Abwooli Rujumba Omurungi W’Abasambu, the Governor of Uganda’s Central Bank Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime- Mutebile, one of Africa’s most respected and sought- after living economists and 1971 Guild President of Makerere University or be as he may, should not be tempted to think he has a monopoly over arrogance.
In the pursuit of transparent public governance, no one individual’s interests are above public scrutiny- be those of the head of state in all his excellency, those of the chief justice in all his eminence, those of the parliamentary speaker, or even those of the newspaper editor. The only interest(s) whose protection is beyond any logical contest are those of the common citizen.
Thus, where a public officer tends towards arrogance, as has Prof. Mutebile in his most recent media briefing, in response to calls and clamors from a citizenry for accountability in the department he leads, which it is their right to demand, such pompous statements should never be allowed to stand. He should be seen giving accountability and only accountability!
Governor Mutebile is increasingly becoming a reckless, desperate and discredited man. Right about December 2010 in the run to Feb. ’11 elections, he was implicated in signing documents that caused the printing- let’s call it publishing, of billions of legal tender to facilitate the re-election of his boss- Yoweri Museveni. This caused double- digit inflation.
At around the same time, he was accused of extending dubious loan payments to Hassan Basajjabalaba, that notorious city businessman, through his company Basajjabalaba Hides and Skins LTD. It should be noted that, in Uganda, seldom do local businessmen benefit from such rare presidential benevolence and magnanimity. That money will never be paid back!
Governor Mutebile and Yoweri Museveni were implicated as the chief architects of the project that saw the Ugandan taxpayer lose $740 million (about Shs1.7 trillion) in the purchase of Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets and other most sophisticated military hardware. All this was done in unprecedented secrecy without parliamentary approval. That came in the retrospective!
Plus many more such thefts and robbing that the public may never become aware of until probably guards change or revolution breaks in Kampala, the Governor Mutebile is now being implicated in the inflated and dubious compensation to the same Hassan Basajjabalaba over the loss of city markets and other valuable property. Loss is worth Ushs. 142 Billion!
Under pressure from that fantastic group of young aggressive legislators, day by the day becoming more and more influential in an increasingly activist Parliament, two powerful cabinet ministers occupying high places in the N.R.M party cadreship have since fallen. But for his part Governor Mutebile, with whom they are roundly accused, promises to fall hard!
In his latest press conference of Thurs 1st March 2012, he has assured his markets not to worry at all about what he leisurely dismisses as ‘the rumblings’ of parliament and that he is here for the long haul. That he is not insane, incompetent or dishonest, constitutional grounds upon which he can be ousted, to warrant fulfillment of the sinister cravings of his detractors.
Abwooli, the governor’s remarks not only pain and annoy in as far as they go a very long way in belittling a people’s democratically elected representatives and, actually, the very arm of government in which they serve – parliament, but they also shine a bright light upon two extremely important issues that are gaining increased prominence in the Ugandan political debate of today.
First, there is a rising clique of abusively arrogant and annoyingly insensitive individuals who commit or aid and abet some power brokers in the commission of numerous crimes against the people of Uganda and are in turn guaranteed material gain or promised comfort and protection from a prying legislature, an alert judiciary and a public increasingly getting agitated. They are truly deadly!
Like detectives torn out of the pages of a best- selling fictional spy – work, they carry on their crimes with a poise and glee that is unparalleled. Since there is only one authority to fear, and it is the same authority that pays them to spread fear, they tend to the ruthless. They work with the devotion, intrepidity, and determination of only a surgeon in a busy heart- theater that they leave the onlooker severely astonished!
Sometime last year, a young man used the butt of his loaded pistol to smash the car- windows of a public figure, in full glare of national and international cameras and doused him in pepper spray just too much for any human consuming. He then went on, dragging him by the collar, and stacked him into the beneath of the blue cold steel of a waiting police cabin!
Prof. Mutebile’s press briefing exposed him as yet another addition to that long list- though not as rugged and crude as the young man. He never cared at all for the flotsam and jetsam that provide for his livelihood, the livelihood that sustains his arrogance, but reserved apologies for only the markets, his boss and God- for ‘He Only can sack him’.
Secondly, Abwooli, there is too, a worryingly increasing trend where the country’s most brilliant children are systematically being wasted away by the yellow machine and cheered on by its operator. I don’t know whether it is calculated but all I know it is happening. I also don’t know whether someone wants to fall with everyone…!
Yoweri Museveni, upon hearing of the career accomplishments of a distinguished Ugandan, gets keenly interested and beckons him by his side- which wouldn’t be bad for national development. He starts courting and flirting with them promising them high luxury and comfort. When he eventually succeeds, the individual’s decaying process begins in earnest!
He first lives true to his word by handing them extremely juicy and influential political positions under which dockets they supervise enterprises worth billions. He then through his frighteningly loyal cronies sets the bait in motion. It could be in by way of a rewarding tender or a kick- back on an influential government contract. Recall, too, that the good fellow is now in charge.
It is inherently the nature of the human to get tempted. So when such a deal comes by the fellow is reminded of a promised family holiday in Barbados or a vacation somewhere in the Emirates, probably the stunningly beautiful and lavish Burj- al- Arab. He briskly jumps at the opportunity not knowing that someone is manipulating the strings from somewhere. When the deal is done, someone has the other by the firm grip of his five fingers.
Someone knows that the other’s reputation is now in tatters and rags- not fashionable anymore, since he has evidence of a side of the individual that the public knows not of. The fellow gets entirely tangled in someone’s web. At this stage, he cannot untangle himself. This is usually employed to such figures as may become threats, in the present or in the foreseeable future, to someone’s grip on power. Or whom, for whichever reasons, he has never forgiven.
Of course the list is endless. Medical Professor Gilbert Balibaseka- Bukenya, Dr. Ezra Suruma, Law Professor Edward Khidu- Makubuya, Professor Tarsis Kabwengyere, Ali Kirunda- Kiveijinja, David Chandi- Jamwa, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime- Mutebile ………..And *let’s all watch very keenly*, soon, finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka.