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    OPINION: Debate On The Speaker’s And Deputy Speaker’s Cars Has Lost Direction….

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    Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary

    Public discourse on new cars for the Speaker of Parliament and the Deputy Speaker is welcome. However, it is losing direction. The discussion is simply enraging sections of the public without making them the wiser and that is unhelpful for the Uganda we are building and the immediate needs of the people.

    One could even say that this is a small matter but Ugandans have freedom of speech and a right to know. It’s also understandable because of the reality of the economy under stress which is rendering basic commodities unaffordable to many Ugandans.

    Similar “benz” commentary has been, severally, extended to the President’s official vehicle(s) and motorcade, and other expenditure related to his office. But the public, for those who care, is not told the truth. They are only told half-truths if not straight lies by those who want them to hate the President and the Government. Sometimes, there are no such acquisitions going on but you find the public with a different account of what is going on.

    First of all, all statutory expenditure is well-laid out and governed by the appropriate procurement laws. All expenditure is appropriated openly by Parliament, with details of items and the cost implication noted. Periodically, accountability for allocated funds is made, and as far as I know, accountability queries are not what is igniting the raging debate on the high- end cars.

    The debate has been politicised and personalised. Why? For a start, these are not personal assets but assets of the Government of Uganda. They are transferable to whoever next fills the office.

    Also, the Government institutional procurement process is not like individual shopping experiences where one can make decisions at the till. The process is structured and, almost, always, rigid. It’s also time-consuming and bound.

    If the cars are coming in now, the process of procuring them must have started a while back, before the economy got problems. It cannot be that in the midst of the hardships, the Government sat down and said “there is extra money here. Let us spend it.”

    It’s, therefore, incorrect to relate the procurement to what is happening now because nobody knew that there would be war in Europe to affect supply chains, and nobody knew that Covid-19 would still make life difficult.

    Nevertheless, the “complaints” are healthy, that is, taking into consideration the fact that tax payers have a say in how their tax money is utilised and, also, that Government has been applying cost-cutting measures in order to save money for the most critical sectors including health, education, infrastructure, security and so on. President Museveni has been on top of the class in advocating frugal practices where even he only travels where it is absolutely necessary. Many of the meetings he conducts on zoom or delegate officials who are already in particular areas or countries to avoid duplication of roles.

    Expenditure of activities such as workshops, printing, large public functions and such like has been significantly cut. The Ministry of Finance should educate the public more on such measures and where the money has been channeled.

    As Government, the main idea should be about continuously finding and promoting ways to improve the wellbeing and livelihoods of citizens regardless of the factors at play, and I believe that the hardships of the recent past and today are bringing the urgency of such action to the fore. People need services and they need them now! The problem is not one benz or two but the need to feel accommodated in the economy and that is what the President is constantly promoting and championing measures to achieve.

    The best way to unite Ugandans is to get more and more of them into the money economy, wherein they will be active participants, and more enlightened to know how the Government works.

    Making Ugandans producers will automatically uplift them and insulate them economically. As already explained by the President, the high commodity prices of today are partly due to external factors.

    Every Ugandan should aspire to produce something for self-reliance and for their own pockets. The culture of working for ‘ekida kyonka’” (the stomach alone) or not producing anything at all means that no matter how much Government designs policies for empowerment and puts money into the hands of people, only a few will reach their full potential of driving benzes, whether personal or by virtue of their status.

    Government communicators should also take a very proactive stance. Some of these things, if they are explained-not defending but giving an informed account-can be understood by the public. Absence of information in the public domain creates a vacuum for speculation and rumours, driven by individuals with personal aims and inadequacies. Whichever motivations, government communicators should stand to be counted and defuse the distortions ahead of time.

    The latter function goes with a need for continuous sensitisation of the public on Government operations and, in particular, terms and entitlements that go with different offices and why. What is contained in public standing orders and what are the responsibilities accompanying different roles that necessitate acquisition of certain kinds of transportation? What is the functional value of these machines and cost-benefit projection? What are the features on board and out of board?

    Alternatively, let the necessary provisions be amended so that procurements regarded as “extravagant and extra to necessity” are weeded out. It does not require a change of Government to do that. In short, let us have organised and actionable discussion rather than sensationalism and malice!

     

    Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary

    Contact: faruk.kirunda@statehouse.go.ug

    0776980486/0702980486

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    NATIONAL

    How I Saved Gen Saleh From Being Punched By Dr. Kiggundu Over Greenland Bank Closure And Why M7 Banned Mambo Bado – Veteran Radio Talk show Host Nsereko Narrates …

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    Radio talk show host Meddie Nsereko. Inset is Gen. Saleh (top L) and President Museveni (bottom L)

    Veteran radio talk show host Meddie Nsereko Ssebuliba has narrated how he saved now Operation Wealth Creation boss Gen. Salim Saleh from being punched by the late Dr. Suleiman Kiggundu over the Greenland bank closure.

    The CBS FM Radio presenter disclosed that, “For the last 26 years which I have spent here moderating political talk shows, I have seen a lot of things that have surprised me, but I will never forget the two talk shows which put me in tension. One was when I hosted late Dr. Kiggundu and Gen. Salim Saleh over the closure of Greenland bank, and another is when I hosted President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Mambo Bado.”

    He revealed that in the early 2000s, the closure of Greenland bank was a very big topic of discussion since many business people both big and small were customers to the bank.

    Nsereko re-counted that as words filled with bitterness and anger were being exchanged between Dr. Kiggundu and Gen. Saleh’s camps, he was forced with approval from the producers of ‘Kkiriza oba ggana’ talk show to invite both Saleh and Kiggundu to a debate live on radio to explain their issues.

    Nsereko related that Gen. Saleh was the first to arrive at Bulange Mengo, the headquarters of CBS radio. A few minutes to 7pm, Dr. Kiggundu also arrived. But when he looked at Gen. Saleh he quickly lost his temper and started throwing strong abusive words at him.

    “Kigundu told me, Nsereko, I cannot sit in the same room with that man who has double standards, let me go. The man was very bitter and I understood his bitterness but to calm him down, I greeted him in Islam. I said, Dr. Salaam-Alaikum, let us enter the studio, he accepted and we entered the studio. We found Gen. Saleh already seated inside,” he said.

    He narrated that when Dr. Kiggundu looked at Saleh he lost his temper again and tried to punch him.

    “He grabbed him but I pleaded with him not to fight. When the talk show started, Dr. Kiggundu accused Gen. Saleh of betraying his loyalty because he supported them in the bush and even when they had just captured power, he kept on financially supporting them but it’s a pity that they paid him by taking his bank,” Nsereko divulged.

    Nsereko said that Dr. Kiggundu also accused Gen. Saleh of being bad hearted especially towards Baganda and that’s why he spearheaded the move to impoverish him and fraudulently took his bank.

    Nsereko said that in his defense, Gen. Saleh denied all the allegations insisting that it was Bank of Uganda that sold Greenland bank not him.

    Nsereko asserted that the second show that put him on tension was during the 2006 election.

    He narrated that because Besigye was breathing down President Museveni’s neck, towards the 2006 presidential elections, Museveni decided to appear on CBS’s Mambo Bado political talk show.

    By then, Mambo Bado was the hottest and most listened to political talk show in the country.

    Museveni complained that the show was full of opposition supporters who use the platform to abuse him. However, CBS radio management told him that they are not against him but his people don’t want to appear on talk shows to counteract opposition’s allegations.

    “President Museveni told me, ‘You have been telling me that my people fear these opposition people, now I have come to talk for myself’,” Nsereko quoted Museveni’s opening remarks.

    He said that after Museveni’s long submissions, he invited other people to counter his submissions and among them was a one Nakunda Muwanga who told the president that he is a dictator who is competing for president after tying the hands and legs of those competing against him.

    Nsereko narrated that Museveni was very bitter with Muwanga’s submission and a few days later, Mambo Bado talk show was banned by the Uganda Communication Commission.

    He added that Dr. Kizza Besigye, Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde, Gen. David Sejusa are the other prominent people who put him in a difficult position behind the microphone.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    CRIME

    CID Arrests 24: How They Robed Investors, Financed ADF Terrorism Activities In DRC And Uganda…

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    Some of the suspects

    Uganda Police spokesperson CP Fred Enanga has disclosed that the Directorate of Crime Intelligence (CID) has arrested 24 suspects who form part of a criminal network, involved in the financing of ADF terrorism activities, in the DRC and in Uganda.

    In a statement released today, Enanga said that, “those arrested are Kyeyune Isma alias Ismail alias Beckam alias Buguman alias Musilamu alias Mohammad a 30 year old, boda-boda rider and a resident of Bulaga- Nakabugo and Kinamundu villages in Wakiso District, who was recruited in the ADF ranks in 2021, by Adam Matovu alias Manhajji alias Musa Muko from Kalerwe.

    “The task team also arrested Musa Mubiru alias Musilamu alias Professor alias Sheikh alias Nathan; Kiiza Patrick alias Pato; Kinene Hamis alias Mis and Wadimba Jackson alias Sejusa. Together with others, they paid allegiance to the ADF and admitted to conspiring with others, to stage robberies of aggravated nature. The proceeds were being used to finance ADF activities (including recruitment of future terrorist fighter), and also cover welfare costs of families of ADF fighters.”

    He added that the two suspects were trained in combat and martial art skills from Kawempe- Ttula, together with Ajode, Musa Kabanda alias Musomesa and Mwebe, who were arrested recently from the ADF hub in Luwero.

    “During the disruptive operations, two notorious gang leaders, were fatally wounded, one while resisting arrest and the other during a foiled robbery. One of them was identified as; Tomusange Farouk alias Otto alias Juma Otti alias Ssebaduka Ramadhan alias Abdulaziz Nsubuga.

    “His gang participated in the robbery of Ugx 300m, from Mohammad Ahmed, a Somali businessman at Equatorial Hotel on 25.05.2020, they robbed Her Worship Gladys Kamasanyu at Green Hill Academy on 17.07.2021; robbed Ugx 400m from Lee Yin Tang, a Chinese Businessman along Nkurumah road, robbed JUWAN LAL, an Indian businessman on the 24.07.2022, along Mawanda road; on the 9.02.2021, they robbed 100.000 Euros from Kushamohan Konnakutty, an Indian businessman at the Jinja Road Traffic junction, among others,” he added.

    “The second gang leader, identified as Mugalu Ibra alias Nakwero, was shot dead during a foiled robbery at Old Kampala in Mengo on the 2.06.2022. The former convict was involved in the robbery of Ugx 150m and two mobile phones from Gitawu Abdallah, a Kenyan businessman along Apollo Kaggwa road; robbed USD 4500 and Ugx 20m, from KE QIU FANG MA LEE, a Chinese businessman; also robbed 3 separate South Sudanese business persons at Kawaala (USD 80.000); Bakuli Mengo (USD 30.000); Kasubi – Namungoona (USD 10.000).”

    Enanga divulged that the criminal gang network conducted effective surveillance against foreign businessmen transporting cash, whom they attacked at suitable get-away points.

    “They further utilized various methods of secret communication to conceal their criminal activities. Several exhibits of motorcycles, mobile phones and documents were recovered,” Enanga said.

     

    By Grapevine Reporter

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    NATIONAL

    EC’s Justice Byabakama Accused Of Meeting Bobi Wine’s NUP Leaders At Night…

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    NUP leader Bobi Wine (R) and EC boss Byabakama (L)

    Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama, the chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) has been accused of meeting Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu alias Bobi Wine’s top National Unity Platform (NUP) Leadership at night.

    Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo disclosed that EC should be investigated over allegation that on Tuesday this week, Byabakama met a team from Kamwokya led by David Lewis Rubongoya, the Secretary General.

    Ofwono added that EC’s behaviour in the ongoing fight between Bobi Wine’s Kamwokya based NUP and Moses Nkonge Kibalama’s Lubaga base over the ownership of the party is questionable and should be probed.

    He wondered why EC bosses were very fast to respond to Kibalama’s letter written to them over the new changes in the leadership of their party when it takes them years to respond to other political parties’ letters.

    Opondo was emphasising allegations made by Gideon Tugume, the Kibalama faction secretary for information on NBS tv’s frontline talkshow.

    Tugume claimed that they have enough evidence that before EC responded to their letter, they first met Rubongoya’s team at night.

    “The Electoral Commission acted on forgeries; we know the things that happened before that letter was released.

    “The good thing cameras are installed at EC, we challenge them to retrieve the footage captured on Tuesday night to dispel rumours that Rubongoya was not at their offices. What did they discuss at night?” Tugume challenged Justice Byabakama.

    He further challenged Justice Byabakama to make NUP’s constitution public like they do to other parties’ constitutions instead of hiding it.

    In defence of Bobi Wine’s NUP faction, Busiro East Member of Parliament, Medard Lubega Ssegona rubbished Tugume’s allegations and branded him a state mercenary.

    He explained that the only route Kibalama can use to take over NUP leadership is through a petition in Court which he vowed to challenge as a lawyer with the help of other party legal brains.

    On Wednesday, EC disowned Kibalama’s NUP faction insisting that Bobi Wine’s faction is the one that is legally recognised.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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