plus those cited by the President, are morally, politically, socially and spiritually deleterious and lethal to humanity and they are being committed in our presence just before our eyes. What have we done to counteract them? All these sins are manufactured by the devil and we are supposed to fight the devil and his agents. So by keeping quiet are we not conniving with the devil in destroying Uganda? Are we not the devil’s agents? Are we not colluding with the devil in oppressing the oppressed? Here I salute those MPS , Religious Leaders and CSOs who have courageously and patriotically refused and rejected all forms of intimidation, blackmail, and bribery and stood up steadfastly with the suffering and downtrodden. These are the honest few who still have the courage and the spirit of patriotism, to tell the emperor that he is naked. These people are not the enemies of Uganda, NRM and indeed President Museveni as some powers are trying to portray them. I honestly believe that the worst enemies of Uganda, NRM and Museveni are those MPs ,Ministers ,Advisors and lamentably and egregiously some Religious Leaders ,who know the truth and see things going amiss, almost in all sectors of life, but fear to speak out because of either opportunitism, sycophancy, sectarianism or egomaniacs .These are the enemies of Uganda and humanity. They neither love Uganda nor believe in Uganda!
Among the sins cited above, I have chosen to comment on DISHONESTY because of the nasty and horrendous saga, in the office of the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, surrounding the PS Mr Pius Bigirimana. According to Concise Oxford Thesaurus Dictionary, other words for DISHONESTY are: fraudulence, corruption, cheating, chicanery, double dealing, deception, duplicity, falsity, craft, trickery, artifice, underhandedness, subterfuge, skulduggery and criminality. If any leader degenerates to the level of being DISHONESTY, it means that his /her moral character and integrity are seriously questionable and doubtful. On 1st November, 2012, Members of Parliament, under the good and able stewardship of Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, overwhelmingly voted to have Bigirimana kicked out over the scam that has since seen the country suffer aid cuts. It is my hope and prayer that this time our Mps will remain united and resolute in resisting all forms of intimidation, partisan and bribery ,be it at State House , Rwakitura or anywhere else, as it has been happening with some selfish and greedy MPs from the ruling Party. Other leaders like Religious and Civil Society Organizations must come out in the open cohesively and be counted to give encouragement and support to our MPs, and where necessary, criticize and lambaste them for the good of our Country. On the scandal in the OPM, nobody should be deceived that the unethical behaviour in OPM is with PS Mr Pius Bigirimana only.
There are many and more powerful and influential Bigirimanas and these are the real problem of Uganda not only Bigirimana the PS. These powerful Bigirimanas are his god-father who are determined to defend him come what may and at any cost. In shielding Bigirimana, they are shielding themselves In a similar manner we should be prepared, as leaders, to tenaciously stand together as compatriots and patriots to defend our poor and vulnerable people of Uganda especially those from the great North whose money was indecorously swindled. Our political leaders and their cohorts are very insensitive and callous .Mr. President and Rt. Hon Amama Mbabazi.
Why can’t Bigirimana be interdicted? How about the former PS of Health Ms Mary Nannono? PS of Local Government Mr Kashaka and PS Ministry of Public Service Mr Lwanafa. Are these less Ugandan and less PS? By the way what happened to PS Kagodo of the IDs? Is he protecting and shielding some people?
President Museveni is reported to have said that he cannot interdict Bigirimana because he is a whistle-blower and therefore a state witness. Who, among his advisors advised him that if Bigirimana is interdicted he ceases to be a state witness? If he was a whistle-blower, as President Museveni wants us to believe, why did Bigirimana try to control attempts, therefore to interfere, by CID to interrogate him and other officers? Bigiriman’s stay in office is a well calculated move of hiding and concealing some vital information! Then for the Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, he is quoted to have stated that Bigirimana cannot be interdicted because there is nothing in the Auditor General’s report that incriminates him. May be the PM has not read the AG’S report ;and if he read it then he was preoccupied with many things that he did not understand it; and if he understood it then he is a liar to say that in AG’s report there is nothing incriminating Bigirimana. I am happy to reproduce the experts of the AG report where Bigirimana is implicated and therefore has a case to answer. “Among other findings, the Auditor General report graphically demonstrates that Bigirimana is directly and personally responsible for the following offences.
Without seeking clearance from the Ministry of Finance, and without any approved work plans, he personally approved payment of Sh 15.5b out of the 20.1b which had been deposited on the Crisis Management Account. This was in contravention of his responsibility under section 14 of the Public Finance and Accountability Act (PFAA) (section 6.3.2page 22 of the Auditors report.) · Vide his internal memo of May, 21, 2012 to the Principle Accountant; he authorized payment of advances totalling Sh 34.6 b on private Accounts of OPM staff in contravention of sections 227,228 and 229 of Treasury Accounting Instruction. This includes amounts which should have been paid to beneficiaries like suppliers and service providers. The whole amount was still unaccounted for by the time of the audit. (Section 6.3.6 page 27 of the Audit Report.)
He explicitly approved withdrawal of Sh 1.4b in cash, of which 787m was withdrawn on Friday as if all the activities were meant to take place on weekends. The auditors found no cash book to show how the money was utilized. There was not even a single record accounting for the money and believe me, all this money is lost. (Section 6.3.3 page 23-24 of the Audit Report)
He authorized transfer/diversion of Sh 3b purportedly to refund monies earlier borrowed to procure cattle boluses ,but there is no evidence to prove that such a borrowing ever took place (section 6.6.6 Page 25 of the Audit Report)
He approved the following dubious withdrawals (i.e. with no work plans, no cash books, and no accountability) from the sh11.1b which was irregularly diverted from the Norwegian Support to PRDP Account for the PRDP North Account. Sh 8.1b for which auditors found no single accountability document. Sh 1.3b paid Farm Engineers ltd for no specified purpose and no records were found at the time of audit. Sh 776m to personal accounts (section 6.3.4.Page 25 of the Audit Report)
He diverted sh6.5b from the Norwegian support to PRDP account, to drafting of Disaster Management Policy on June 27, 2011.How can drafting a policy cost billions? No consultant would take even Sh 1b.and there is even no break down detailing how the money was utilized (Section6.3.5 .page 25-26 of the Audit Report). He approved payments of advances amounting to sh2.9b into the personal accounts of the two cashiers yet by the virtue of their roles Cashiers are not mandated to carry out field activities. And the money remains un accounted for, mostly likely stolen (Section188.8.131.52, Page 27 of the Audit Report). He authorized payment of Sh 6.8b to Caltex Ntinda but this firm was not procured in accordance with procurement regulations. No background check or evaluation was done. Records with the registrar of companies show that it is just a registered business name. Its location is unknown (a ghost probably).There is no record to show how money deposited was consumed. He approved another payment of sh576m ostensibly for fuel for only four days to the same firm on February 6.2012 without details to show which vehicles took how much fuel and for which activity .This is enough to fuel 48 trailers on a return journey to and from Karamonja. It translates into sh144m worth of fuel per day .But in any case no food was issued from the stores for transportation to any destination. The other Officers with whom he performed this transaction i.e. principal accountant, the commissioner for disaster management and a resettlement officer are all on interdiction and facing trial, but PS is still scot free despite being the principle actor as an accounting officer. The auditors confirmed that OPM staff always withdrew such monies in a lump sum as soon as it was deposited (retrieval by sender) which is outright theft. (Section 6.3.10. Page 31-32 of the Audit Report).
He approved payments to ghost suppliers and for supply of air. Unregistered firms whose addresses are unknown were paid as if they supplied relief, while some firms which supplied were over paid to the tune of Sh 8.6 (Section 6.3.11,Page33 of the Audit Report)· He authorized payment of sh13.7b to Farm Engineering Ltd. As the auditors observe, some payments to this firm were duplicated as evidenced by several transactions with the same voucher narrations. There is no documentation to support the payments: no work progress reports. No contract register, no contract implementation plan, no project/contract manager was ever appointed as required by procurement regulations, no call off orders were ever issued yet the firm was engaged on a framework contract, and, there were no memoranda of Understanding between OPM and the districts. The firm was always paid without the districts certifying the work done. Much of the money was paid for no work.(Section 6.3.12,Page34_37 of the Audit report)·
He miserably failed in performing his statutory duty of ensuring that the ministry’s financial and accounting records were kept up to date and securely at all times as required under Section 420 of the Treasury Accounting Instructions. The former principal accountant took advantage of this failure to perpetuate his other fraudulent transactions. This would not have happened if the PS had played his roles competently. (Section 6.3.6, Page29 of the Audit Report).”(see New Vision of Tuesday, November 6,2012 by Derrick Odokorach)
Secondly, PM Amama Mbabazi is quoted to have stated in a press statement, because of the pressure from the donors and MPs that the Government has decided to refund stolen funds to the Peace, Recovery and Development Project (PRDP) donor account. The money to be refunded is about 50 billion. Fellow leaders, I think every one of us knows how social services in our Villages, Parishes, Dioceses and Constituencies are in a very sorry state! I also believe that every one of us is sympathetic with the teachers, doctors and nurses, police officers and many others whose services are not appreciated. The response from the government to their misery is usually very repulsive and repudiatory. They are treated with primitive arrogance and impunity From which account does the government hope to get money to pay for the thieves, if it has failed to get money to pay teachers and medical workers, to provide better living conditions for our police officers and to provide social services to Ugandans? In any case why should the government use the tax payers’ money to pay for the thieves when they are at large with their loot? Hon. Members of Parliament, your integrity and independence are at risk. This year you resolved to have the ministers mentioned in the oil scandal to step aside and your resolution was not honoured. Again you made another resolution to have PS Kagoda interdicted over IDS cards but nothing has happened. Now there is this saga of Bigirimana .
We are watching and yet to see how far you can go to defend your integrity. On all resolutions, you start well but it seems on the way some of you are injected with “kintu kidogo”- you know better. The executive has studied you and it knows that when you are hard up financially, you make noise and you are invited for the caucus meetings. What follows, you are silenced. This time let your No be No and your Yes be Yes.
Lastly, the anti-corruption court acquitted the three Ministers namely Kuteesa, Nasasira and Rukutana of Chogm funds. Now what next? Where is the money? Who stole the money? The onus is on the government to tell Ugandans who stole their money since; the fact is that the money was stolen!
UNITED WE STAND AND DIVIDED WE FALL and UNITY IS STRENGTH FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY Fr Gaetano Batanyenda. firstname.lastname@example.org. 0703212388