Friday, 22 April 2011

why the government inspector needs to be inspected

One of the reasons why corruption is a hallmark of the NRM administration is that even those supposed to fight it have skeletons in their cupboards.
And perhaps you might not blame them. The fish rots from the head first.
So, the office of the Inspector General of Government seems to be rotting away, begining at the head.
Just recently, the IGG Raphael Baku earned Shs8million per month. This was revised to Shs17million. But Mr Baku was not amused. He demanded another revision to Shs24million. This demand was provoked by the Finance ministry letter to the IGG indicating that another money would be released to cater for the wage bill.
While Baku had earlier given himself  100 percent salary rise while other officials got 30 percent, the big man has decided not to increase any other employee's salary. Reason? The Permanent Secretary, Mr Waiswa Bageya refused to grant his salary rise from Shs17million to Shs24million.
Mr Waiswa declined to increase Baku's pay saying that he would find it difficult to account for that increment. Besides, Waiswa said the salary increase should be for the officials who had missed out earlier.
Realising that he wasnt going to get his way, Mr Baku ruled that no salary increment should be made to any other official. Mr Waiswa is now worried for his job as his boss has reportedly opened a war against him over salary increment.
To make this directive look reasonable, Mr Baku said that instead of increasing salaries for other officials, he would instead recruit more staff oestensibly to ease the workload.
What is bizzare is that even the available staff are most times idle. Sources say senior staff keep leaving IGG over poor pay yet Mr Baku now prefers new recruits who lack experience. When they gain experience, they also get disgruntled over poor pay.
According to my investigations, work at the IGG office is paralised because the staff morale is low.
To make matters worse, Mr Baku has also ordered the scrapping of  medical, food ration and housing allowances for staff. These allownces used to be consolidated into the payslip.
In addition to the lack of allowances, Mr Baku is accused of  playing divide and rule methods of administration.
He has reportedly deliberately made the directorate of operations ineffective. Instead, he has preffered to empower the directorate of investigations whose mandate is supervision of regional offices.
Sources say Mr Baku infact wants to abolish the directorate of Operations.
Because the directorate of investigations is now favoured, it is overwhelmed with work.
Tribalism is now being cited in Mr Baku's move. The directorate of investigations is headed by Muzamiru Abon, his tribesmate while Mr James Penywii, an Acholi, heads Operations.
The confusion in the IGG office has been accelarated by a World Bank deal. The bank gave the IGG a contract to monitor NUSAFII projects in northern Uganda. Ten vehicles were bought to facilitate the monitoring but instead of giving them to Operations which asked for them, Mr Baku allocated them to investigations.
It is said that Mr Baku is trying to get any penny from his office to the extent that he has now become a globe trotter. Parliament approved a IGG budget for training but sources say Mr Baku has tried all his best to ensure that he alone benefits. He is so rare in office that the plane has become his toy. Sources say the IGG personally travels abroad even on a trip that required a junior official. He has now been nicknamed a commuter.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Museveni's next move is here

The violent protests that have punctuated the arrest of Opposition FDC party President can only show you one thing: Museveni is increasingly exposing his nasty side that, for the last two and half decades, was concealed from the larger public.
The shooting and indiscriminate torture of civilians by the combined forces of Police and military, is only the begining of gross violation of civil liberties in Uganda.
While the world never paid attention to early signs of Mr Museveni's plan to suffocate democracy and economic progress in Uganda, it was evident that the man was building himself as the Emperor.
This is how he did it: promote sectarianism and corruption.
The walk-to-work protests that have now brought to the fore, Museveni's violent nature, were an accumulation of the consequences of a corrupt leadership.
President Museveni deliberately promoted corruption [ he one time said as long as the thieves invest their loot in the country, he had no problem] to create a class of people who would be loyal to him.
Remember that worldwide, regimes use corrupt people to promote their interests. If you are clean,  Museveni's government would not find it fun working with.
So, the corruption that was deliberately nurtured in Uganda, was aimed at removing resources from the ordinary people so that they can be controlled.
Social services had to be destroyed so that the citizenry rely on the few rich criminal capitalists. Call it patronage.
While narrowing the citizens participation in the economy, Museveni clandestinely promoted sectarianism.
First, his regime divided the country into Northerners [ East and North regions] and Southerners mainly Western region. Buganda was then seen as friendly to the Westerners.
This approach worked well in the begining as majority Westerners saw the suffering of the people of the North and East as a deserved punishment.
A few Baganda were given access to the state resources but a few Westerners largely benefited.
Since the interest of Museveni was personal wealth and power, it slowly started to manifest that he could not sustain  the north and South divide.The emergence of Paul Ssemogerere to stand against him in 1996, began the isolation of Buganda as well. Museveni propagandists started saying the rest of the country hated Westerners because they were the ones in power. For sometime, this worked. The West returned higher vote perecentages for Museveni.
However, it was not just about  Museveni loving the West. He was actually using the West to sustain his personal interests.
This came to the fore after 2001 when Col. Kizza Besigye, a westerner, contested against Museveni. It rubbed him badly. Museveni was agitated so much that he percieved Besigye as a saboteur.
But Besigye's emergence helped the rest of the country understand that the West that they thought benefited from Museveni rule was actually not together with Museveni.
A section of westerners especially Bakiga [ Besigye's tribe] were also now treated with suspicion. And because Museveni's weapon against Ugandans who speak out againts him is mainly economic starvation, the Bakiga also felt the segregation. This was more manifest in security jobs.
Slowly but surely, the West began to feel they were not the insiders they had perceived themselves to be.
The Banyoro, Batooro, Bafumbira and Bakongo also began to see themselves like Easterners and northerners distanced from Museveni's dining table.
While this development was not openly discussed because Museveni would unleash security on anyone who dared,  the feeling grew in the west that  although all westerners were equal, some were more equal than others.
This left Museveni silently resented. He tried to build his scheme now around the Banyankole. Soon, the Banyankole actually realised that it was the Bahima who were in the inner circle. The reason is that wrongdoers are usually comfortable dealing with people they trust. They are always suspicious of those they see as outsiders.
But even among the Bahima, there are murmurs that only those from Museveni's clan were drinking the milk like the pigs in Animal Farm.
Note that the people got to realise Museveni's scheme after they saw social infrastructure decay and life getting harder for the ordinary people yet whoever was closer to Museveni, enjoyed luxury. They owned huge businesses. Some run them on behalf of the First Family.
The continous revealation of who Museveni truly is, has left the President irritable. He has noticed that the whole economy rotates around him and his kith and keen. Anger against him has accumulated.
He is trying as much to suffocate any voice that speaks contrary to his.
So, when you see Mambas and all sorts of sophisticated ammunition uleashed on unarmed civilians, its just the begining of trouble.
As Museveni fails to fix the economy [ largely because he benefits from a distorted one], he is going to become more vicious. The last stage of his dictatorship will be open killing of anyone who opposes him.
Dont be suprised one day to hear people are being shot by boda boda riders or are being picked in their houses and never to be traced.  He will reach a stage of not hiding anything. That is what dictators do.

First Family divided over new Cabinet

As the Opposition politicians shake the ruling government with their walk-to-work campaign, the First Family is more concerned about who gets what in the next Cabinet.
My investigation shows that the President is trying to put together his new Cabinet but he is facing challenges from within. The biggest challenge is how to accommodate the interests of his own people.
Apparently, Yoweri Museveni is having hard time with his wife Janet who is also State minister for the poverty ridden Karamoja sub region.
Sources say that Ms Janet and her children, have given Mr Museveni one thing to note while naming the new Cabinet: Avoid people who have stolen state resources in the name of the First Family.
It is said that Janet and her children including Lt. Col. Muhoozi Kainerugaba and the sons-in-law, want Museveni to abandon some of his long time political allies arguing that they have reportedly used the First Family to do dirty things and get away with it.
The family is pushing Museveni to sack all of them using the pretext of the Chogm report which implicated them.
Among those Janet and family are eyeing to be dropped from Cabinet include Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa, Works boss John Nasasira, Security minister Amama Mbabazi and Vice President Prof. Gilbert Bukenya. According to sources, Janet reportedly wants her husband to get a new calibre of politicians to work with but Mr Museveni  has reportdedly asked the family to allow him return some of the ministers to Cabinet at least for two years then he drops them in the reshuffle.
Sources say that Museveni is scared of dropping the said politicians because they know alot of secrets about him. Although Janet's reasoning is that many of the ministers were doing dirty things and go away with it in the name of being close to the First Family, some say she has no choice but to work with the said ministers because, they, indeed helped the First Family in one way or the other.
Analysts are particulary concerned as to why Janet would urge her husband to drop Mr Kutesa whose daughter is married to Col. Muhoozi. Kutesa is also seen by many as the man who has educated Janet on how to do business. Speculation is that the two could have disagreed on a business deal.
Janet. Mr Kutesa is a seasoned businessman and politician  both hated and loved in equal measure who is not shy to make his cash but never meddles in funny political wars like most NRM cadres do.
Like Kutesa, Mr Nasasira is also viewed as close to the First Family but political maneuvers against him have of recent intensified. Sources say if he is to remain in Cabinet, he should be given a docket outside works.

Friday, 15 April 2011

200bn energy funds diverted, Onek at war with Norwegian firms

Power outages are back. Although many citizens have not noticed this, I have held discussions with some senior technocrats in government and they tell me that other than the Shs605bn supplementary budget passed and diverted to fund President Yoweri Museveni's re-election, another Shs200bn meant for subsidising thermal power generation, was also diverted and stolen.
Apparently, most thermal power plants are operating below capacity and therefore, unable to generate enough power. This explains why UMEME, the sole energy distributor, is at a loss on what to tell the consumers.
They have instead decided to cut power supply to some areas, a move that in the past generated alot of  heat from the stressed consumers.
The energy sector, which President Museveni keeps saying is the mover of the country's economy, is unfortunately the one where the government's chief Mafia reside. Several government officials make huge deals in this sector.
The technocrats tell me that they are lost for words. They cannot explain why there is power outages [ locally known as loadshedding] now yet the country has several thermal power plants that were set up as an emergency response in 2005 when the power outages were atributed to the low water levels in Lake Victoria. This time, the water levels are Okay but the thermal power plants have not been subsidised. The money obviously diverted to politics and most of it stolen.
Meanwhile, the rapacious Energy Minister Hillary Onek has again put on hold the award of contracts to firms to build the Karuma Power Dam. Onek whose hatred for Norwegian firms is an open secret, has reportedly asked the Uganda Electricity Generation Company which was handling the tendering process, not to open the bids. The reason for this directive is because firms of his choice were not qualified.
Mr Onek ran into trouble with Norwegian firms after he entered into partnership with Norplan to form Norpak with the aim of building Karuma power Dam but the project fell through for lack of money. The two parties later disgareed over sharing of  US $3.3 million compensation by the government for their intellectual rights. Its said that the minister wanted Norplan to give him a sizeable cut but the norwegian gave peanuts.
Because of this, most Norwegian firms engaged in Energy, are having difficult times with Minister Onek.

IGG probes ex-VP Kazibwe

Ms Specioza Kazibwe, the former Vice President has been asked to explain her alleged mismanagement and financial indiscipline at the Microfinance support centre.
Ms Kazibwe who chairs the MSC board faces several accusations including her alleged drawing of “millions of shillings in allowances for fake foreign trips from the company coffers.”
In a letter dated March 28 to the ex-VP, the Inspector General of Government outlines a host of allegations against her and demands that Ms Kazibwe responds to them with documents “that we may consider relevant to the inquiry.”
The board she leads is also accused of meeting monthly to draw allowances instead of the statutory quarterly meetings.
“Further to that, the board has a full-time office at the MSC offices in Kololo with the chairperson sitting there at least once every week,” reads the letter signed by David Makumbi, the director of Ombudsman affairs in the IGG, “And that you draw allowances of 500.000 [five hundred thousand shillings] every day you step in the office as a board member even when you simply come to check for your personal mails or do private work.”
Other members of the Kazibwe led board are Tim Lwanga, the former Ethics minister, Mutebi Kityo, an ex-MP, Mr Charles Ogol from the Finance ministry, Mr Twino Musinguzi and Iggy Rwabukuku.
The board is accused of unethical conduct after they reportedly appointed irregularly one of the board members to a senior management position.
According to the IGG’s letter signed by David Makumbi, the board irregularly appointed Iggy Rwabukuku as a deputy executive director without following the relevant guidelines and that he does not have the requisite academic qualifications for the job.
Mr Rwabukuku is now the acting executive director after the substantive boss Charles Byanyima was reportedly sacked because he stood on the board’s way to the company till.
“…the current acting executive director was appointed a Deputy Executive Director but served a probation period of only three months and he was confirmed, and thereafter, the board hurriedly amended the Human Resource manual to cover up the irregularities,” reads the letter.
According to the IGG’s letter, “ two positions of Deputy executive directors were allegedly created to cater for Mr Iggy Rwabukuku, a former member of the board of directors who had failed the interviews for the position of deputy executive director.”
Results of the interviews of candidates for the post show that the best candidate was Mr Wilson Wamatsembe who scored 75.5 per cent against Mr Rwabukuku who got 65.75 percent. The third applicant, Mr Asaph Muhanguzi got 60.5 per cent and was written off by the experts.
The interviews were conducted by five management experts at Uganda Management Institute. In their report, the experts said Mr Wamatsembe, 48 years, currently employed as head of development services at the microfinance centre had the requisite academic qualifications and experience.
“He made an impressive presentation, answered technical questions and understands the job requirements,” reads the report, adding: “He is ranked and recommended as the best candidate for the post of Deputy Executive Director.”
In the same report, a copy of which this reporter has obtained, the experts said Mr Rwabukuku, 57 years, holds an MBA in Finance and Accounting of Kampala International University obtained in 2008. He also understood the job requirements and made good presentation.
“However, the panel noted the following: Mr Rwabukuku lacks the first degree, holds a certificate in Banking of Institute of banking and the candidate may experience adjustment problems considering the fact that he is moving from the Board level to Operations,” reads the report.
In the IGG letter, Ms Kazibwe led board was accused of trying to advance a loan of Shs1.5billion to the staff Sacco yet the liability limit approved by the Registrar of Cooperatives was only Shs150million. “ And that the purpose of advancing the huge sum of money was to enable the Board members misuse the money,” reads the letter, “ Further to that, when this was rejected, the chairperson of the Sacco Mr Paul Agaba was irregularly dismissed…”
Mr Makumbi told this reporter on Friday that: “ It’s true there is some inquiry going on. We are in the process of investigation of the allegations you see in the letter.”
He promised “ a very exhaustive inquiry” adding that Ms Kazibwe had not responded to his letter but that he would send inspectorate officers to interview her. “ We have had a spate of complaints like that but none as detailed as that one.” Four two weeks attempts to reach Ms Kazibwe failed.
The ex-VP, who benefited from the state scholarship of Shs2.5billion for her PhD studies after she was dropped from cabinet, is also accused of borrowing without paying from small Saccos like Dundu Sacco in Mukono where she reportedly picked Shs3million but never paid back.
“That the chairperson of the Board of Directors allegedly manages the company like her personal shop and directs things to be done her way and this has created conflict with the substantive executive director who is strict on policy and procedure,” reads the Ombudsman’s letter.
It also raises concern that Ms Kazibwe suspended Mr Byanyima because she needed divert money from the Microfinance support centre to a shadowy Busoga People’s Forum, a political organization she headed during presidential campaigns.
Finance ministry which supervises the MSC told this reporter that they were aware of the allegations against the ex-VP.
“An email was sent to us containing those allegations and we were looking into it,” said Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the deputy Secretary to the Treasury.
He added: “I was not aware the IGG has opened investigations but I am aware of the allegations; the IGG report will give us away forward,” he said.
The MSC was started by the government as a vehicle through which Saccos could obtain funds in a move to promote Cooperatives and enhance household incomes. But has turned out to be an eating ground for failed politicians.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Shs40million for MPs in offing

Inflation might be causing you headache but this story might even worsen it. How on earth can an MP in a banana republic like Uganda pocket Shs40million after every 30 days of dodging plenary sessions in Parliament?
But the reality is that the MPs are already discussing the issue of increasing their pay. The discussion is spearheaded by the old MPs who have returned to the House after the recent elections. The idea is that the new MPs are broke and are expected to support the move.
The new salary will only benefit the next parliament. Sources in the Treasury have told me that the matter has gained momentum but they are wondering how to implement such a need from the political class.
The new salary is actually instigated by the ministers who are aware that if the new salary passes, they would benefit more than ordinary MPs.
Currently, MPs get Shs13million before tax while Ministers get between Shs16 to 18 million. Ministers earn as MPs then are also paid responsibility allowance, airtime, fuel etc by the government. This means that if the MPs pay increases, automatically the allowances for ministers also increase.
Technocrats worry that as  long as the Constitution is not ammended to provide for an independent commission to determine pay for politicians, the taxpayer will pay through the nose for the comfort of the political class.
The new salary demand is likely to get the nod of President Museveni who will reportedly use that to make parliament endorse many of his pending projects. The idea is to bring such projects on Order paper  nearly at the same time with the new wage proposal.

From UCB to NRM House

New information suggests that the buidling that used to be the headquarters of  the defunct Uganda Commercial Bank could soon change hands and become the NRM or Movement House.
It is not easy to get documentary evidence to this but sources usually prividleged to insider dealings of the NRM and the government, say that " things are cooking" and that city tycoon Karim Hirji could sell the building to the ruling party.
It is said that the tycoon is reportedly looking for the buyer because the building is not giving him returns. Others say its the NRM that has asked the tycoon to surrender the building for it to be turned into the party headquarters.
Part of the reasoning is that it would be good for NRM to take the House so as to dwarf the nearby Uganda House, which belongs to the Opposition UPC party. The latter boasts as the only party with a base as it picks handsome cash from the estate.
The NRM party has been toying with an idea of building a party headquarters. Some said land had been obtained in  the city outskirt of Nsambya while others said a plot Opposite the controversial Shimoni land was been acquired.
Funding was reported to be secured from China and other well-wishers. However, no Movement in that direction has taken place.
Now, I have been confidentially told that the top guns of the party want the imposing former UCB now Cham Towers.
Some believe that Karim wants to sell but the critics say that the building is actually going to the real owners officially. To the critics, Karim was a conduit by the ruling party. There is, however, no evidence yet.
During the sell of UCB, there was too much controversy on who really was the right buyer. Experts then argued that the lowest bidder took the deal hence the govenment was cheated as Stanbic bank took over. The bank later sold to Karim who now wants to give to the NRM party.
Money for the proposed purchase will reportedly come from the NSSF and that is why Richard Byarugaba, the current MD was given the job. Byarugaba is close to the Security Minister and NRM Secretary General Amama Mbabazi who is reportedly spearheading the Cham Towers project.
It is the failure to Cooperate with Mbabazi that led to the jailing of  David Chandi Jamwa after he later tried to implicate Mbabazi in a letter to the President regarding the Temangalo theft.
The NRM house project was meant to start during Jamwa's time but matters got worse. It is anticipated that something will happen before 2016 and Byarugaba must cooperate and surrender the Workers savings to the cause. We keep our ears to the ground.

Friday, 1 April 2011

How Museveni's family rule is taking shape

You might probably suspect that President Yoweri Museveni runs Uganda likes his personal farm which, he can, by will, pass onto any of his children as heir.
But those who ardently support him say his critics were the ones drawing such farfwetched conclusions. However, going by the recent elections, one can see the footprints of a man who intends to pass on Uganda to a member of his family and most probably the son Col. Muhoozi Kainerugaba [He is a quiet man by his nature].
This is how the plan works. President Museveni continues to be President at all costs, including of course rigging elections.
As this goes on, members of his family are slowly introduced in politics. Already, Muhoozi is militarily entrenched. He is also spreading his political influence through networks of youth. Muhoozi also funds some MPs to get into parlaiment. This is to create for him a political base such that when he finally announces his crossing to politics, he would already be running a network.
Other children especially the sons-in law, are already active in politics but are very discreet that they do not want to attract media attention now. Actually, while a lot of money was recently spent in campaigns, this money was firmly in the control of the sons-in law mostly Ephraim Kamuntu and Odrek Rwabwogo.
Anyone who needed cash, had to be in the good books of either Museveni or any of his family members.
As they traversed the country distributing cash for votes, the sons also built a network parallel from the official NRM party structures [ They faced stiff resistance from voters in some areas where they visited. Fo instance, in Kanyumu village in Kumi District, Kamuntu had to call security to rescue him after voters asked him not to attack their MP Patrick Amuriat; they also asked him to leave money with them because they knew he had money].
Anyway, this parallel network they are creating, is meant to serve the interests of the family rule.
This how they intend to achieve it. Aware that the country is run on a cash economy meaning that without hard cash no one finds life easy,  Museveni's family has consolidated its grip on the money. They have also realised that social services must be provided in bits so that people continue relying on money to get services.
This clientele type of manangement, according to Museveni's model adopted from  South Korea and China, is intended to keep people reliant on the government which in Uganda's case is Museveni and his family.
To create a class of few rich people heavily linked to the First Family is the ultimate aim.
To achieve that, Museveni is seriously pushing for the lowering of the retirement age to 55. But because that one is facing resistance, Museveni has ordered the Prime Minister to write a circular asking all senior civil servants to be put on 6 month contracts. Covered in this is to force the civil service to deliver but the political mission is to get rid of some civil servants to create jobs for young cadres who will help propagate the family rule.
And civil servants who have already made their money are going to be placed on servaillance in case they use the money to support Opposition activities.
Museveni also hopes to use oil money to distribute wealth to the network that will  help him achieve his family rule. Therefore, Ugandans are going to face hard life even with oil money flowing.
The only worry for Museveni is that new appraoch the West has adopted in fighting African dictators. My sources say the big man is actually worried that the Americans could destroy his dreams.
To try to please Americans, he is willing to do anything  for them so that they pay a deaf ear to Ugandan Opposition. Meanwhile, he is also thinking about putting a weakling as Uganda's President after him such that his son takes over later to give it legimimacy that the son got it like any other person.
Its the choice of whom to handover power ton later give to his son that is giving Museveni sleepless nights.
My sources say that increasingly, he has few people to trust in his party. Therefore, things to watch are the people he appoints to his Cabinet. Pundits say the more weaklings he gives juicy jobs, the more clear his succession plans will be.