Flight Captain Mike Mukula was on Friday, January 18, 2013 convicted over the Gavi fund scandal and sentenced to four years of imprisonment. He is now in B1 Murchison Bay prison as a convict not a remand. He can only come out soon upon appeal but I am worried even if he appealed, his appeal will have slim chances of being upheld given the circumstances that led to his conviction. Mike Mukula was convicted majorly for three reasons; 1) he was the first NRM insider to broach the hot subject of sectarianism and tribalism by Dictator Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni. 2) He has made it plainly clear that Museveni is past his sale date thereby vowing to unseat him in 2016. 3) His revelations in the Wikileaks cables that Museveni was grooming his son Muhoozi Keinerugaba to take over from him. You can steal as much as you want and Museveni will ignore you if you don’t threaten his continued stay in statehouse where he parasites on Ugandans as if he is a jigger. You remember the president once told some politicians from western Uganda that “Okwiba mwayenda mwibe kwonka mutabaganisamu abantu bangye” meaning you can steal if you want but don’t divide my people. The division he never wants is the one that could cost him votes. If you question Museveni’s leadership credentials and styles and vow to unseat him, he will crush you as though you are a snake.
Mukula revealed that he was a conduit through which the money would end up in the hands of Janet Museveni. If we are to be convinced that institutions such as the Inspectorate of Government (IG) and Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) are functional, we expect to see Janet Museveni arraigned before the courts of law where Capt Mukula will be the prosecution witness.
Clearly, Mwesigwa Rukutana, John Nasasiira and Sam Kutesa swindled chogm money. If they didn’t then they should tell us where the money is. But they are at large. Alice Kaboyo the Muhima thief was merely fined. And I have learnt from my reliable sources that the money used to pay Kaboyo’s fine was also taxpayers’ money. Poor Mike Mukula now is a convict who will never stand against Museveni. Sadly, he rode a tiger for so long and he ended up in its mouth!
Museveni is the most power-hungry politician. Anyone who talks about unseating him immediately becomes an enemy. While I am not saying Mike Mukula wasn’t corrupt, the truth of the matter is that he largely made his money with clean hands. He only became a junior health minister for one term and before that he was a businessman. As to whether he would get favours from the government as he ran his businesses, that one I don’t know and we cannot blame him.
We know very well that many businessmen have invariably gotten tax rebates, tax exemptions and sometimes cash bailouts from the government but we don’t necessarily say they are corrupt. When Salim Saleh was involved in a corruption scandal, his brother Museveni forgave him and the reason he gave is that Salim Saleh was a good NRM cadre. Museveni said in my presence that he has come a long way with Amama Mbabazi and Kahinda Otafiire and that’s why he will always defend them whenever they are involved in any scandal.
Clearly, my area MP General Kahinda Otafiire has been involved in countless corruption scandals but I have never seen him even being prosecuted. You remember what he did when he was in the DRC. He came with very many vehicles; he and his other colleagues were illegally involved in the timber business. But also they would go dig the soil that had minerals and bring it in vehicles for purposes of sorting out minerals from Uganda. We are yet to pay huge sums of money to the DRC for the plunder of her resources.
Mzee FDR Gureme is my role model. One day while at his home in Kitintale, he told me “like the fox, Janet Museveni has barked from every hill in Kampala”. When I asked him what he meant, he told me that Janet Museveni has a house virtually on every Kampala hill. Definitely, Mzee Gureme, an ethnic Muhima doesn’t have any personal vendetta against the first family. I am sure, Janet and her husband together with some other members of the first family have a lot of property which is not in their names. They do all this out of greed. Because they are greedy, they dispossess genuine Ugandans of the would be their property but also deprive many of us of the right to own property. Foolishly, Museveni and his other thieves most of whom are his close relatives and cronies don’t know that even if they chose to do only the eating, they will never in their lifetime finish what they have primitively accumulated from above.
The Bible says, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal… You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:19 and 24)”
A warning to fellow Ugandans from the west
For the years I have been in Kampala, I have seen how hated people from the west are. Not because we look ugly, not because we are disgusting but because there’s a general perception that we are favoured and we are untouchable. While that perception is not entirely true, the truth of the matter is that many people who get lucrative state jobs, tenders and contracts are westerners. Some inane people will reason that they are as qualified as others to get those opportunities. But are they the only qualified people? Definitely no. The other truism is that Bakiga-Banyankole who support the ruling president and approve of his brainless actions can hardly be prosecuted and even if they were they cannot be convicted. Somehow somewhere, the IGG or the DPP will withdraw the charges or the witnesses will be hostile and instead exonerate the suspects and ultimately the case will fall flat.
What is true, however, is that very few westerners benefit directly from Museveni or indirectly from his crude allies. Right now, the road from Kampala to Mbarara which was worked upon less than three years ago is another thing. The Banyankore/Bakiga would call it “ekindi kintu”. In other words, it is not a road at all. When there are no drugs in hospitals all of us are losers. When Museveni blocks sons and daughters of peasants by having fees in public universities hiked by 126 percent like it happened in 2009, the Banyankore, Bakiga, Batoro, Banyoro, Bahima, Banyarwanda and Basongora, among others are equally affected.
When thieves in the NRM like Amamba Mbabazi, Kahinda Otafiire, Mwesigwa Rukutana, Sam Kuteesa, John Nasasiira, Kabakumba Matsiko, Alice Kaboyo, Janet Museveni and so many are shielded from jail yet the likes of Mike Mukula are convicted and sentences to four years of imprisonment, the rest of the citizens from northern, eastern and central turn their rage against westerners. Ultimately, even those whose relatives die because of absence of drugs in hospitals, those who spend ages on streets without jobs and those who have been denied access to higher education end up being victims. That is double tragedy.
The Banyankore-Bakiga talk about “Okufa kabiri nk’amakara” meaning dying twice like charcoal. In the process of making charcoal, the trees are burnt but also to have charcoal cook food or boil water it is also subjected to fire.
Accordingly, Museveni is injuring us by depriving us of all the money that would provide health facilities, money that would provide education including students’ loans; he is killing us by stealing all the money that would make for us good roads. Yet because of his sectarianism, nepotism and tribalism, he is making all of us hated. I hope all of us remember how westerners were targeted during the 2009 “Kayunga riots”. Those who are naïve would blame the extremist Baganda youths for launching a war against the westerners. The most reasonable person, though, would go further to ask him/herself why they are doing that. Museveni, a westerner had blocked the Kabaka from visiting his subjects in Buganda. Since they couldn’t access Museveni, the only means through which they could get him annoyed was to target westerners for victimization.
Personally, I don’t support any westerner for presidency. I don’t support Kizza Besigye. I don’t Mugisha Muntu. I don’t support Museveni. Not because Kizza Besigye and Mugisha Muntu are incompetent but because there are other Ugandans who are more competent than them. Besides, I don’t think anybody who participated in bringing the military dictatorship into power is the best person to extricate us from militarism. Darkness cannot chase away darkness. It is light that chases away darkness. That explains the reason as to why I have never believed that we should use guns to chase away gunmen. I know fire can be used to chase fire but the environment has to be degraded if that option is adopted. Accordingly, in the process of chasing gunman Yoweri Museveni with guns, many people will sacrifice their lives which are unacceptable. Man is born to live.
Finally, I see no reason why all of us who want justice shouldn’t rise up against the conviction of Capt Mike Mukula. Not because we condone corruption but because we must condemn selective application of the law. Our laws must be blind. Unfortunately, they have eyes and cannot touch Janet Museveni; they can’t touch Sam Kuteesa, Mwesigwa Rukutana and John Nasasiira. You remember how Bukenya was sent to the coolers because he gave a critical interview to the New Vision soon after he was dropped as vice president. You know very well that all the stupid charges against Besigye including rape charges were as a result of the fact that he dared to challenge the senile dictator Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni. No serious anticorruption crusader should welcome Mukula’s conviction for it only aimed at clipping his political wings. This actually puts our judiciary to test. In my view, with Mukula’s conviction and four year jail term the judiciary has been tested and found wanting.
Vincent Nuwagaba is a political scientist