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Day October 9, 2014

Museveni’s Visit Attracted More Beggars Than Investors!

Museveni’s Visit Attracted More Beggars Than Investors!

Reported By: Rev. Joseph W. Kamugisha
Email: jokaruka@hotmail.com {817} 500.6147

To simply suggest that the recently concluded visit of Uganda’s ruler Yoweri K. Museveni to Dallas was a spectacle, would be an understatement.

From the time the community first heard about Museveni’s visit to Dallas, to the vast questions with insufficient answers regarding his second visit to the community, to who was behind his invitation and why the visit had to be arranged within barely a three week crush program, to why of all U.S cities Dallas had to be considered again, to Museveni’s landing at Love field Airport where not a single city official was present to welcome him, to what he was thinking when the son of Kaguta found himself heading not to some downtown luxury five star hotel, but to a rented farm house in a mosquito infested environment in Allen, Texas, on a journey which cost him approximately one hour. All those were questions which until his sudden departure, short of his originally planned day, still linger without sufficient answers. As it later turned out, some of our community leaders themselves were as green as those who were asking endless unanswered questions.

With what was seen as a cosmetic presentation of the “Presidential visit” and the very fact that the visit was hurriedly dubbed by the organizers as the “Trade & Investment Summit” which was to mainly feature on Saturday.

As scheduled, on Saturday, September 20th at approximately 12:00pm central standard time, President Y. K. Museveni, landed at Dallas Love field airport having flown directly from London, UK. Without any delay, he was whisked off straight to his Allen TX, rented ranch house.

On the same day shortly after 5:00pm Mzee Museveni, even as fatigued and jet lagged as he visibly appeared to be, he wasted no time in preparing to meet a group of people, many of who were comprised of different African communities in the Dallas metro including some Americans and Ugandan locals as well as Ugandan’s others from surrounding cities like Austin and San Antonio.

From the outset, the impression given by many who were sharply clad in business suits in addition to braving the Texas high heat-humidity indexes soaring as high as 102 degrees, who were confined in an open space tent. By all standards the attendees appeared like genuine “Investors”. Unfortunately, what would eventually end as one of the most memorable lessons of his second visit to Dallas, President Museveni, would later discover that instead of meeting with actual investors as the program indicated, he would instead find himself meeting with actual beggars than the highly anticipated investors!

Literally everyone who lined up to ask questions was either asking the Ugandan dictator for favors or meeting their personal needs while others wanted facilitation in establishing businesses which were deemed least among the targeted establishment of investors in the country. Similarly, others solicited for personal scholarships to further their education in the U.S.

The list of “Beggars” did not spare most notable community figures among whom included UNAA’s President, Brian Kwesiga, who a few weeks had began his begging campaign for more funding to the dysfunctional UNAA, a message which he had already sent through the fired and former Ugandan Prime minister, Amama Mbabazi, during the recent San Diego UNAA convention. Brian was quick at following up with the same antiques during his opening remarks in the very presence of the man commonly known in Uganda as the “Brown envelope wielding President” Museveni.

Madame Ambassador Oliver Wonekha, equally ceased the opportunity by publicly appealing to her boss Museveni to highly consider renewing her three year Ambassadorial contract which would soon be due for renewal. The Ambassador systematically outlined her short term accomplishments in Washington, among which included the newly purchased passport printing equipment, adding that the purchase had significantly helped in reducing the backlog of passport applications and renewals at the embassy in addition to linking the country with potential investors even as evidenced with her three trips to Dallas since she assumed office.

Among others who took advantage of seeking for favors from Museveni was Brian Kwesiga’s illegally appointed “UNAA DoD” Mrs. Irene Kasujja, who clearly made her case by expressing her readiness and availability for a government job in Uganda. Armed with what appeared to be her resume, the holder of an MBA degree with additional mastery and vast experience in Human resource management, Irene, wondered why the regime would recruit Americans and other foreigners to work in Uganda when the country is endowed with qualified citizens across the world who could perform even better. Engineer Brian Kwesiga, expressed similar sentiments, adding that during his college days he scored far better than most of his American contemporaries and that competing for jobs with them was not just a matter of who was better qualified but where job opportunities were readily available.

Later in her introductory remarks to the Ugandan ruler, Ambassador Oliver Wonekha, reminded the assembled delegates that Uganda was no longer what it used to be known for. Uganda, she said, “Is not a land locked country but a land linked country.” She added, Uganda has all kinds of trade and investment opportunities, natural resources, fertile land coupled with excellent tropical weather for any investor to tap into.

On his part, President Museveni’s during his address to the “Trade & Investment” forum, he reminisced on an illustration which he made during his first visit to Dallas over twenty years ago, but this time in a slightly different way. He said; “There are two types of Kings; the first one is the consumer. One who buys goods and services. The second king is the entrepreneur or an investor, who actually produces goods and services with the ability to materialize and facilitate the middle men.” The middle men, he said are among others, politicians, bureaucrats, etc.

On a casual observation, for what Museveni says to be his actual age of “Seventy”, it was quite impressive to note that the old man stood upright without any support, walking stick or podium to lean on, throughout his address which approximately lasted for about an hour. Perhaps his good stamina could be attributed to his “Healthy habits” which he said did not include; Rice, bread, chicken, fish or pork!

In response to an earlier request by Brian Kwesiga and Dr. Abe of WA, Seattle on behalf of UNAA for more sponsorship in addition to a public request for the dictator to grace UNAA 2015 convention in Louisiana, and a financial request which was additionally made by the local UAA-DFW president Lambert Etibot, to fund local community programs, Museveni, made four promises;

[i] He promised to increase the UNAA’s package to $100.000 of which $50.000 will be shared among “UNAA communities” while UNAA mainstream will keep the rest. How, who and what will be the funds distribution format and criteria will be carried out remains to be determined by?!

[ii] Museveni, promised to waive the $50.00 entry visa fee to Ugandan “Dual citizen” status holders who hold other passports other than Ugandan.

[iii] Museveni, promised to expand the “Diaspora desk” from the ministry of foreign affairs [MoFA] to State House for what he referred to as “Close monitoring” of Diaspora affairs.

[iv] Museveni publicly accepted to honor Kwesiga’s request to grace next year’s UNAA convention, an opportunity which he said, would line up with his next trip to next year’s UN trip in New York.

The promise of opening a “Diaspora desk” in the president’s office appeared to have started a “Protracted war” between Mr. Kizza Sseninde, the Ugandan based UNAA contact person who shied not at the effort of campaigning for the new post although one Washington based Ugandan lady also seemed to be interested in both the “Diaspora desk” job as well as asking for support from Museveni, to stand for a parliamentary seat in Mityana district.

In addition to the aforementioned promises, Uganda’s longest reigning ruler further promised free land to some three potential investors, one of whom had earlier showed interest in building a “Technical college” in Uganda, only if he could be “Facilitated” with free land.

Who, how and why was President Museveni invited To Dallas?

By his own admission, the vision of inviting and hosting President Y. K. Museveni to the Dallas Fort Worth community was initially perceived and introduced by Pastor Richard Ssalongo Bazanye. A commendable idea which in itself bared no qualms except for the manner in which the invitation procedures were first processed, executed and later introduced to the community leadership.

To Pastor Bazanye’s advantage, which rhymed with a saying which suggests that timing is the best element in executing any given opportunity. The saying proved rightly so when in his quest of how best he could realign and bring the vision to realization. Opportunity struck when what was seen as an extraordinary direct encounter with some family member, whose contacts would later add credentials to Pastor Bazanye’s profile besides rendering the needful, appeared.

After discussions with the extraordinary contact, Pastor Bazanye, together with his initial organizing committee, wasted no time by ceasing what was seen as a golden opportunity by the availability and direct access to one Major General Ali Kiiza, the Presidential pilot to Raisi [President] Yoweri K. Museveni, who happened to be in the area on a private visit.

It is reported that an invitation letter was immediately written to Yoweri K. Museveni [Not sure whether the letter was written on the official local UAA-DFW letter head, on the Pastors Company letter head or the local House of Prayer Church letter head] be it as it may, the letter was written and handed to the presidential pilot who in turn promised to do his due diligence of personally delivering the invitation to the Ugandan ruler by hand.

As noted above, standard protocol procedures were directly encroached on the local front as well as violating State House guidelines and procedures of inviting heads of State.

True as it may, for any reason anyone can invite the President of Uganda or any other head of state for that matter. However, in the case of a community event, in a community which has recognized leadership in place, it is my considered opinion that Pastor Richard Ssalongo Bazanye, literally overstepped his boundaries as well as the community’s leadership by failing to involve or consult the leadership from the very beginning, in as far as the purpose, timing, scheduling and where other necessary logistics were concerned.

Equally important, much as one may be connected with the powers that be, even as it were in this particular case, there are offices and officials who should under normal circumstances be the first to be consulted especially where guidance together with recommended protocol of inviting high profile guests are concerned.

Case in point, the office of Uganda’s Regional Consular General and the office of Her Excellency the Ugandan Ambassador to the U.S.A, should have been formerly consulted and involved instead of being informed after the fact. By following such simple but vital procedures, one would stands better chances of avoiding unnecessary suspicions, being misunderstood or being wrongly labeled.

As if the above was not drama enough in itself, it was sadly learned that originally a certain regional section of some Ugandan community members were strategically and secretly selected as part of the committees which were to organize the “Presidential visit” among the committees included; The “Registration desk”, security, transport, foods and beverages, communication/publicity, among others, which by the way, all committees were directly linked and vetted by State House, Entebbe.

Thanks to the strongly worded recommendation from Ambassador Wonekha, which was directed against the sectarian practice employed in the committee selection exercise. As a result, the organizers were forced to scout for a wider inclusion of Ugandans in the community. As it turned out, almost every committee [Both physical and cyber committees] operated and tightly held exclusively discreet agendas while some meetings were constantly suffering endless cancellations due to what was evidently the ever growing tensions coupled with directives coming from State house – Entebbe, the Ugandan Embassy, Washington, DC and from whoever else who had a say in the preparations on ground.

As days of the visit drew closer, secret meetings continued making rounds between a handful of special interest groups and committees whose forums consisted mainly of physical and conveniently selected “WhatsApp group” phone discussions. However, as coincidence would have it, some misdirected partial Text messages were found surfacing on some individual cell phones in the community. It was at that point when it was found that closed meetings were steadily going on behind closed doors from the rest of the community, something which had never happened in all the times this community has hosted high profile delegates. It was imperative that immediate inclusion of all and for the benefit of meaningful preparations with attainable results be effected.

Eventually, the local UAA-DFW’s leadership decided to organize one of the best BBQ’s which BTW, was viewed as very engaging, friendly and highly productive. The much needed fellowship doubly served as an opportunity for formal introduction of the visit. Appeals for participation from the chief organizer of the presidential visit to the community were made.

To Pastor Richard Bazanye’s credit, utilizing the opportunity to settle some prevailing disputes and grievances among some members was perhaps one of highest score of the day. His approach in handling the issues which had been predominantly perceived as a private or “NRM party” event and being fronted as a community visit changed course from the negative perception to a rather positive attitude regarding the intended visit.

With almost less than two weeks remaining to the final days to the highly anticipated visit, each day that passed by drew more challenges and anxieties tripled with all kinds of pressures from every angle.
Hoarding the much needed information from the main organizers would eventually prove that the motive was intentional probably so because the State House boys were prepared to engage in what was seen as a “Secret weapon” of fighting what was beginning to appear as “Moles in the camp”

Barely five days to the long waited date, some of the advanced team members of the “PGB” attached to State House and other security operatives were already on ground and clearly noticeable wherever they appeared in the sounding communities.

Growing tensions and confusion was also detected between the “East African Chamber of commerce” the regional Ugandan consulate, Uganda’s Ambassador and the local organizing team. Apparently, that was just a partial mix of the bad, the good and ugly twists that would forever haunt the Dallas – Fort Worth community, for what would later be found to be selfish interests from all mentioned stake holders.

Local UAA-DFW history bears testimony of unmatched records from any Ugandan community elsewhere in as far as a reputable line up of high profile guests from a cross section of dignitaries ranging from the religious leaders, politicians, including royal family members, starting with at least five Ugandan Ambassadors to the U.S since 1990.

Over the years, their excellencies the Ambassadors; Katenta Apuuli, Edith Ssempala, having visited the area twice, Princess Elizabeth Bagaya of Tooro, Prince Stephen Karamagi of Tooro[1st Uganda’s Ambassador to the U.S in the sixties] Prof. Perezi Kamunanwire, who visited thrice, Oliver Wonekha, who also recently recorded her fourth visit to DFW metro since she took office.

With all the above listed successful visits, whose credit is attributed to close cooperation between the local leadership in conjunction with a united community, a virtue which UAA-DFW has always proudly guarded.

Traces of more successful visits include but not limited to; The late Bishop Misaeri Kawuma with his wife Gladys, the late Archbishop Yonna Okoth, Archbishop Nkoyoyo, the Kabaka of Buganda HRM R.M. Mutebi, The royal visit of HRH the Nnabagereka of Buganda kingdom. The visit of former FDC political mobilizer, Anne Bomwezi Mugisha, the royal visit of HRM the Omukama of Bunyoro, whose main support base came from Dallas, TX although the actual visit mainly occurred in Houston, TX and lastly, the royal visit of HRM the Omukama of Tooro, Oyo Kabamba Iguru, in Dallas, TX.

Needless to mention that a year prior to last weekend’s presidential visit, Dallas had just concluded hosting UNAA’s shameful and poorly organized 25th anniversary.

In contrast the recent visit will be remembered for issues engulfed by the entire program such as too much drama, confusion, self betrayal, highly principled levels of intrigue, secrecy, lack of transparency, deceit and most alarmingly, deliberate violations of protocol procedures even where the very basic grain of protocol evidently lacked among a clique of organizers sadly so, even from the area based Ugandan consular general and his bosses in Washington, DC, whose sloppiness in addition to failure to honor some city required technicalities, were the main reason of the Irving Convention center cancellation before the “Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender” [LGBT] community in addition to the locally based Global Coalition for Human Rights Activists -USA] kicked in. Sadly and partially, given the historic community track record, those are some of the fundamental issues that will forever haunt the committee for having blown an opportunity which could have otherwise been one of the best organized and possibly one of the well attended high profile visit the community has ever had.

The most essential bottom line was the damaging effect to many community members who felt disappointed and betrayed by the organizers, mainly so because of the circus which was involved with the overall organizing committees, resulting to some members who decided to stay away from what was generally perceived as some form of political ambitious with intentions geared toward promoting Museveni’s NRM political agendas in the area, besides the usual suspects whose main focus was to take advantage of tapping into what was yet to be turned into a money making opportunity.

For the record, what has been accredited to the “LGBT” community as a single entity in the denial of Museveni’s accommodation in three Dallas metro hotels, it is important at this point to mention that their aforementioned involvement in the denial was an underground collaboration with a Dallas based international human rights organization known as “Global Coalition for Human Rights Activists – USA” whose membership is widely composed of the large Ugandan community in Dallas Fort worth metro and beyond.

Meanwhile, tensions and more confusion among the organizers continued to rise due to hotels and the convention center denials, the first community town hall meeting finally through by means of Tele-conference on Friday, the night before the arrival of the chief guest. The conference attracted a large number of callers many of whom were local.

Most reports given in the conference were inconclusive mainly because of sudden changes and cancellations from previous meetings besides the absence of Hon. Mureeba who was expected to provide more details. The well attended meeting went on but with scanty information regarding the developments of the program.

Surprisingly but not shockingly, at the end of the conference call, a high level of continued control and domination of the local Dallas Fort Worth community affairs by UNAA’s president Brian Kwesiga was evidently proved. It was as if to suggest that Brian does not have enough problems to keep him busy with his UNAA, hence the effort to keep his controls on the community affairs. Case in point, on the mentioned community conference meeting, it was Brian, not the community president who was in charge of monitoring all the calls that came in. Brian had access to accept or deny any one from logging in. For some of us who according to his books were not supposed to be on the call, he somehow allowed us but ended up being subjected to his “Mute button!” No questions were allowed for some. It is a well known fact that even though Brian no longer holds any official position in the local leadership, he has since departure stubbornly refused to let go of the community discussion forum as one of the moderators. A trend which continued in Allen, TX by non other than UNAA’s VP Monday Atigo, who pulled the microphone plug during question time on someone who was considered “Undesirable”.

In what was meant to deter any further disturbances with the already troubled plans, Mr. Lambert Etibot, was hoodwinked to announce that a new location had been found and that it was going to be in the “Richardson area”. He further informed the meeting that together with Mrs Sheiba Rugege Hakiza and Mr. Farouk Mutesasira, were under strict instructions not to reveal the actual address of the new venue except to those who had been confirmed and approved for the events via electronic registration.

Power Struggle, Arrival and Welcoming President Museveni

Talking about breaking protocol from even a much higher level, it was reliably learned that due to the confusion which was primarily as a result of having too “many chiefs” in the camp, misunderstandings arose between the local organizers, Hon. Mureeba and Madame Oliver Wonekha, the Ugandan Ambassador to Washington.

One would have thought that the mishaps Hon. Mureeba or the local organizers failed to note would at least be noted by the president’s chief of protocol. But it was not to be so as the Saturday selection and decision of those who were lined up at the Love Filed Airport tarmac to welcome the president upon arrival, ended up taking a bizarre twist when among the assembled were all the obvious dignitaries who consisted Uganda’s Ambassador to the U.S and Uganda’s Honorary counsel to the Southwest Texas region, the local organizing chairperson Pastor Richard Ssalongo Bazanye and UNAA’s President Brian Kwesiga, minus the local community president, Mr. Lambert Etibot, who in all respects should actually been the first person on the line up and standing next to the Ugandan Ambassador to the U.S Unfortunately, as expected, president Etibot, the local president was kicked out of his own backyard jurisdiction by being replaced with UNAA’s president Kwesiga.

Stealing the lime light from the community leadership and in particular the community president was deliberately and systematically done. But that was not all. More deliberate protocol violations coupled with deliberate oversight of the local community leadership in as far as seating arrangements during the two day events were concerned. The local organizers in collaboration with Museveni’s “Chief of protocol” found it more appropriate to further eliminate the community president from sharing the stage with president Museveni while Pastor Bazanye and Brian Kwesiga enjoyed the limelight and center stage with Museveni throughout the two day event all the way from Love field airport to Allen, TX.

In spite of attempted reminders to the moderators and Emcees, Monday Atigo, UNAA’s VP, in particular, who was repeatedly asked to approach the responsible individuals to rectify the seating arrangement, the appeal fell on deaf ears.

To a casual reader the above scenario may appear petty and one would also rightly question why the above mentioned issues should be included in this report. It is important to give honor where honor is due. Mr. Lambert Etibot, together with his UAA-DFW executive, rightly deserved the limelight just like everyone else did. What happened to our community president was something one shouldn’t view as a petty.

If anything, what happened during the recent visit was a deliberate insult to the UAA-DFW leadership and the community at large, in particular, denying the community leadership the opportunity to know about the original plans of inviting the president, distancing the community leadership from welcoming the Ugandan president at Love field Airport, denying the local president opportunity to make opening and closing remarks on Saturday and Sunday, denying the local president a seat at the center stage among other mishaps.

In all fairness, if truth be told, an apology to the local leadership and all those concerned would have been rightly in order. More so because, Museveni’s visit was not to “UNAA” as an organization but it was for the Dallas community, which jurisdiction rightly belongs to the local UAA-DFW leadership.

Back in the days, when one of the community aspirations was not just about living in harmony but it was also a matter of working and living in unity even where common interests were concerned. Unity was not just another word but was a virtue which community leaders and membership at large always endeavored to jealously guard. To put it mildly, unity largely prevailed among the Ugandans in UAA-DFW which equally constituted an extremely homogeneous community, a virtue which unfortunately, has since derailed especially in the last five years.

Over the years, it has been and still is an ongoing challenge to each and every local leadership to pick up the mantle in an attempt to streamline the community back to its former glory, however, with the recent visit’s saga which appears to have lowered the expectations and efforts of eliminating the existing stigma which also appears to be an concerted effort of an organized pocket of individuals whose attitudes of sustaining a broken community, ranks on the top.

Meanwhile, back to the in house fights, the Ambassador had originally wanted the locally based “East African Chamber of Commerce” officials to handle the Saturday “Trade & Investment”program, which was actually intended to be the main agenda on the visit ad one which was considered to have been better organized by the experienced chamber of commerce but the later was never to happen as the Ambassador found herself fighting against three opposing forces, an issue which was also seen as a disturbing factor because of more protocol mishaps which additionally makes one wonder, if a fully fledged Ambassador Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary, could be denied her responsibilities by the local organizing committee, the question then begs, how powerful and well connected were the organizers with the powers that be?

The handling of the “Trade & Investment” forum on Saturday was denied to the EACC, a possibility which points at the fall out with the chamber which Hon. David Mureeba together with Brian Kwesiga had a few years ago.

Another major disaster which was caused as a result of sudden cancellations from the hotels affected the Sunday service program which was supposed to be at 10: 00 am but was was later moved to 02: 00 pm to encompass the entire days program. The cancellation also led to the cancellation of Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni’s confirmation to speak to the “Women” during the Sunday morning service.

The presidential address to the community remained in place to be followed by the Q&A session. But before the address a series of speeches and entertainment from the local community based children’s group KCI&I whose “Cowboy dance” with the kids clad in their cowboy boots and hats Museveni a wide smile. At the end he asked the kids “Who is your leader?” The kids unanimously pointed at Tracy Nalwadda, a promising community youth member whose involvement with the kids brightly reflects a role model nature in addition to the highly inspirational traditional dancing skills she brings to the group.

That aside, the recent confusion i general reminds us of the situation which partly contributed to some of the problems the community is facing. Last year a segment of the then community leaders took it upon themselves to corner gullible members by ganging them into special interest groups whose end results lead to one of the most poorly organized UNAA conventions ever.

The recent “Presidential visit” was a clear reflection of how committee leads and some committees of the 2013 Dallas UNAA convention, were secretly selected and appointed by the then local organizing chairman, Mr. Brian Kwesiga with the advice and guidance of among others, his father Hon. David Mureeba.

This time around, it was of little surprise to see a large portion of the same clique which was at the center of last years saga, one which cost the community great shame for poorly organizing a record low attended 25th UNAA Anniversary convention, which was also characterized with very poor management and leadership skills at mostly the local front.

Money Issues Takes A Toll

If one was to mistakenly think that the cancellation and denial of hotel accommodation to the Ugandan dictator, was a challenge shared by the entire organizing team, the overwhelming truth would be that some people among the handful of key organizers, were actually glad that the cancellations took place.

Thanks to the last minute discovery of the “Rwakitura” look alike farm house in Allen, TX which served as the presidents two day accommodation and conference site. However, the last minute deal did not come without controversy. In the middle of the controversy was the questionable exorbitant two day bill which was allegedly hiked to the tune of over $70.000 by the alleged unclear “owner” whom some said was a “Nigerian” while some reports suggested that the owner was a “Retired Asian pilot”. The entire circus came as a result of learning that Museveni was desperate for accommodation so the the house deal had to be finalized by late Friday evening before Kaguta’s landing at Love field airport on Saturday afternoon. The house had to be scrutinized by the advanced PGB team, and all necessary preparations to suit a presidential home had to be met within twenty four hours.

There are several conflicting versions of what the actual bargained amount. Some suggest that the house was initially bargained for two days at $1,500 per day for rent only. While others suggest that the bargain was for the same price for a one week deal only. But to add more confusion to the already confusing situation, other reports suggested that the total deal was for $60.000 which included the general cleaning of the house [In and outside including mowing] it was further suggested that the later figures also included rentals of the tent, chairs, renting privately owned vehicles from inner circle community members, an issue which if the worst was to occur, would have caused major liability issues to both the Kampala regime, an issue which would have later involved the U.S State department in addition to the individual vehicle owners. It was also reported that among those who shared the staggering five figures were the providers of the lousy sound system with squeaking speakers whose poor sound at one point forced Kaguta himself to request more volume in his monitors, during his address.

Further to the controversy which has since the departure of Museveni much grown bigger wings with different versions of the story flying across various media outlets, indicating that there are some key individuals in the local area who instead of desiring for opportunities to serve their party president and the community they call home away from home, they instead more than anything else, smelt “Green Money” from the very day the visit was first confirmed and announced, hence the controversial figures.

As the proverbial saying goes, “One eateth where one worketh…” the sound of a staggering $70.000 or even $60.000 for a mere two day rental property, however exclusive and exotic with all the given amenities including a front yard as wide as a football stadium, the numbers did not make sense especially to most community members some of whom were equally involved in the planning and execution of the two day visit but smelt not even a twenty a dollar bill of the five figure check, cash or whatever format the payment came through.

Furthermore, the figures were highly inflated to the point that even if it was Bill Gates footing the bill, he would question the logic behind the five figure bill, unfortunately, just like the annual UNAA $20.000 which goes unchecked every year, the same was paid out and went unchecked but what is more paining is the fact that we are talking about a tab which was picked and paid for not by Uganda’s billionaires like Salim Saleh or Jim Muhwezi but by a broke third world country, whose chief financiers are the poor pizantiz who also include the hard working Ugandan Diaspora community whose annual renunciations now exceed one billion US dollars. More to the pain, the majority of those Nkuba kyeyos in the Diasporas whose retirement from their odd jobs will probably never allow them to ever see or handle a $70.000 lump sum in their lifetime.
Still at the “Money issue” it was also reported that a resounding $5,000 figure on top of the alleged $70.000 was allegedly spent on feeding approximately 150 delegates who attended the Saturday event, on finger foods comprising of; Chopped cheese, grape fruits, salted crackers, water and sodas. But again knowing how much our well known community “Chef” charges for a serving of not more than three hundred people, in this case which was approximately the numbers of those who attended the Sunday event.

It wouldn’t be too much for one to rightly but silently cry “Oh Uganda, may God uphold thee!” yet again, it wouldn’t be fair for us in the Diasporas to point fingers at corrupt regime officials in Kampala when corruption was allowed to take place in our backyard? Talking about corruption the question which continues to linger both at home in Uganda and wherever Museveni, goes with the “Brown envelopes” is where does he get all the money he is always dishing out even as he was evidently seen dishing one brown envelope on Sunday?

The “Brown envelope” was handed over to one of the leaders of the children’s KCI&I group. The contents of the envelope are yet to be reported to fellow community members. It is not clear if the leaders of the children’s group or Museveni himself are aware that when it comes to United Sates Federal laws governing [501 [c] status organizations there are guidelines receiving and disbursing funds to and from the organization. But that will be a story for another day.

There are several reasons why following appropriate protocol procedures especially where preparing for high profile visits is of paramount importance.

Firstly, it saves the community from any possible embarrassments and heartaches.

Secondly, it saves the community shouldering individual responsibilities.

Thirdly, the recent “In-house” clashes which allegedly took place between Ambassador Oliver Wonekha, Hon. David Mureeba, the organizing committee and the East African chamber of commerce leadership team would have easily contained without much hustling.

The above hard learned experiences are reason enough to support and get more involved with our local chapters and not to shy away when a call for duty is needed. That is also reason enough for the UAA-DFW leadership to learn how to detect or discern future entanglements with well intended community programs from private or personal programs.

Let us learn to trust our elected leaders by allowing them to serve us the best way they can without being intrusive and sidelining them from their dully and responsible duties.

Let us resolve not to allow any divisive attitudes and factions to tear our beloved UAA-DFW and community at large.

Let us resolve to toil and build our communities including our beloved UNAA without depending on our parents, brothers and sisters, grand and great grand parents, uncles and aunties in Uganda, to support and sponsor our diaspora programs including labor day weekend parties in our backyards.

Let us resolve to reclaim our long lost community glory by saying NO to “Brown envelopes” from Kampala. We are more capable and able to give than to receive from our motherland. Let us break that syndrome which is actually a curse by forever saying “Enough is enough” to hand outs from Uganda to our communities, in UNAA and to all able hardworking foresighted Diasporas.

Together, let us fight to regain our communities from self seeking interest groups whose divisive attitudes have sidelined many of our fellow community members away from our communities.

Together let us pray not only for President Museveni to live longer but for him to also realize that he has ruled Uganda long enough.

For God and our country, Uganda!

Rev. Joseph Kamugisha

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