So, who are the mafia? The term mafia is given different definitions according to context and country.
But what is common among all definitions is their method of work and purpose for their existence - criminal enterprise. Wikipedia defines the mafia as: a type of organized crime syndicate whose primary activities are protection racketeering, arbitrating disputes between criminals, and brokering and enforcing illegal agreements and transactions.
This definition is consistent with some of the complaints made by the ministers and those haunted by the mafia. The minister for Privatization, Evelyn Anite, claims the mafia are baying for her blood for frustrating their efforts to liquidate the limping Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL), which is under administration.
From her and many other high-ranking government officials’ complaints, it appears a criminal gang within government has taken over the operations of the state. No government’s project - however well intentioned - can succeed without this criminal gang’s nod of approval.
The subtle inference from these allegations is that the mafias have even eclipsed the president. They seem to have a towering hand in the appointment of ministers, heads of parastatals and award of multimillion tenders to foreign companies.
Unfortunately, the complainants have done a disservice to the public. They have failed to pinpoint any single individual involved this criminal enterprise.
The educated guess could be that they (complainants) were once beneficiaries of proceeds from this criminal enterprise before falling out – and are now too afraid to name names for fear of reprisals.
It is also possible that the mafia is a fiction and a delusion suffered by panicky ministers – since the alleged victims lack proof of the existence of such an invisible gang. Nevertheless, there is a lot of cross-purpose agenda in government.
There seems to be no harmony in cabinet decisions, and hence the washing of dirty linen in public. The solution though, to such accusations and counter accusations should be to let institutions work.
We should discard the ‘presidentialism’ – where every decision is taken and determined by the president. The institutions should be let to work and be accountable as well.