10 October 2018

Uganda: Money Is Good but Was It Given to Genuine Saccos?

The flood of money into Kampala during the recent meet, greet, talk and giveaway cash tours of the capital by President Yoweri Museveni is welcome news to the beneficiary groups of traders, vendors and arcade owners.

Last week, the president donated Shs 2bn to different savings and credit groups and two weeks before that; he donated millions of shillings to start up youth groups of metal fabricators and women Saccos.

The donations heralded a new thaw in the love-and-hate relationship between the president and majority of Kampalans perceived to be opposition.

The president's city charm offensive was also seen by many as a carefully tailored political ploy meant largely to calm tempers, shore up political support for NRM and slow the radical march of the Bobi Wine-led People Power Movement.

But before the dust settles on the tours, an unintended war is raging among beneficiaries.

Would-be beneficiaries like Mustafah Mayambala, the chairman of Uganda Transport Development Agency, claim the presidential cash is going to the wrong Saccos formed by unscrupulous people to steal from the president.

Mayambala and group are urging the president to hold onto the money and allow an on-the-ground investigation to find the genuine Saccos.

There are also claims that 10 drivers are still nursing wounds and others are in hospital. They were allegedly beaten as they tried to reach the president to raise alarm about the fake Saccos.

Beyond the public displays of unity, the money seems to be sowing discord. Without leaning on cash donations, NRM can still marshal massive support in Kampala by doing the right thing; fixing what is broken in the capital from city schools, hospitals, roads and the transport system to mention a few. If the president plans to make more visits, the to-do list is endless.

Former minister for Kampala, Frank Tumwebaze summed it up all too well in the past in comments about the KCCA strategic plan for 2015/16-2018/19.

All government needs to do, he said, is built a more equitable society, where everyone is cared for and where none is neglected. NRM needs to create employment opportunities, provide a platform for sustainable service delivery while preserving our environment and improving the quality of life in the city.

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