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Day December 17, 2011

Uganda Embassies Are in a worse State after surviving being sold off

Uganda embassy in washington,DC

If all Uganda’s properties abroad are rented out on a public market, Uganda can get enough money to pay its entire medical structures. Unlike many African countries we have some of the most lucrative properties in the most lucrative areas of very expensive cities for leaders like AMO and Iddil Amin bought these properties that they paid in cash. I think and I stand corrected that Nairobi property was bought during Obote2 government.

As far as I know we do not have a single property with a mortgage debt, and all of them from embassy offices to ambassador residences to Coffee marketing board offices to coffee marketing board manager residences. It is not easy to get a property today on Trafalgar square but Uganda owns one.

I encourage Ugandans to go to Cuba and visit the Uganda property we own, it is a full city block, I was amazed when I toured this property for it was simply too huge to be a Uganda property. If this government moved all these properties and waived the diplomatic immunity off all of them, it is a shocker to those of us that have heads Kasansula wants to check.

You see as time goes by these properties have accumulated high money into assets worth and taking them today one would become a millionaire in a split of a second. When I was in Japan there was an argument for someone in Uganda wanted to sell off our embassy property one wonders if it was sold or if we still own it. London has been threatened too, these people in NRM are out to sell anything they can and before they are done we will be left naked. I fear too on who owns the Washington property today, is it Uganda government or The Rwandese government?

The sell of ’86 was that sell not made during the Tito Okello government? I had a similar war with them when they wanted to sell off Uganda house in Washington, and Olara Otunu was very influential into that sell for he was the minister of Foreign affairs at a time, and his plan was to sell the entire property we own as a minister. You see the Washington Uganda house was built specifically in Uganda materials, all furniture and all doors all wood work was flown into Washington directly from Uganda. It is that building why Amin bought an air craft that was interchangeable from passengers’ flights to cargo, so that he would bring the required materials for it.

Let me add that most of the furniture in that building was made in a carpentry shop opposite Jinja Road Police station at a time. The Olara Otunus wanted to sell it before Museveni came to power, and we had to get a lawyer who registered a claim on the property. If you register a claim on a property it cannot be sold until when it is decided either in a court of law or through lawyers. We never had a claim but we created a delay tactic that worked so well. The building was saved. Unfortunately today it benefits Rwandese better than Ugandans but Uganda still owned it to the time I stopped to follow it.

Let me add that the price of that building is way higher than what Amin spent on it. At a time of building it we had a standard so high that it was the head Quarters of the UN till when we stopped to maintain it, and the UN built its current head Quarters which is near our property.

We need to wake up and use these properties to the goodness of our country, I wonder too why we don’t combine all of them and put them under a strict ministry to know exactly how to maintain them. I was in Ottawa and the residence of our ambassador is an eye sore in the Kololo of Ottawa. But so is the embassy building its self, I arrived at that office early morning one time, and a staff was living into it so you open a door and see cooking pots of burnt food on office tables, man I was so disappointed and I stopped to go to Ottawa building. It is just too un presentable.

I encourage Ugandans to go to Havana and see this marvellous building we have man I looked at it and I had a glee on my face but that is how much business we had with Cuba at a time, so it was yes very justified.

Edward Mulindwa


Uganda embassy in London

My friend Edward Mulindwa,

Some people in the Ugandan Embassy and the Foreign office in Kampala tried to sell off Trafalgar Square and other Ugandan properties in London. Remember, before Museveni came to power in 1986, Uganda owned not only the Trafalgar Square embassy, which is a very prime business area of London, but also about other 15 residences in the most expensive areas of London like Golder’s Green etc. The Ugandan government owned these properties outright with no mortgages attached.

But in 1992, corrupt officials in Museveni’s government tried to sell off these properties. They talked to some property developers, who told them if they sold off the Trafalgar Square Embassy, they would build Uganda another embassy complex, but outside of central London, because the developers wanted to demolish the building and put in its place a modern office complex of about 15 storey . They even signed a contract, which totally undervalued these buildings and land, so that Trafalgar Square embassy would be sold at less than a half of its then going price, which was £350 million, but they were going to sell it for only £100 million. In return, these corrupt officials in the embassy and the Foreign Office in Kampala would receive a bribe of £10 million to share among themselves.

The Brirish authorities learnt about this deal, because many embassies are located in Trafalgar Square, including the American, South African, and French embassies. The developers applied for planning permission to demolish the building and erect their modern office complex, that is how the British authorities found out, and so they contacted Museveni’s government.

As usual, Museveni cancelled the contract of sale but Uganda had to pay the developers almost £50 million for breach of contract. It is the same story that has been repeating itself again and again, with Museveni cancelling corrupt contracts and then paying millions in compensation. In this case, The Permanent Secretary was made the scapegoat and was sacked by Museveni, so Trafalgar Square embassy still remains the property of Uganda.

Unfortunately, Trafalgar Square embassy is in a very sorry state and sometimes they don’t even have heating, but it is still there. They even rented part of it out to the Rwandan embassy at some point and to other organizations. Rwanda have since bought their own property and moved out instead the current tenants are the Ecuador as we speak.

This is the Museveni’s Uganda that we live in today. I also visited the Ugandan embassy in Havana, Cuba, and it is a very impressive building.

George Okello

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