22 January 2013

Uganda: Jaberi Bidandi Ssali - Govt Never Covered My Medical Bills

Your Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, I send you season's greetings and wish you a less tumultuous 2013 than the year we have just ended.

Please accept my condolences for the loss of a great accomplished Ugandan, James Mulwana, whose legacy is the major subject of this communication. The only tribute, Mr President, some of us, and I am sure including Your Excellency, can give to the fallen idol is to protect, preserve and defend his legacy, and especially his integrity.

Likewise, please accept my condolences for the mysterious death of our young, would-be-one-of-the-future-leaders of Uganda, the late Cerinah Nebanda.

A few days ago, one of the outlets in the print media came up with alleged secrets they claimed to know about your relationship with the late MuIwana. This included an allegation that Your Excellency passed on funds to him to bring to me to cover my treatment bills at Bumrungrad hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.

You know very well, Your Excellency, that that is not only completely untrue but also a blatant defilement of the integrity of the late James Mulwana. Your Excellency, you are aware of the appeal I made in writing to your government through the Prime Minister, my younger brother, Amama Mbabazi, for a contribution towards my struggle to save my life in Thailand.

I was aware that I was not entitled to government medical treatment any longer and that is why I asked for just a contribution. Your Excellency you are aware that not only did I not receive a shilling from the state but also did not get any courtesy response conveying regret for the inability to oblige. This is not to mention the absence of even a word of sympathy from your government.

Your Excellency may wish to know that the funds that I used for treatment, both in Uganda and Thailand, were from my family, relatives, concerned friends, including a few from your cabinet, and from my own sources. Before all of them, this allegation puts my integrity in question, as they may be inclined to ask, "Mzee Bidandi", as they usually refer to me, "You said government did not come to cover your expenses and that's why we contributed, is it possible you lied to us?"

If the article was targeting me alone, I would only disregard it with the contempt it deserves, but because it involved the late Mulwana, who can no longer speak, I thought it incumbent and prudent on our part, Your Excellency and myself, to speak for him on this matter for purposes of not tarnishing his legacy. The late Mulwana played a key role in my treatment in his own right, including recommending the Bangkok hospital to me and arranging my admission, plus making a financial contribution.

His widow, Madam Sarah Mulwana, is privy to all this. The thought of me not attributing my gratitude, and that of my family, to the late Mulwana and instead attributing it somewhere else, where even none seemed to care a damn whether I died or not, would be quite devilish on my part and punishable by the Almighty God.

My appeal to Your Excellency as a colleague and a former friend (I thought I was) is: help protect, preserve and defend the integrity of our common friend, the late James Mulwana, by asking your office to clarify on the matter and expose the real truth and nothing but the truth, to the effect that no dime was ever passed on to the late Mulwana to pass on to me, and that the alleged sending of the late by Your Excellency to Bumrungrad hospital in Thailand to check on my health is not true.

Under a separate cover, I am soon addressing Your Excellency offering my unsolicited views on how this country can effect a turnaround on the scourge of corruption and, knowing the propensity of Ugandans to forgive and forget, for which Your Excellency will be immortalized.

Yours Sincerely,

Bidandi Ssali.

Copyright © 2013 The Observer. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.