Friday, 28 April 2017

The Cries of Uganda’s Starving Poor amidst the Smiles and extravagancy of Uganda’s Kleptocrats(thieves): Parliament asks for State of Emergency as famine disaster hits 5.5 million record: Museveni accepts that the presidential oil handsake bonanza was a terrible mistake: How Museveni spent Shs 21.7bn on vehicles in 5 years

Karimojong children in Nakapelimen village 

 Image result for Famine in Karamoja, 2017

America’s peace Icon and slave state exposed : Museveni’s two new Benzes cost Shs6b


For God and my country or For my stomach, my family, relatives and friends: The paradox of Museveni’s 2 billion Car amidst a dead health sector, increasing poverty , youth unemployment and struggling economy


Parliament asks for State of Emergency as famine disaster hits 5.5 million record

By Moses Kyeyune

Parliament yesterday adopted a motion tabled by lawmakers from famine-stricken districts to urge government to declare a state of emergency in the most affected districts over prolonged famine.
The motion by lawmakers from Lango sub-region as well as Teso and Karamoja flanked by Monica Amoding (NRM-Kumi) is premised on their assertions that the government has delayed to equitably distribute relief food.
“Most of the people of the affected areas are surviving on single meals per day under the watch of government,” Amoding said.
Amoding who attracted unanimous support from all legislators asked the government to declare a national disaster so as to attract support from foreign aid.
“Food relief by government has been insufficient in the few districts that government has tried to reach out with 100-200 bags of posho which is too insignificant,” said Amoding.
The lawmaker said that scores of people have already lost lives to famine across the country which is why she raised the motion.
After the motion was adopted, the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said that it was upon the government to implement the House’s decision or abandon it.
“If they don’t want they can leave it, but for us we have done our part,” she said.
“The cabinet has a responsibility to declare or not to declare but you have a responsibility to support the people of this country to get food,” Kadaga added.
Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister lost all attempts to block the motion.
“Governemnt is confronting this difficult situation, head on…and we are in charge and the country is feeding normally…so this motion should be defeated,” he said.
The Speaker vehemently declined to listen to the premier’s plea saying that she has brought the matter to the attention of government on several occasions, in vain.
“If you are in control, can you tell us where you are going to get money for the next 45 days to feed our people?” Kadaga asked Rugunda.
In his statement, Mr Hillary Onek, the Minister of Disaster Preparedness, told Parliament that famine has spread to over 5.5 million people up from 3.5 million in January.
The Minister also stated that, government efforts to feed the hungry are facing hardships due to inadequate funding.
“We need additional Shs50 billion to effectively address the famine disaster in the country,” Onek said.
“I definitely share with you the sentiment on the suffering of our people where there is hunger, particularly where there are extreme conditions,” Onek added.
The worst affected areas are the northern Teso districts of Katakwi, Amuria, Soroti and Kaberamaido.
Minister Onek, however blamed the crisis on failure by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to operationalise the contingency fund.
“The gross inadequate release of funds which come after long delays has affected our normal process of addressing this crisis,” said Onek.
On realising the challenges, Onek said, government appealed to funding partners where China responded with 5,893 tonnes of rice.
The development, Mr Onek said led to the revision of the emergency food budget downwards from Shs144 billion to only Shs52 billion which is yet to be realised.
Since last year, the government has only injected Shs31.5 billion.
Debate on State on Emergency
Before the motion was adopted, Mr Mwesigwa Rukutana, the Deputy Attorney General cautioned parliament on the implications of the state of emergency saying that it can develop into unprecedented developments in the post Bush-war era.
“During a state of emergency, government is at liberty to suspend or change some functions of the judiciary, legislature and judiciary and it is usually used to cripple all rights of the citizens guaranteed in the constitution and other international declarations of rights,” he warned.
The attorney general also said that state of emergencies are used by dictatorial regimes to suppress certain rights.
However, Rukutana’s submission was overruled by the Speaker who said that, in Uganda’s current situation, “it can be designed along the economic lines and national disaster as prescribed by the Constitutions

How Museveni spent Shs 21.7bn on vehicles in 5 years 

Written by Sadab Kitatta Kaaya
In just five years, government has spent more than Shs 21.7 billion on vehicles for President Museveni and State House staff, budget documents indicate.
After thoroughly analysing the 2017/2018 Ministerial Policy Statement for State House, which breakdowns the entity’s budget allocations and expenditure priorities, The Observer has found that between 2010 and 2015, government bought 192 vehicles, including buses and lorries, for use by the president’s residence.
The State House budget for vehicles is particularly for the president and staff of his residence. It is separate from that of the Office of the President, which has a separate budget and buys its own fleet of cars.
A deeper scrutiny of State House’s inventory found that most cars were bought during the years leading to a general election, an indication that the president bolsters his fleet ahead of election campaigns.
On the campaign trail, Museveni often uses a helicopter to get to various rallies in a single day, and he finds a presidential convoy waiting at each of these venues.
For instance, in the run-up to the 2011 elections, more than Shs 9.2bn was spent on 108 vehicles. This is representative of 42.7 percent of the total sum, which was spent on vehicles over the five-year period.
Of the amount spent ahead of 2011, State House spent more than Shs 2.7bn on nine vehicles for the presidential convoy. The most expensive of the nine vehicles purchased in that period, the records say, were two station wagons costing Shs 200m each.
This figure is more than double the vehicle budget for 2007, the year Uganda hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM). In that year, State House spent Shs 1.37bn to add 14 vehicles to its fleet, seven of which were for the presidential convoy.
President Museveni takes a phone call as his convoy waits. Budget papers indicate that State House buys more cars towards elections
In 2011, Shs 1.2bn was spent to buy 13 vehicles, half of which were bought on January 13; exactly 35 days to that year’s presidential election. This followed an earlier procurement of a press stage truck at Shs 200m on January 3.
The opposition chief whip, Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, who is also the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) spokesperson, told The Observer that the contents of the ministerial statement give credence to a long-held claim by opposition politicians that the president hides some of his campaign budget in the national budget.
“Taxpayers always fund his [Museveni] campaigns. Every single thing that he needs [for] campaigns is funded from the national treasury because his NRM is a state party,” said the Kira municipality MP.
“The pickups he uses as podiums at his campaign rallies are procured using the money allocated to State House,” he said.
In 2012, with the presidential elections out of the way, the government didn’t purchase a single vehicle for State House. The only motorable items procured were two motorcycles, which cost Shs 16m.
In 2013, Shs 1.78bn was spent on 13 vehicles. However, the expenditure shot up dramatically again in 2014, when more than Shs 8.3bn was spent to buy 54 vehicles.
According to the shadow attorney general, Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East), the budget could have shot up because of the heightened political activity that year.
It is then that Museveni fell out with his longtime confidant Amama Mbabazi, leading to NRM MPs passing a resolution at Kyankwanzi to cushion Museveni against any internal NRM challenge.
They were later to traverse the country popularizing the resolution that eventually led to the amending of the NRM constitution, giving Museveni more powers, and the subsequent dropping of Mbabazi as the ruling party’s secretary general.
“Uganda’s biggest challenge is the fusion of the person of Museveni, the so-called NRM party and the state of Uganda. Because of the fusion of the three, Museveni and his NRM don’t see the state operating independently from them, that is why they use state resources to finance their activities,” Niwagaba said.

In 2015, the policy statement indicates, State House spent Shs 1.1bn to buy just three vehicles and a tank (for storing either water or fuel). In the entire five years under review, the single most expensive vehicle procured was a pickup truck, which was bought on May 13, 2014 at Shs 1.5bn.
The other item was a station wagon costing Shs 1.4bn, which was bought on October 14, 2010. The policy statement, which is currently before MPs, however, shows some mismatches in the price quotations of some vehicles. For instance, on July 6, 2010, three station wagons were bought but the price variation between them is ten times.
One was purchased at Shs 39.1m while the other two were procured at Shs 3.9m each. On February 7, 2014, the presidency bought four omni-buses, three of which cost Shs 110m each, while another cost Shs 11m.
Having spent Shs 1.5bn to buy a pickup, the presidency claims it purchased another pickup truck on October 14, 2010 for a paltry Shs 32,240. The Observer was unable to speak to any State House official to explain these discrepancies.

Most of the vehicles purchased for the Office of the President are used by the president’s auxiliary staff such as resident district commissioners, presidential advisers, patriotism unit, manifesto implementation unit, and Uganda Media Centre.
According to the Office of the President’s vehicle monitoring report, over the five-year period, government bought 158 cars for RDCs and 60 cars for other units attached to the office.

State House comptroller Lucy Nakyobe did not answer our repeated phone calls while ICT and Information minister, Frank Tumwebaze, who was minister of the presidency at the time, declined to comment.
“Ask the people in charge, please,” Tumwebaze said in an email.
Ssemujju argued that the expenditures point to the fact that Museveni has turned the country into his project.
“It is not clear whether the vehicles we are buying are for Museveni the president, his relatives or NRM because State House has become the headquarters of NRM,” Ssemujju said.
“You are only looking at what was spent on buying vehicles but you need to look at what we spend on his fuel for inland travels and servicing those vehicles. The budget for fuel alone could be at an average of Shs 36bn annually, which shows that Museveni no longer cares about this country,” Ssemujju added.
The executive director of Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU), Cissy Kagaba, said the vehicles budget is an indication that the leadership misses the country’s priorities.
“It shows the wastage and lack of priority we have because right now the health and agricultural budgets are being cut. Ideal thing would be, other than buying expensive vehicles, money should be used to finance the agricultural, education and health sectors, which benefit a bigger percentage of ordinary Ugandans,” Kagaba said.
“It is ironical that the same government that fails to plan for its people is the same government that is buying expensive vehicles,” she wondered. “How do the vehicles benefit the ordinary Ugandans?”
But Sabiiti Makara, a senior lecture at the department of political science in Makerere University, argued that as a president, Museveni is constitutionally entitled to a well-maintained fleet of vehicles.
“The president has to be secure and that requires him to have brand new vehicles, which are more expensive than the ordinary second-hand ones,” Makara concluded. “That explains the higher figure.”
President Museveni travels in a long convoy that sometimes comprises as many as 20 vehicles, including a water tank and a convenience truck.

Shs 6bn probe: Museveni opens up to MPs about oil

In a revealing testimony to a Parliamentary committee investigating the controversial Shs 6 billion cash reward to 42 senior government officials, President Museveni said he has had to endure ever since “he discovered oil in 1996”, according to a source.
Behind closed doors on Wednesday at State House, Entebbe, Museveni testified before Parliament’s committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) that is investigating the cash reward, which was christened the “presidential handshake.”
Museveni told MPs that the issue they were investigating was not a small one because ever since the discovery of oil in 1996, it has been a source of big fights which drew in several African presidents. He named South Africa’s Jacob Zuma whom he said had sent an agent to lobby that Museveni accepts the passing of the upstream and midstream oil laws in Parliament.
“There has been a big war since the discovery of oil in 1996; people have been fighting over industrialisation and tax collection, this is where Zuma sent me an agent to convince me to accept some of these issues,” a source quotes Museveni as having said.
Museveni also indirectly named his former prime minister, Amama Mbabazi, among the people who were involved in the fights. Museveni veiled Mbabazi’s name under a tagline of “Katuntu’s Kanungu friends.”

President Yoweri Museveni

Museveni also blamed Nakaseke MP Syda Bbumba, who he said signed a waiver to Energy Africa (Tullow Oil) as energy minister in 2001, which caused the country a loss of $157m (Shs 549.5bn).
Before he opened up to the committee, Museveni first chased out his press unit led by Don Innocent Wanyama, the senior presidential press secretary, who had earlier also asked the nine journalists present out of State House and back to Kampala. Parliament’s press unit led by Mohammed Katamba was also not allowed into the meeting room.

Before Museveni ordered his press unit out, he had confirmed to the committee that he indeed wrote a letter authorizing the bonus payment with an intention of appreciating the officials for winning the country $434m (Shs 15.1 trillion).
The payments, which were made in August 2016, stemmed from their contribution to a 2014 tax arbitration case against Heritage Oil and Gas.
“Those girls, [Doris] Akol and [Allen] Kagina and their group are economic freedom fighters who did a job and, to me, the intention was to appreciate them; where the money came from, and the process [of paying it] was the work of technical people,” Museveni reportedly told the MPs.
“I wonder why the attorney general never advised me because that is why he is there [in the position],” he added.
Had he been well advised, Museveni said, he would have got the money from his donations budget, rather than the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) budget.

Museveni made the statement after committee chairman Abdu Katuntu had offered a brief on the background of the probe. The Bugweri MP told Museveni that much as URA had won $9m (Shs 31.5bn) in court awards for cases that the tax body won both locally and in London, six years on, it had not filed court documents to claim the payments.
Museveni was also “shocked” to learn that the money was spent without the approval of the URA board of directors and was never sanctioned by the ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, as required by law.
Katuntu also told Museveni that the Shs 6bn had been included in URA’s budget for the next financial year but Parliament’s Budget committee had declined to approve it.
Museveni also expressed shock that URA had failed to account for Shs 5.8bn of the Shs 56bn that is indicated in the auditor general’s report as having been spent on the case. He was also shocked that provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, which requires oil revenues to be transferred to the Petroleum Fund, were not followed.
“In fact, you are opening my eyes with this information. I have not been briefed on the oil revenue,” Museveni reportedly said.

The meeting had been scheduled for 10am but the MPs waited in one of State House’s holding rooms till about 1pm, when Museveni showed up after presiding over a cabinet meeting at his office on Parliamentary buildings.
Several MPs that spoke to The Observer said the session was interactive and, at some intervals, Museveni cheekily threw barbs at opposition MPs in the group.
After a giving a two-hour testimony, Museveni asked Katuntu to reschedule the meeting because he had to receive the visiting Equatorial Guinea president Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbagoso.
He had suggested that the MPs wait until he was through with Obiang’s welcome ceremonies, but the legislators couldn’t wait and rescheduled the meeting for yesterday (Thursday) at 4pm.
Interviewed, Katuntu confirmed the committee’s return to State House but declined to delve into details of their Wednesday’s engagement.
“I have an obligation to tell you [the media] but I won’t tell you piecemeal [information],” Katuntu said. “Wait until after [Thursday’s meeting]; I will address you,”


President Museveni

Oil cash bonanza: I didn’t tell Kasaija to use URA money - Museveni

Thursday April 27 2017 


PARLIAMENT. President Museveni yesterday accepted that he made mistakes while approving the payment of Shs6b to a clique of 42 government officials who were involved in helping Uganda win two oil cases against British firms.
Mr Museveni told a parliamentary committee that is investigating wide-ranging irregularities in the Oil Sector that he would have acted differently had he been advised otherwise by the Attorney General Fred Ruhindi on which procedures to follow in rewarding government officials for a job well done.
Filing his defence during the inquiry into what has become popularly referred to as a ‘presidential handshake’ or oil cash bonanza, Mr Ruhindi argued that “the necessary procedures and laws were followed and [that] it is the prerogative of the President to make a reward of this nature.”
On whether he authorised the payments, Mr Museveni admitted that although he directed Finance Minister Matia Kasaija to reward the 42 officials, he did not instruct that he dip their hands into URA’s coffers to facilitate the payment.
During the inquiry, Mr Kasaija revealed that he was left with no option but to pay the Shs6b after receiving a letter from the President directing that officials who were involved in the Oil cases be rewarded.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Mr Kasaija promised to respond to the President’s remarks today.
The President, however, insisted he was rewarding what he called “economic heroes” and talked of pressures he weathered to settle the case out of court but said technocrats from the Justice Ministry and URA insisted they had a winnable case.
But Mr Museveni flatly rejected a critical demand by the MPs who moved the motion to investigate the payments demanding that the officials who received the money refund it and instead promised that he will look into the presidential budget to reimburse the money to URA.
The MPs who attended the closed-door session said Mr Museveni was particularly furious over why neither the Uganda Revenue Authority(URA) nor the Justice Ministry have filed a $10m bill of costs to Tullow, three years after winning the cases.
Committee chairman Abu Katuntu, who is the only one authorised to speak on the record about the proceedings of the inquiry, declined to divulge any details of the meeting with the President.
“We met for two hours and we will resume today,” Mr Katuntu crisply said.
Mr Don Wanyama, the Senior Presidential Press Secretary, also declined to comment on the meeting, saying State House had agreed with the MPs that the Committee would issue a statement.
During the meeting, Mr Museveni also admitted he only learnt that a bill of costs for the money is yet to be filed after Solicitor General Francis Atoke acknowledged during the on-going inquiry that the government is yet to recover money from Tullow despite being entitled to it.
Mr Museveni was also angry that bureaucrats from the Energy Ministry inserted a clause in the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) between Tullow and Uganda where the British oil firm would be entitled to a $157m tax waiver by the government if an out-of-court settlement was to be reached over the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) dispute.
The meeting will resume today after it was prematurely adjourned in the afternoon to allow Mr Museveni meet visiting Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who arrived in the country yesterday for a two-day official visit.
Mr Museveni will today be asked to explain whether the officials who met him at his country home in Rwakitura on May 17, 2015, demanded any reward contrary to the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders.
Mr Museveni will also be asked to justify the “extra-ordinary” duty the 42 officials undertook to merit payment after some of them, including Mr Ruhindi, former URA Commissioner General Allen Kagina, and former Commissioner Legal and Board Affairs URA admitted that they did not do work outside their normal duties during the Oil cases.
Oil cash probe
Mr Museveni told a parliamentary committee that is investigating wide-ranging irregularities in the Oil Sector that he would have acted differently had he been advised otherwise by the Attorney General Fred Ruhindi on which procedures to follow in rewarding government officials for a job well done. On whether he authorised the payments, Mr Museveni admitted that although he directed Finance Minister Matia Kasaija to reward the 42 officials, he did not instruct that he dip their hands into URA’s coffers to facilitate the payment.