When our Sabarwanyi Museveni, during one of his lowrated COVID-19 TV addresses, announced that his government would start relief food distribution to the most vulnerable Ugandans, those watching almost choked with laughter.
You see, Ugandans have become accustomed to the fact that when Museveni tends towards compassion, something is about to go wrong.
Hence, when he mention free food distribution, Ugandans who were already nursing injuries sustained from merciless clobbering by a combined force of the UPDF, UPF and LDU under the guise of enforcing Museveni’s COVID-19 control directives, exchanged knowing looks.
The overly hyped COVID-19 food distribution, as suspected, crashed during take off.
Museveni immediately threw a spanner in the works when he unleashed Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, the head of state house anti-corruption unit, who Ugandans regard as synonymous with state house corruption sanitisation. In essence, when Museveni’s realises that covert corruption deal goes wrong and is about to be exposed and traced back to him, he deceives Ugandans and sends her ‘Miss Fix It’ Nakalema ‘to investigate.’
While Museveni placed the food distribution responsibility with the Prime Minister’s office, he did not mean to let them undertake the operation on their own, without involving his family and cronies to benefit from the huge food procurement deal.
When the Prime Minister’s office proved stubborn, blocking all entries for state house proxies sent to benefit from the food distribution deal, Museveni set Nakalema on them.
“Preliminary findings established that the accounting officers were inflating prices and rejecting lower prices from suppliers of maize flour, maize and beans,” The East African quoted Lt Nakalema in a statement. It turns out that the pupported ‘suppliers with lower prices’ who were rejected included companies under Sabarwanyi Museveni’s brother Gen Salim Saleh’s ‘Operation Wealth Creation.’
The Prime Minister’s main offence was to assume that this time Museveni meant what he said on TV and embarked on conducting the food distribution in a transparent manner by keeping out state house croonies. When Gen Salim Saleh ran crying to state house and told his big brother that the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda was being mean, Museveni sent his ‘anti-corruption’ firefighter to ‘solve’ the ‘small problem.’
As expected, a few Prime Minister’s office officials were sacrificed, on accusations of ‘inflating prices and rejecring lower prices from suppliers.’ Once Nakalema’s mission was accomplished and the good guys from the PM office were pushed aside, Museveni’s family and cronies were put back in business.
Asuman Bisika, writing in the Daily Monitor, talked of how the food distribution initiative had exposed Uganda’s weak governance. The weakness is not just a coincidence. Museveni benefits from the status-quo for his longterm socio-political self-serving manipulation.
Museveni gives with one hand and takes away with the other. This has been his style for the last 34 years.