Why Museveni’s gov’t wired over shs367m to Ugandans in North America under UNAA
Ugandans back home are grappling with severe impacts of Covid-19 and high rate of unemployment. The latter has existed for decades while the former has affected world economies, making weaker nations to beg for grants and loans.
Kampala – 19, August 2021: In Uganda, the government has done so well in combating Covid-19 and President Museveni has been commended for his role and guidance towards containing the pandemic.
However, his government continues to waste resources and some government officials have been accused of corruption, among other deadly vices.
In 2019, the national debt of Uganda amounted to approximately 37.25 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It rose to 45.74% in 2020 with a total sum now standing at shillings 65trillion.
On June 28, 2021, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a 36-month arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Uganda in an amount equivalent to SDR722 million (200 percent of quota or about US$1 billion) to support the post-COVID-19 recovery and the authorities’ plan to increase households’ incomes and inclusive growth by fostering private sector development.
IMF says the approval of the ECF arrangement “enables immediate disbursement of about US$258 million, usable for budget support.
If we are a poor country, why are we too generous to an organisation outside the country? How did the generosity come about?
The government of Uganda grant to UNAA dates back to 2004 when the UNAA leadership at the time approached H.E President Yoweri Museveni during the 17th UNAA Convention in Seattle, Washington State and requested for financial assistance to help them organize conventions and mobilize the diaspora community for the latter‘s good.
The request, according to Ambassador Mull Ketende, was granted and from 2007 to 2014 government allocated and transferred to UNAA an annual grant of USD 20,000.
“During a visit to Dallas, Texas, in 2014 (immediately after the 27th UNAA Convention in San Diego), HE President Museveni was again requested by UNAA leadership and local diaspora leaders to increase the UNAA grant and to support local organizations,” he adds.
This request, he says, was granted and from 2015 to date the annual grant increased to US$ 100,000, broken down as USD 50,000 for the annual UNAA conventions and USD 50,000 annually for local organizations under the UNAA Community Development Fund.
In a July 29, 2021 letter to UNAA officials, Ambassador Mull reminded them that the grant funds are disbursed through the Embassy of Uganda in Washington D.C. “In the recently concluded FY 2020/2021 the Embassy, on 30th October 2020, remitted USD 50,000 to the UNAA Executive for the 33rd UNAA (virtual) Convention. The funds were acknowledged by the UNAA President through a letter dated November 5“, 2020.”
“However, disbursement of the Community Development Funds worth USD 50,000 (fifty thousand dollars only), part of the annual grant to UNAA for Financial Year 2020/2021, awaited finalization of revised guidelines by UNAA executive.”
The funds, and others wired previously have divided UNAA to “zero hope” – according to some sources.
- UNAA elections in LIMBO: Bazanye accuses BOT’s Agaba
- Embassy warns UNAA, exposes its leadership defect and ‘lack of coordination’
- UNAA: Recollecting mess, corruption and leadership defect from 2019
- 80% of 21 torture cases in courts pin security – says Human Rights Focus
Now, two weeks ago after government of Uganda got back their grants after UNAA had failed to show seriousness and handle issues of accountability, the same huge money has been remitted.
In his August 12, 2021 letter to UNAA President Henrietta Wamala Nairuba, Ambassador Mull Ketende wrote: “This is to inform you that Uganda Government grant of US$100,000 has been remitted to this Mission to be utilized as follows…”
- US$50,000 for UNAA Convention FY 2021-2022
- US$50,000 for UNAA Community Development Program Fund FY 2021-2022
The grant to UNAA is equivalent to Uganda shillings 367,126,828.80 million.
James William Mugeni, a Councillor for Central Plains, Ohio says, “What is there in this conversation for Ugandans other than the Kampala regime extending influence on us in the diaspora?”
Mugeni adds, “Just see how timely this money has come in; to USA when our children in Uganda are not going to school, when our hospitals are stuck in the mud. How low can people in USA be to receive this money for a convention? Ugandans in USA should be left to fund their own convention.”
“How do you justify this expenditure on UNAA from a nation desperately hanging on refugees from Afghanistan?”
Mugeni has since been removed from the upcoming elections and 33rd convention programmes for what UNAA BoT and RDC terms as “exposing UNAA to the media, among other claims”.
Speaking to this publication Tuesday, he says, think of an election where the executive secretary, Etibot Lambert is in charge of the voters’ registration, adding that the executive secretary is team Henrietta Nairuba – UNAA President. “Not even Uganda where we came from maintains such low standards.”
The EC would have relieved the incumbent executive secretary from manning the voter registration processes to avoid an obvious conflict of interest and unforeseen abuse of office, he tells this publication.
Whereas the grant to UNAA has been constant, one source says government was planning to stop it due to uproars back home.
Two, she says the coming up of Bobi Wine and his roots in America and within the Diaspora community made NRM to continue, especially supporting association like UNAA.
Officials from both the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs could not respond to our request for comments.