UNAA: Mugeni’s firm stance as he declines to appear before RDC


Author: James William Mugeni

Etibot (executive secretary), sources say is working closely with some BoT members to promote their agenda and step on the ways of those who oppose their mission.

Kampala – 11, June 2021: Mr James William Mugeni who is the Uganda North America Association (UNAA) councilor for Central Plains, says he is not going to appear before the UNAA Rules and Disciplinary Committee (RDC) to answer complaints related to: misconduct and sharing association’s information to media in Uganda.

This follows an invitation letter dated 9, June 2021 to Mugeni by RDC chairperson, Moses R. Wilson. “As required by RDC guidelines, you are invited to attend a scheduled meeting of the RDC this coming Sunday June 13, starting at 5pm Pacific Time (6pm Mountain,…) to present your rebuttal to this case. You will be given a total of 5mins to make your presentation…”

The RDC chairperson also said Mr Etibot “has been invited to the same meeting and will be given equal time present his case”.

However, in his letter to the chairperson RDC, dated 10, June 2021, Mr Mugeni defended himself, and responded to UNAA’s executive secretary petition again him to UNAA Board of Trustees (BoT).

Etibot Lambert is the executive secretary who wants councilor Mugeni expelled from UNAA.

Etibot, sources say is working closely with some BoT members to promote their agenda and step on the ways of those who oppose their mission.

In regards to a summon to defend himself before the RDC, Mugeni had this to communicate. He terms it “a rebuttal”.

Dear All,
I respond to Mr. Etibot’s petition by tracing the origins of this simmering conundrum and consequently demonstrate that Mr. Etibot Lambert is the cause of this disagreement in the first place by his failings to rectify and own up and why we are this far.

I had to highlight pertinent issues afflicting UNAA administration and bring to the fore what appears in many people’s conscious to be deliberate machinations and omissions by the UNAA Secretary General Mr. Etibot Lambert.

This I did because of the love I have for an organization that unites us courtesy of our common origins and rooted in our background as Ugandans who found themselves in the Diaspora very far away from home.

The published articles cited in the petition are just but mere highlights meant to shed light on the maladie, fundamentally afflicting aspects of the running of UNAA affairs. I hope to address them while presenting this rebuttal or at an appropriate time.

It is also good to note that the pushy methods of individuals who think they must own us is clearly exhibited in the chairman RDC as he has hastily written to me to appear before him even after council expressed itself over my allegedly misconduct and gave an administrative position. This will only create the more wrangles that UNAA is known to be.

The matters raised are important in the life of this would be formidable organization UNAA, to be simply swept under the carpet or wished away by ostracising and weighing down on a member who brings these issues to the surface in a noble attempt to better the organization.

In our modern world and in organizations, issues come up and when they do, they are resolved for the good of all. A clear headed, people centered leadership pays attention to issues raised by members. By pointing out that things are not adding up and they ought to change for the better as a matter of fact and urgency cannot be reason for witch hunting another member.

My appearance here is a testimony to the type of intolerance which rarely moves communities forward.
UNAA purportedly to be an organization uniting all Ugandans living in North America and beyond can do much better if things were run for the benefit of all. The deliberate machinations by the Secretary General as highlighted can only be an outcome of selfish motivations on his part. These are the kind of strange paradoxes of leadership causing all manner of perils and challenges to our communities back home in our mother country Uganda.

Personalization of commonalities without communalization of personal things!

The articles quoted are meant to make UNAA a better organization where the leadership is accountable and transparent to the led. A leader who hides behind any other pretenses to evade these categorical imperatives is at heart an enemy of the people he or she purports to serve.

In humility, I sought to join hands in this organization that unites us and give it my best. In the circumstances, i have done my best to represent Ugandans living in the Central Plains and I have done it diligently suffice to say I did not know I hyped UNAA.

We may all have our highs and our lows, our bests and our worsts, and although I reckon that none is perfect except through a constant renewal of our minds, I naturally have issues with leaders who never want to listen to subordinates however well-intentioned and never accept positive criticism as a creative force in the onward match of transformation.

An inward looking leader who brooks no alternative ideas, content with the sameness of things in an ever changing flux of things, sooner or later becomes a liability, magnifying their fears and sense of insecurity to turn friends into foes.

These form of despotic tendencies cannot be allowed a room to become part of the great heritage we are learning from the free world here in America.

An attempt to muzzle a member pointing out blatant wrongs is the lowest ebb any genuine leader can descend to! It is descending into the unforgiving abyss of structural incompetence. This explains much of the posturing Mr. Etibot is exhibiting in broad day light.

Now instead of having an honest discourse and bold discussions over the salient issues raised, Mr. Etibot in his wisdom has chosen the shortest and most convenient route available to him. He has chosen the path of least resistance seeking to have me muzzled, neutralized and silenced! To his ears conflict resolution concepts and negotiation tools for managing a modern and mosaic organization like UNAA sounds like a very strange music from an alien land and looks he hates it like a plague.

In my life, I have learnt to say no to dictators and dictatorships in whatever and wherever form and my stay in America has reinforced that position. I would rather Mr. Etibot embraces positions and attitudes which enhance development of the members in ways that unlock potential, creativity and a sense of purpose.

Expelling, suspending, restraining or doing whatever he feels like with me, using the unfettered powers won’t erase the obvious failings some of which I will enumerate. But before that let me refer you to links to articles written about UNAA.

https://www.observer.ug/component/content/article?id=32315:ugandans-in-america-fight- (2014)

I joined UNAA in 2019 hence an organization wrangling.

Opinion: Kampala, Give UNAA a Different Kind of Attention! (nilepost.co.ug) Written by the deputy speaker and member of the Council.
https://ugandaradionetwork.net/story/infighting-threatens-to-tear-unaa

Those are links to articles talking about the grievances levelled against UNAA meaning I am not the only one who is seeing what is happening. As to why it can only be me to answer charges stemming from the failings of UNAA leadership will be a topic for another day.

Obvious failings that I have observed in two years

Unending leadership wrangles dogging UNAA involving different arms of UNAA. Latest council versus chairman RDC; the executive versus council.

Lack of financial accountability. The executive gave a budget six and a half months late! They signed a hotel contract without approval from Council.

Perennial rigging of elections to subvert the mandate of the members. In Chicago it took more than five hours to declare winners.

Interference in the electoral process registration, display of register, etc.

Ongoing interference by the executive and BoT on the electoral process.

Response to charges regarding language

Unfit Person / Unfit Leader;
By definition; an unfit person is a person who is not in good condition, not qualified, not proper, not stable, or not acceptable. Going by these benchmarks, I am a person of sound mind, of proper and stable character which is not disputed or questioned by employers, constituent members, and the Council members.

In my calibrated view to be an unfit UNAA leader according to the constitution, one must have failed the annual membership fee, or have a criminal record, or fail to attend to the designated place of authority. I have done that is required of me diligently and have records to substantiate this.

Intention to grow UNAA. Istrongly have all the good intentions to grow UNAA to great heights. The more reason I point out illegal activities that happen within UNAA so that leaders above can act and make this organization the best. I have on numerous occasions submitted to business forum and projects that I fundraise for back at home as a representative of UNAA in the Central Plains, and also in my own individual capacity. The activities mentioned above attest to a leader who loves and carries his organization at heart.

Chat Groups
We have been told time without number by the UNAA president herself and I quote “UNAA owns no Whatsapp Group” therefore, it is inappropriate for a matter to come before you because the said Whatsapp group is not an official group at all.

We all acknowledge that nor have rules or regulations ever been signed for the dos and the don’ts of this group. My understanding is that this is an interactive group where one can express their views and those in disagreement respond to keep the debates moving.

And indeed one may feel at liberty to write about the organisation, about our country Uganda, about any current affairs or any other topic that may be of interest.

Consequently, any communications deemed derogatory to the organisation should be disregarded.

Crooks
By definition, a crook is a dishonest person. Cambridge English dictionary refers to crooked politician as a person who cheats and steals. Now some members are busy campaigning without even official guidelines.

They have sabotaged the bringing up of the guidelines yet they are campaigning. If this is not cheating then what else could it be. A stuffed the voters register Seems in the offing since the process is not transparent at all.

UNAA is run as a “funeral service home”

I strongly feel the only thing the UNAA president wants us to know about and participate in, is the collection of condolence fee (Mabugo) and advertising every person who has died. While i am not opposed to this, I would like us to appreciate that we can exist as an organisation beyond the ends of mobilizing us only for funerals.

Usually, when we ask about other organisational issues, the president goes quiet or brings up other issues to divert attention and trivialize serious matters regarding the running of UNAA.

Idiot

Who is an “idiot”? And under what circumstances does one refer to another as an idiot?

In an attempt to respond to this charge, an idiot is a stupid person, or a person of low intelligence. According to the medical dictionary an idiot is a week minded person.

Why is this a parallel for our UNAA leaders referred to in Mr. Etibot’s letter?

These people hear the matters raised over and over again but do not respond and neither do they change their leadership ways in the manner in which they run the affairs of UNAA.

Another aspect of the same issue is that when one continues to do the same wrong thing repeatedly, if it is inadvertent then that someone is called an imbecile.

If the action is willful, we may look for another description.
At one point I wrote that these people think that the other members of UNAA are idiots but we have proved that we are not idiots by raising these concerns in all forms possible until they get the attention they truly deserve.

In a nutshell, when one calls another an idiot the most appropriate course of action is for someone referred to as an idiot to prove himself or herself otherwise.

Status of BoT Chairman

It is proven that Chairman BoTs’ term in office expired in 2020, since he was elected and confirmed in 2018. No extension orders or vote or recommendations of the same to Council has ever been done!

However, this person “Chairman” continues to write, sign and transact business as Chairman BoT yet his term of office has long expired as per the 2010 UNAA Constitution.

It is my considered view that justice will be served for all the members of UNAA and I reiterate that Mr. Etibot and his ally’s move beyond aspects of witchhunting individuals whom they wrongly perceive as “enemies” and actively seek to develop and align members’ sense of purpose with UNAA’s mission.

Apart from merely accusing me on very flimsy grounds, I request of you to ask Mr. Etibot to tell the members about what motivations are behind the goings on in interfering with the electoral process. To disfranchise members? Dis empower them? Or discourage them all together. Is it a selfish mindset? Or any other phenomenon. Let this inquiry come to the real bottom of these issues for an enduring solution.

To me and other likeminded members, the development of UNAA has to be less about a single individual like Mr. Etobot and more about all of us. True leadership here has to be measured in the service rendered to the development of others and not in how many people a leader has alienated and silenced.

In conclusion, Mr. Etibot and allies may succeed in relegating me from my fellow Ugandans leaving in North America, but it won’t be long before the very many people he seeks to dis empower to rediscover their locus and get together for the common good of UNAA and our mother land Uganda.

I will always remain inspired by leaders whose actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, achieve more and become more. It is not about exacting one’s self but about lifting others and working for the common good of all.

I rest my case thank you very much.

James William Mugeni
Medical Clinical Officer/Certified Public Manager
Council Member UNAA-Central Plains.
515-346-5317


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