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Ugandans should refuse to repay Museveni debts

Two important topics have been framed for debate in the country: public debt and management of land. Ideally, the two are not new but are being debated in a new context.

For example, a lot of borrowing to finance infrastructural projects such as power dams and roads has happened in the last few years in anticipation of an oil boom.

The oil boom hasn’t happened yet, but the country is required to begin and continue repaying the debts and the interest accumulated. The country’s financial situation is being made worse by the need for our revolutionary leader to finance his lifestyle and rent support.

That is the context under which you must understand the recent request to borrow Shs 736 billion by the usually-casual Finance minister Matia Kasaija.

For example, before driving to Kiboga to celebrate the removal of presidential age limits from our constitution, each of the 317 NRM MPs was given Shs 60 million. This comes to Shs 19 billion.

In the same week, the revolutionary gave the NRM secretariat Shs 20 billion to meet salaries of party workers who had not been paid for the last nine months.

NRM secretary general Kasule Lumumba says the money given to them was only enough for salaries of seven months. In simple terms, the revolutionary is required to pay Shs 2.8 billion every month to NRM employees, if you divide Shs 20 billion by seven months. That is why many have been laid off.

Most of the individuals that starved themselves almost to death during the five-year Luweero guerilla war because of a common ideological belief have been purged or left the ‘bus’ by themselves. You now have a new breed threaded together by money and the revolutionary knows it.

To meet the financial needs of these new breed of NRM supporters and leaders, the revolutionary has increased the allocations to departments that he singlehandedly controls.

For example, his residence’s (State House) budget has grown from less than Shs 100 billion five years ago to nearly Shs 250 billion.

This financial year 2017/18, State House was allocated (actually it allocated itself) Shs 230 billion but it has returned to parliament to solicit permission to spend more! To be specific, State House wants Shs 16 billion more.

Out of this Shs 16 billion, classified expenditure accounts for Shs 13 billion and the rest will be used to finance valuation of land in Amuru district and development of an anti-tick vaccine. Yes, State House develops vaccines!

These are the sort of things for which Finance minister Kasaija wants permission from parliament to borrow from commercial banks. You certainly know how expensive borrowing from commercial banks is.

So far, government has borrowed Shs 12 trillion from commercial banks and pension funds. That is why next year’s budget is more about paying debts.

The government has presented a budget of Shs 29.2 trillion for processing in parliament. The bigger part of this budget (Shs 15 trillion) will be financed by local revenue through URA. The rest of the money will be borrowed.

What the country should know is that next year we will spend Shs 3.4 trillion on debt repayment. Interest alone, which we will still repay next year, is Shs 2.7 trillion.

By December 2015, the country’s external debt stood at $9.66 billion (Shs 35 trillion) while domestic debt (money borrowed from commercial banks and pension funds) stood at Shs 9.8 trillion.

Today, domestic debt is at Shs 12 trillion, domestic arrears (money owed to suppliers) is at Shs 2.7 trillion and I think external debt is about $12 billion (Shs 43 trillion).

This is what should worry every citizen, especially leaders. But instead of organizing a retreat to discuss a national crisis, NRM MPs descended on Kiboga to roast goats, dance and plan for a referendum to increase the tenure of their master from five to seven years. The economy has slowed down and we are in for hard times.

Finally on land, I want to applaud Justice Catherine Bamugemereire’s probe committee. It has exposed a racket of well-connected people who are stealing public and private land.

My only worry is that some of its recommendations are rolling back all its achievements. I don’t know why the commission thinks Mailo land tenure and district land boards should be abolished.

There are areas in Uganda especially in the north where land is owned by clans. In Buganda, the equivalent of communal (clan) land, the 9,000 square miles, is what is now in the control of district land boards and has unfairly been converted into freehold. That is why for us in Buganda, we are still demanding for the 9,000 square miles.

By its recommendation, the probe committee wants management of this land vested in the Museveni government. This is absurd because land managed by Museveni has been parceled and donated to his cronies under the guise of investment.

I fear the Bamugemereire commission might be helping Museveni achieve what he has all along failed through legislation. Of course such recommendations would require constitutional changes.

semugs@yahoo.com

The author is Kira Municipality MP and opposition chief whip in parliament.

Comments

+1 #61 wadada 2018-03-07 02:13
ait, Uganda missed an opportunity in the Okellos, one that they will never get again. Those two generals really wanted peace for Uganda and that is why they wanted peace talks with fighting forces.

5 years and Obote never defeated M7 and yet fools like you still think Uganda's problem is Acholi. Obote also saw Acholi as the problem and yet they died to bring him to power.
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+1 #62 Stewart 2018-03-07 08:56
Folks, those were too many bleats, lets move on.

The facts still stands, Obote good or bad still we suffered like never before, all cattle raided and once proud cattle keepers became clowns in the eyes of the south / west and still paupers, take clean stocks please. Thanks
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-1 #63 ejakait engoraton 2018-03-07 12:58
If the Okellos wanted peace, they would have first sat down with their masters, talks were forced upon them because they were facing defeat and absolutely clueless about what to do.

I'm sure you never had the chance to meet Basilio and be on the receiving end of his actions, people who thought soldiers could pay themselves by using their guns.
Amin was much better
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0 #64 Akot 2018-03-07 15:15
Quoting wadada:
Uganda missed an opportunity in the Okellos, one that they will never get again. Those two generals really wanted peace for Uganda and that is why they wanted peace talks with fighting forces.

5 years and Obote never defeated M7 and yet fools like you still think Uganda's problem is Acholi. Obote also saw Acholi as the problem and yet they died to bring him to power.


Thanks!

Ugandans must by now know Acholi never wanted problem for any one, even when Okello got tired of being insulted by Dr Obote, he did not touch & hair of the one who gave us chance to obtain independence in peace!

If Ugandans want Acholi to help, they MUST say so because otherwise Acholi will continue quiet-non existant while museveni tries to get them on his side & have base in Acholiland!...
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0 #65 Akot 2018-03-07 15:24
...Without UNITY OF ALL, It's time Acholi think of the future of their kids instead of waiting for those who brought museveni in to Reunite, which seems not coming, while musevni plays around & will own our country under our noses!

Okello-Acholi mps-ministers-officials got tired with Dr Obote's continued insults-humiliations, especially after 2 glasses of whisky! Old Okello couldn't take it any more, more so while Langis killed people, Ugandans & the entire world believed it was Acholi & Dr Obote was alright with this!

Ugandans should now know Acholi are not a danger & they are needed as part of fight against museveni!

If Acholi had bad intentions, they wouldn't have stood down when all the other tribes United for museveni!

Didn't Acholi say NO to Kony & prefered him killing them-burning down villages...instead of giving him base of operation against museveni?
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0 #66 Akot 2018-03-07 15:30
Stewart, understood, yet,

How can Ugandans move on with museveni almost completing conquest of their country?

Is there opposition to museveni?

Has any tribal leader become a real LEADER & will preserve any tribe & block museveni looting gold-oil-rich agricultural land...?

Not even the Mayor of Kampala has right to do anything for the people who elected him while parliament is now officially museveni's!
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0 #67 Akot 2018-03-07 15:41
Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda,

Please, keep this topic alive: it will open eyes as to what Uganda has become & will soon be when museveni is OWNER of the country officially-legally-constitutionally!

Ugandans have done & continue to do their best to hand over their country to museveni (tribal leders in posts, there is no common opposition leader, parliament doing its best to legalise hand over of the country to museveni, tax money in time/in peace) & no one is aware it's just a matter of time & museveni is steps away owning Uganda!

We MUST stop getting at one another while helping museveni own our country!

Unity against museveni is the only means we have to save our country, then go for:

- Reformation of the gone Republic, or

- Independent Triabl States!

These won't be possible when the country belongs to museveni officially-legally-constitutionally: we will ALL be foreigners!
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