For purposes of budgeting, the NRM government has identified 18 priority sectors. In order of importance, they include works, interest payment, energy, education, health, public management, security and justice/law/order.
The amount of money allocated to each sector not only points to its importance, but also to the performance and structure of Uganda’s economy.
For example, interest payment is priority number two, according to the 2018 National Budget Framework Paper submitted by the Finance ministry to parliament. And accordingly, next financial year, which begins in July, Uganda will spend Shs 2.7 trillion of our Shs 29.2 trillion total budget on paying interest on money borrowed from mainly commercial banks, abroad and providential funds.
We will also be paying Shs 894 billion towards clearance of the $10.74 billion foreign debt that we have contracted.
I have dealt with foreign and domestic debt in earlier articles. This background is simply to help you understand the ranking of security on the list of NRM priorities. If you look at the priority list, security is number seven.
Justice/Law and Order, where Uganda Police Force falls, is number eight. I fear to analyze the performance of security, law and order in isolation because it will create an impression that other priority sectors are performing well.
I am only compelled to do so because of the recent occurrences such as kidnappings, murders, arrest of senior police officers and the resultant sacking of police chief Gen Kale Kayihura and Security minister Henry Tumukunde.
Next financial year, security (defence/ ISO/ESO) have been jointly allocated Shs 1.3 trillion, which is 6.2% of our national budget and far more than the amount given to agriculture (Shs 831 billion). The biggest portion of this money (Shs 1.257 trillion) is allocated to Defence while ISO and ESO are given Shs 59 billion and Shs 34 billion respectively.
The Justice, Law and Order sector is, on the other hand, allocated Shs 1.1 trillion and with Shs 524 billion, Uganda Police Force will take half of it. These two sectors receive almost no foreign funding; they are financed directly by taxes.
And as a form of accountability, the country expects defence to safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity and police to protect our lives and property. Both Internal Security Organization (ISO) and External Security Organization (ESO) are directly supervised by the president.
In fact, the budgets for both ISO and ESO are under the president’s office. Recently, for obvious reasons, former Security minister Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde pleaded for separation of these budgets. He wanted the Shs 59 billion for ISO and Shs 34 billion for ESO to move out of the president’s office. He did not last to see it through.
President Museveni’s assertion while presiding over Women’s day celebrations in Mityana on March 8 that weevils had eaten into part of his security organization was a fair assessment but also a self- indictment.
Weevils, especially the ones that attack bananas, first dig tunnels in order to feed, thereby damaging and weakening the stem. They also lay hundreds of eggs that hatch after every week. You will immediately notice that a banana is attacked by weevils because its leaves turn yellow even before flowering.
And you will apply pesticides to prevent them from spreading. Now, the person responsible for noticing weevils and applying pesticides is telling the country, after all the havoc caused by the pests, that he has just seen and removed them.
I have read somewhere where weevils are used for biological control to fight off invasive species. And I think that is what the revolutionary has done to our security institutions throughout his 32 years in power. I don’t think Gen Kayihura turned into a weevil after joining police.
I think he was a weevil even before his 2005 appointment as inspector general of police. Being a weevil is the reason he was deployed there to, as scientists say, control the invasive species. That is why his achievements, according to Beatrice Anywar, include suppression of civil dissent especially the 2011 walk-to- work campaign.
Anywar and Beti Kamya make you wonder whether it is worthwhile marking Women’s day. Do you remember Anywar shedding tears in parliament the day Kayihura’s men, including Bwana Arinaitwe, nearly killed Dr Kizza Besigye?
She now says clobbering people during walk-to-work was very good. Hajji Hussein Kyanjo, former Makindye West MP, advised me to serve for a short time and give way to others.
It is something I am seriously considering. Museveni saw Tumukunde invade Amama Mbabazi’s campaign venues during the 2016 presidential campaigns and, instead of reprimanding him, he promoted and appointed him minister.
He is now lamenting! The moment you elevate yourself above institutions, your subordinates learn very fast. That is why Gen ‘Weevil’ thought he was bigger than police. Police resources were being wasted on crime preventers and Boda Boda 2010. We will begin feeling the effect of all this when the Ssabaweevil (Chief Weevil) has finally gone.
The author is Kira Municipality MP and opposition chief whip in parliament.