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PHOTO may be subjecr to copyright

PHOTO may be subjecr to copyright

PHOTO may be subjecr to copyright

PHOTO may be subjecr to copyright

PHOTO may be subjecr to copyright

CHANGE OF GUARDS – Museveni has appointed a serving army officer, Gen. Katumba Wamala as Minister of Works. This appointment marks the climax of his militarisation scheme of the country’s public works. The Public works sector is the topmost conduit of swindling of public coffers by the Museveni regime. Construction projects have always been carried out at highly inflated costs. Amidst widespread public scrutiny of these inflated costs of public works, he has been scheming to have the army take the lead in the sector. Secondly, he has always been scheming to use the cover of public works projects to compulsorily acquire private land without compensation. 

With the army taking the lead in public works, violent evictions of citizens from private land is now set in motion. The climaxing of the militarisation of public works scheme adds to the list of the already militarised public sectors like Fisheries (FPU), Agricultural extension (OWC), Immigration and Citizenship services, civil policing, revenue collection, public transport management, tourism, forestry, mining, land management, criminal justice (court martial), partisan elections, and others.

Museveni’s army has the so-called Engineering Brigade that evolved from the original 7th Street Industrial Area based Construction Unit that was created in 1986. This unit had been formed with the aim of spearheading construction work within the army. Despite the huge budget which was always allotted to the unit, for over two decades it could only make coffins for the fallen soldiers and their family members. Instead, the long serving Director of Construction, Engineer Sabiiti Mutebile (brother to Governor Bank of Uganda) made a fortune that earned him the rank of General.

The so-called army’s Engineering Brigade is working in cohort with the notorious Ministry of Defence subsidiary, NEC to fleece the public coffers. In February 2018, ten UPDF/NEC officers who attained specialized three month training in railway construction from China’s Shijiazhuang Tiedao University reported back. The group was to train other officers in the engineering brigade and staff at the ministry of works and transport on the construction of the modern railway facility. 

NEC Construction Works & Engineering Ltd. was established in 2009 to utilize the extensive manpower resources available in the UPDF to produce goods and services that contribute to national growth and development. It masquerades in handling Construction and Engineering works of the Defense Forces, Government departments and the Private sector. It pretends to carry out Construction Works, Architectural works, Civil engineering works, Structural engineering, and Renovation and Estate maintenance

In February 2018, construction of the army’s referral hospital at Mbuya by the army’s Engineering Brigade was commissioned. It was expected to take a period of three years to complete at an estimated cost of Shs. 123 billion.

In October 2018, the then Minister of State for Works and Transport, Gen. Katumba Wamala opened a one month course for training of NEC/UPDF operators at Kasenyi, Entebbe. The training ran under the the theme: “Effective Care, Use and Management of Road equipment for improved productivity”. The Ministry of Works allocated to NEC 76 pieces of road construction machinery and equipment and the operators were drawn from the army to be managed under NEC Construction, Works and Engineering Ltd.

In February 2019, the regime ordered parliament to appropriate Ug.Shs.44bn for the financial year 2019-2020 for Kiira Motors Corporation to continue with the construction of the vehicles production plant in Jinja. The project is undertaken by the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) and the UPDF engineering brigade. NEC was to employ 324 Ugandans for the execution of the project. Out of the 324 employees, 180 were to be drawn from the army’s Engineering Brigade. The plant was expected to be completed on January 6, 2020 and construction commenced following the approval of Shs. 143b [$40m] by Cabinet as seed funding in April 2018.

In March 2019, during his mobilisation tour of army units, Museveni said that by using the UPDF construction brigade, the government would be able to meet the housing needs for the forces. He added that the government had been spending close to Shs.96b on rented officer’s housing and said this must stop. The then commander engineering brigade Maj. Gen. Timothy Sabiiti Mutebile said the UPDF engineering brigade had about 2,500 well-trained human resource personnel whom they can use to bridge the gap without using contractors.

In March 2019, the army’s Engineering Brigade  completed the construction of 100 houses in Bunambuli for the relocation of the Buduuda Landslide victims. In April 2019, the army’s Engineering Brigade was set to construct 30,000 housing units for soldiers in a Shs1.1 trillion project that sought to cure the chronic shortage of accommodation in the barracks. However, MPs on Parliament’s Defence and Internal Affairs Committee, queried the source of funding of Shs1.1 trillion the UPDF claimed government had set aside for the construction.

In May 2019, the army’s Engineering Brigade claimed that its  completion of the indoor stadium at Makerere University had stalled due to lack of funds.  Then Brig. Eng. Timothy Sabiiti Mutebile, the then head of UPDF Engineering brigade, said that they would resume work once they received funding from the university. The Vice Chancellor claimed that only Shillings 1.5 billion of the Shillings 5.57bn advanced by government for the facility last year was left.

In August 2019, the Engineering Brigade handed over completed renovations and constructions in Acholi west which included; St Kizito primary School Aywee in Gulu district, Ome primary School in Amuru district, Koch Goma Health Centre III in Nwoya district and Lanenober health centre III in Omoro district.

In August 2019, the Government of Japan offered non lethal support to Uganda Rapid Deployment Capability Centre (URDC manned by the  Engineering Brigade. The Japanese Ambassador said that the Japan Self-Defense Forces would come to Uganda for the first time ever to support the UPDF by dispatching 22 instructors who would, from August to September, train the engineering personnel in operating heavy engineering equipment.

Earlier in 2014, Museveni promised to have Makerere University fenced. The army’s Engineering Brigade  undertook the construction works for the same perimeter fence but to this date nothing has been realized. In August 2012, the Engineering Brigade begun construction work to redevelop Kololo Independence Grounds at a cost of 17 billion shillings. However, upon completion, the army took over the grounds and they are guarded 24/7.

In February 2015, Museveni commissioned 16 housing units capable of accommodating 64 families of Army Officers. The project had been started in 2011. In May 2015, the army’s Engineering Brigade was handed a multibillion construction works at the Peace Support Operation Training Center – Singo in Nakaseke District, using funds the Ministry of Defence had acquired from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The money was acquired through reimbursements for Ugandan Country Owned Equipments (COE) like tanks and support weapons being used by AMISOM. In November 2017, the Ministry of ICT engaged the army’s Engineering Brigade to construct its ICT Innovation Hub.

Therefore, the so-called army’s NEC and Engineering Brigade have no capacity to carry out public works.  They are simply used as fronts for swindling public resources as private contractors backed by the usual powerful regime cohorts are used in doing the shoddy work at exorbitant costs.  By engaging unprepared soldiers in public works, Museveni is pursuing the usual agenda of rewarding soldiers with economic benefits in return for loyalty.  He is simply driving at creation of a communist oriented National Service Corps.  Otherwise, how come Ugandans don’t see the army’s Engineering Brigade in offering its services to the natural calamity prone regions. The appointment of Gen. Katumba Wamala at the helm of a sector that is the den of thieves marks the demise of what remains of Museveni’s credibility.


—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: December 22, 2019 at 07:56PM

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