UGANDA’S JOURNEY ON CHECKBOOK POLITICS
Uganda’s journey on checkbook politics
“My people of Buyanja, you have made a bold statement, you have spoken. Thank you so much for believing in me. I am ready to continue serving you diligently as your member of parliament for Buyanja County (2021 – 2026)” was a tweet by Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
He attached a letter by the Electoral Commission declaring him as an unopposed candidate for Buyanja County. Social media was crammed with letters from different government institutions on 07th December 2020 indicating the withdrawal of Mr. Kyalimpa Paul from the race as Buyanja County MP where he was contesting as an independent candidate.
Kyalimpa who lost the NRM primary election to Hon Matia Kasaija cited violence, intimidation and rigging in the hotly contested election. His rival is now going to be his boss since he has been appointed Deputy Director General for the Uganda Investment Authority. Section 1 of the Investment Code Act 2019 defines a Minister as Minister responsible for Finance. The Investment Code Act 2019 goes on to declare that the Uganda Investment Authority shall be an agency of government under the supervision of the Minister – for this matter Minister in-charge of Finance.
Running for public office has really become another chip for individuals claiming some political clout to fleece unsuspecting Ugandans. The most important question is, how did we get into this situation? For anyone who has spent some time following the politics of this country, they can clearly notice how bad corruption has eaten up this good land. Needless to say, we have laws enacted to curb the beast of corruption and a number of bodies have even been set up both legally and in an ad hoc manner like the State House Anti-Corruption Unit.
Unfortunately, the biggest scandals always have a link to State House or the President himself. In the circumstances of Uganda’s politics have been relegated to corrupt and incompetent partakers to say the least. Of course that doesn’t mean that we are devoid of good and decent leaders or politicians or Ugandans.
In the year 2013, Maj Rubaramira Ruranga defected from the Forum for Democratic Change to National Resistance Movement (NRM) on account that it was only through NRM that he can advance his HIV/AIDS advocacy. Ambassador Henry Mayega defected from Uganda People Congress to join NRM and was quickly appointed Ambassador to China (though he spent most of the time on Radios and Televisions in Kampala), Muhamadi Kezaala for moral decency was reported to have resigned from the Democratic Party as National chairperson to pave way for his ambassadorial appointment. The list is endless.
President Museveni has deliberately designed a model of buying or compromising his opponents with jobs and other gifts, the effect is now trickling down to his lieutenants. One is left to wonder if the President can reign-in on his Ministers that have started to buy off opponents. By the look of things, its seems the NRM has found the price of their opponents and they are willing to pay it. Its mind raging how educated and seemingly sophisticated politicians have been reduced or have developed an insatiable appetite to be subjected to ridicule, humiliation and tags likes fraudsters. It’s excruciating!
Public offices by matter of law should be held by persons of high moral integrity and character. The Anti-Corruption Act section 11 includes abuse of authority as a criminal offense with its sanction and section 2 includes offering or granting a favor in exchange of any act in its definition of corruption. The Leadership Code Act implores a public official to disclose their interest and distance themselves from meetings that intend to personally benefit them.
The letter written by the President indicate that Hon Kasaija was engaged in meeting with the President in Gulu that led to the appointment of Mr Kyalimpa Paul. Further, section 11 of the Leadership Code Act provides that a leader who is involved in influencing or acts likely to influence a favor breaches the code.
A leader who breaches the Leadership Code is liable to vacate office under section 12 of the Leadership Code Act. Suffice to say, Article 118 empowers Parliament to by resolution pass a vote censure against a Minister for abuse of office. Article 230 empowers the IGG to investigate, cause investigation, arrest, cause arrest, prosecute or cause prosecution in respect of cases involving corruption, abuse of authority or of public office. The Speaker and the IGG ought to get their hands dirty.
In a country that respects rule of law and espouses democratic principles, Hon Kasaija should have tendered in his resignation and prosecuted for abuse of authority and public office. As a Minister under oath to support and uphold the Constitution of Uganda, serve and ensure good management of public affairs its morally right and decent to resign.
By the way, back to Kyalimpa Paul the little known about him indicate he was a Team Leader of one of the leading consultancy firms in Kampala and is also a PhD holder from Mbarara University of Science and Technology specializing in development and leadership. It’s good to have ambitions and realizing them but what matters is how you attain those dreams. It’s prudent to live a decent life of respect and honor than staining your name going up the ladder. Ask Gen Peter Elwelu!