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UGANDA: Gen. Saleh blasts Museveni over “westage” of OWC funds – PICTURES

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CHANGE OF GUARDS – In 2013 when Gen. Ssejusa sought asylum in the UK and threatened to militarily dislodge Museveni from power, the latTer took some counter insurgency measures. Mindful of the presence of a handful of “disgruntled” army officers who had for long been on Katebe (un-deployed), Museveni saw in them potential recruits for Gen. Ssejusa. These are are the officers who for fear that they would join the opposition as has always been the trend, Museveni could neither deploy nor retire. Also targeted were the equally disgruntled civilian and retired soldiers commonly referred to as Luwero War Veterans. 

Museveni hastily assigned his brother, Gen. Saleh to mobilize former War Veterans in the Luwero Triangle. Gen. Saleh took up the assignment by demarcating former Luwero into 43 zones where he deployed retired army officers for purposes of “wealth creation”. Shortly after, the scheme was rolled out to cover the whole country under Operation Wealth Creation (OWC). About 300 army officers in active service but not active were selectively identified and seconded to OWC. They were taken through a two weeks agriculture seminar by the Makerere University’s Faculty of Agriculture before being sent to the 238 electoral constituencies.

Soon after, Museveni redirected the statutory National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) budget, resources and expertise to OWC. Since its inception, there has been public outcry from every corner about the failure of OWC. What the gullible victims did not know is that the scheme was not meant to alleviate poverty because doing so would be counter productive to Museveni’s deliberate design of reigning over an impoverished population. It was meant to keep disgruntled army officers busy, in check and with something to grab for themselves. It was also meant to widen his intelligence collection network.

On 30th December 2014, while presiding over the memorial service of the parents of his CID chief, Grace Akullo in Lango, Museveni directed that OWC should serve NRM members first. He said; “NRM leaders should be the first to be served so that they become an example to others in chasing poverty.” Interestingly, on the same date and day, in Kabaale his Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda while addressing local leaders warned to desist from mixing OWC with politics. He said; “OWC is not a government program but a people’s program which benefits everyone in society.”

During the first round of the live presidential debate during the last sham election, one of the presidential contenders, Gen. Benon Biraro publicly said; “……….sending army officers to NAADS project was a disaster. The move was prompted by the backlog of unemployed army officers Museveni does not want to retire. Will the army invite farmers to its rescue if it faces a crisis!!”

Last week OWC announced that it had sacked 54 of its army officers and sent them back to the army for redeployment. The Deputy Commander of OWC, Gen. Charles Angina disclosed that the said officers were sacked due to incompetence. Three days later, the overall Commander of OWC, Gen. Saleh has now disclosed that soldiers messed up OWC. Addressing journalists in Gulu, Gen. Saleh said; “…….it was supposed to be a framework for everybody so that we have one channel of communication but we made a mistake and tried to apply the military way. We are finding it very difficult to communicate with civilians. Both farmers and stakeholders fighting poverty seem very disorganised and do not know what they want as far as fighting poverty is concerned. The 54 sacked officers were feeding government with wrong information about what enterprise to embrace.”

In a September 2015 interview Gen. Saleh was asked by the press about the difficulties OWC was encountering given the political implication of coordinating different agencies. He expressed optimism thus;”There is no politics involved. There is no politics because the coordinators listen to me. They are ex military people and they take orders. The perception is that as an army, you cannot build railways, roads and so on; you are supposed to be killing machines. You are not supposed to be creative people. We are challenging that perception.”

Now we have heard from the horses’s mouth (Gen. Saleh) expressing his frustration. Obviously Gen. Saleh is referring to Museveni, being the top stakeholder. Gen. Saleh is expressing frustration over Museveni’s interference in the management of OWC by using it for political expediency. He has been forcefully getting billions of cash from OWC for dishing out to different patronage groups thus “feeding of government with wrong information about what enterprises to embrace.” 

The recent dishing out of Sh.5bln to SACCOS in Rukungiri and another 5bln meant for religious leaders to ” fight poverty ” is among the living examples. That is why Museveni is pushing to increase the OWC budget to one trillion. By complaining about absence of “one channel of communication” Gen. Saleh is expressing frustration over secret progress reports being submitted by the officers under his command to Museveni.

Watch the space.


—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: May 14, 2018 at 05:49PM

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