Google+ Followers

Friday, 26 April 2013

The cunning mediocrity of African Presidents : Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni hands out $100K in a sack full of cash

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni hands out $100K in a sack full of cash

By Jake Maxwell Watts April 23, 2013

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni handed over a plain white sack  containing a personal cash donation of 250 million shillings ($100,000) to a local youth group.

The donation (which also included a truck and 15 motorbikes for good measure) was broadcast on national television and soon went viral on YouTube and Twitter, where Museveni quickly became a target of scorn from those who questioned the money’s provenance and how it would be spent.

“Why is Museveni spending money willy-nilly when some public employees go without pay for months?” asked @Mulemeezi. @asiimwe4justice remarked, “Hand outs hinder us from asking the hard questions about the state of our nation.” @dalisochaponda, referencing a recent government crackdown, wrote: “Ugandan Monopoly: ‘President hands you #sackofmoney; collect 100000′; ‘You have been caught in a miniskirt, go to jail, do not pass go.’”

The bizarre episode highlighted the concerns of Museveni’s critics, who have criticized the president’s autocratic rule. When the president extended his 25 years in office in the country’s 2011 elections, EU observers noted that “the distribution of money and gifts by candidates, especially from the ruling party, had been widely observed.”

Judging by his past record, the Ugandan president is clearly fond of cutting out the middleman. In August last year, reports emerged that the Uganda Journalists’ Association was under investigation by anti-corruption offices for misspending a 150 million shilling ($58,700) cash donation from Museveni.

In 2010, the president chastised Christians for pretending to be poor and donating too little while he handed over 50 million shillings ($20,000) in cash to the St. Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe for renovations, according to local media. The bishop, Wilberforce Luwalira, received a new four-wheel drive to help him get around the community.

President Yoweri Museveni's sack of money sparks Uganda row

22 April 2013Last updated at 17:49 GMT

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has publicly handed a sack containing about $100,000 (£66,000) in cash to a youth group, raising questions about how the money will be spent.

The donation was broadcast on national television, with many social media comments condemning it.

"There should have been a system to make sure the youth spend the money properly," said analyst Peter Magelah.

A minister said giving the money in public would ensure transparency.

Mr Museveni pledged to help the group during the 2011 election campaign.

There were loud cheers as President Museveni held the white sack containing 250 million shillings aloft, before he handed it to a representative of the Busoga Youth Forum.

At the same meeting, he handed over a minibus, a truck and 15 motorcycles, reports Uganda's NTV.

The BBC's Catherine Byaruhanga in Kampala says Ugandans are used to seeing the president hand out money at public events.

But what has shocked many Ugandans is the amount and the image of their president holding a sack of money.

Many Ugandan Twitter users have been commenting using #sackofmoney.

Peter Magelah, a researcher at the think-tank Acode told the BBC: "This is just politicking by the president to gain popularity.

"Do we know how they money will be spent? There's no system of accountability to make sure we get it back if these youth mismanage it. It's a loss for the country."

But Minister for the Presidency Frank Tumwebaze defended the donation.

"Quite a few times people have requested the president for money and have stolen it. Giving it in broad day light means that the youth can see who has their money," he said.

"The president is not taking the money to Las Vegas, he's supporting income-generating schemes."