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UGANDA: OF MUSEVENI’S LOCUST CASH BONANZA

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CHANGE OF GUARDS – The long anticipated locust invasion from the Horn of Africa region finally arrived in the remote North Eastern region of Uganda via Kenya.  Even when the locusts had reached the neighboring north eastern Kenya, the Museveni regime made no effort to to put in place a contingency plan.  Instead, when they finally reached the Uganda territory, that is when the regime released shillings 15b, sent the Ministers of State for Animal Husbandry and that of Disaster Preparedness to Nairobi to procure aeroplanes for aerial spraying.  It went ahead to deploy 2000 soldiers under the command of the Deputy Commander of the Land Forces, Gen. Sam Kavuma to fight the locusts.  The Minister of Agriculture and his Deputy are seen in the field doing nothing other than having raids on army combat helicopters.  Soldiers are seen using ineffective methods like handheld spray pumps and bush burning.  Ugly scenes of a whole army Major personally setting fire on bushes has shocked the world and contradicts Museveni’s argument of having built an ‘educated’ army. 

Accordiy to the Minister of Ste for Animal Husbandry, Gen. Rwamirama, the regime intended to borrow spray aeroplane and then buy another one for the same purpose.  He further told the country that out of the shillings 15b that was initially allocated, 11b was spent on clearance of part of the over three decaded accumulated arrears for subscription to the Nairobi based regional locust control body.  Impliedly, during that long period, the said organisation was sustained by the government of Kenya on it’s own.  Obviously, now that disaster has struck, the organisation has to serve Kenya fist.  That is why as Uganda is fidgeting with the anticipated acquisition of two aeroplanes, Kenya is planning to increase the number of of planes it is deploying against locusts to 20.  Since Kenya solely tackled the locust invasion forcing them to flee to Uganda, it would be illogical to expect Kenya to render Uganda any timely and effective help that would make the locusts to change their course and return to Kenya.  Instead, Kenya would wish to exert more pressure on the locusts that are still on it’s territory so that they can flee to an obstacle free Uganda. 

The above not withstanding, what is clear is that like in all disaster situations in Uganda, the locust invasion has presented another opportunity for a cash bonanza.  That is why the initial efforts did not involve the affected local people and their leadership structures but the army and a few political leaders from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries.  The said procurement of the spray aeroplane is not following laid down public procurement procedures.  Instead, it is the reknown thief, Gen. Rwamirama who is in charge of the same.  He left a visible track record of huge theft of public money when he served as the army’s Director of Finance.  Owing to his close links with the First Family, he was recently deployed to the Ministry of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries before shillings 14b was awarded to him for ‘fighting’ the foot and mouth disease. 

Therefore, the shameful use of crude methods like bush burning, use of ineffective handheld spray pumps etc is a desperate effort to justify the cash bonanza.  No doubt, in the near future parliament and the Auditor General will as usual be helplessly probing the ‘misuse’ of trillions of public money on locusts. 

INFORMATION IS POWER AND THE PROBLEM OF UGANDA IS MUSEVENISM

—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: February 17, 2020 at 06:08PM

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