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Learning to depend on Salim Saleh, Museveni handouts

Saturday newspapers carried stories that troubled my mind throughout the weekend.

The first story that troubled me was about activities of Gen Caleb Akandwanaho aka Salim Saleh in the Tooro sub-region. The Daily Monitor reported that Saleh had spent nearly two months in Tooro and, among other things, sponsored two sittings of Kabarole district council. He is helping Fort Portal to become a city and has been offered land to build some factories.

Remember Gen Saleh is a senior presidential advisor on defence and until recently operated an office in Bombo military barracks. He is also the coordinator of an illegal outfit called Operation Wealth Creation. An executive order from his brother that establishes it even expired.

The National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), established by an Act of Parliament, surrenders more than half (about Shs 270 billion) of its budget to this illegal Saleh outfit annually.

This is the money that Saleh is using as he likes. I hope you still remember that he recently dished out some millions to kadongokamu people at a concert in Namboole. He is now sponsoring sittings of various district councils in Fort Portal. What will stop him from sponsoring weddings and traditional marriages?

And the reason NAADS was made to surrender this money was because of abuse. These days they say “Uganda zaabu” which means Uganda is gold.    

The second story which both The Daily Monitor and New Vision carried was about the donation of vehicles to Busoga cultural leaders by another military general, Yoweri Museveni.

The vehicle of Kyabazinga costs more than Shs 400 million if it is a secondhand. This was brand new, which means its cost is about Shs 600 million. The rest of the pick-up trucks I think cost about Shs 250 million each.  You can conservatively say the whole vehicle project cost is about Shs 3 billion.

The president, since he is the de facto minister of finance, has been prevailing over parliament to allocate him Shs 97 billion annually for donations. This money is part of the State House budget. Last financial year, another item called miscellaneous under State House was allocated Shs 78 billion.

It is possible that the vehicles were bought using this money for donations. It is, therefore, not illegal money. The source of the money or its legality is not what troubled me. The collective vulnerability of traditional leaders and their people is what troubled me.

According to the official 2014 housing and population census, Basoga are the third largest ethnic group in Uganda. The census put them at 2.9 million people. Of course they have since grown because our population grows at about 3.1 per cent every year.

One of my constituents who heard us discuss these vehicle donations on Capital Gang told me if each Musoga had contributed just Shs 1,800, they would have bought these vehicles themselves. Either, he argued, “these people have been extremely impoverished or the leadership undermined.”

And Batooro, according to the census results, were 810,708 people by 2014. And the reason districts are created right and centre is to take services nearer to the people.

It appears the districts have failed and Gen Saleh is the one now taking these services nearer to the Batooro. A sitting of the district council, Daily Monitor reported, costs just about Shs 10 million. The people of Kabarole/Fort Portal are too poor to afford this, the reason Gen Saleh intervened.

These two generals are brothers. For me I am emotional when it comes to my ethnic group. I feel very bad that my ethnic group, which contributed to the formation of Uganda in the London 1960 conferences, now must depend on handouts from other people.

Why are we in this marriage? Forgive me but that is what I saw in these two good gestures by the general brothers. That the Basoga - all of them - are incapable of buying their traditional leaders decent vehicles!

If all other things have not united us, this should. All this nonsense of dialogue should focus on this. I can allow you to belittle FDC, but not Buganda. This country should be able to tell off these generals. This is our country, and not their parent’s estate.


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


+1 #11 baingana daniel 2018-11-15 12:29
Hey Empay, wher have you been all this time men, PP is sure the way to go, our Power!
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+7 #12 Remase 2018-11-15 17:19
Semujju, presidential elections are not only rigged on the elections' day, it is such presidential donations and operation wealth creation it starts. Furthermore, NRM/M7 and government is the same thing, therefore M7 own the state and he does as he pleases when it comes to state resources.

How in the world does a president has a budget of 97b as donation money? Could someone help me here, which other nation has such a budget? Only in Uganda!

Semujju, " For me I am emotional when it comes to my ethnic group." I hate to tell you that Mengo/Kabaka Mutebi are part of the problem. They have maintained their support to M7. It is Katikiro Mayiga who came out and suggested a dialog.

He is the same person who urged us to accept the rigged elections! In my opinion, Mayiga should either keep quiet or call a spade a spade that M7 must go. Semujju, abo be batusibye ko M7! Owe baango bwo tomuwemukira, tewebaaka.
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0 #13 juwait kali 2018-11-16 11:49
Remase Mayiga will sue you for misunderstanding his language. Its owebango bwotomuwemukira teyebikka.
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0 #14 Jama 2018-11-17 01:56
This is the continuation of a well integrated and sustainable economy they promised us in 1986.
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-3 #15 Treva 2018-11-17 04:16
Another useless piece of writing. What is your point????? Corruption????? Are we blind, deaf, and stupid?

We know Uganda has corruption. So what? What is the FDC plan?????? To complain????

Then offer your resignations and let some more capable people handle the situation. You are drunk on Museveni. Join NRM.
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0 #16 Rick Ntambi 2018-11-21 05:18
Interesting comments. The Hon Ssemujju and the opposition have not offered a viable alternative to M7 and his corrupt mafia. However, the anti-Baganda comments are both divisive and destructive.

M7 had effectively divided Ugandans by creating districts based on tribes and sub- tribes. Districts that can't afford a or pay for the district council meeting.

M7 fools Uganda's by talking of economic progress and becoming a middle-income country. After 32 yrs in power, Uganda is still among the 20 POOREST countries in the World! Why is Ugandan Press afraid to point that out?
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+1 #17 Charles Okecha 2018-11-21 08:48
Wealth creation? What does a cattle keeper know about the hoe?

The bank robbers who conducted day and night raids on co-operative banks in Luweero till they closed in church of big sums of money?

There are people who should never have ruled Uganda but have done so that we may learn the hard way. Ladies and gentlemen just keep enjoying the last episodes of the rise. We know who gave sanctuary to the robbers.
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-1 #18 naboma 2018-11-21 10:47
Semujju you make some good points but spoil them when you mask the sycophancy of your tribe which often gets in cohorts with anyone in power to gain economic advantage.

It is baganda who brought us monster museveni and many of you baganda are still supporting him- i mean the kibures, makubuya, late nyombis, sekandi, kakoza, nsubuga, beti kamya etc are celebrated baganda.

On the other hand are the likes of you, Lukwago, namboze, dr stella nyanzi, bobi wine now, kasibante who are doing a good job. So be objective and learn to blame baganda where you have gone wrong.
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