In Uganda, the decision
by the secretary general of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) to
sell land to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) is turning out to be a
major scandal. Movement Secretary General Amama Mbabazi is accused among other
things of conflict of interest.
The deal is currently a subject of
investigation by a committee of the Ugandan parliament, and some NRM members of
parliament like Jim Muhwezi have gone on record to call for Mbabazi’s
resignation as party secretary general.
From Kampala, Mbabazi told VOA
that while it is true he has shares in the company that
owns some of the land that was sold, there was no conflict of interest.
were such allegations, but this was clearly a misunderstanding because the NSSF
does not fall under my portfolio. And as a matter of fact I did not even
participate in the actual sale of land because the company had given power of
attorney to a colleague of mine about that sale. So that couldn’t possibly have
been a conflict of interest because a conflict of interest is where one uses
his or her position of responsibility for personal advantage. And obviously
that couldn’t have been the case,” he said.
land sale deal is currently a subject of investigation by a committee of the
Ugandan parliament, and some members of parliament have gone on record to call
for Mbabazi’s resignation as party secretary general.
Mbabazi said his colleagues
still have confidence in his leadership as secretary general of the ruling NRM.
He blamed what he called vocal voices within the party who he said have been
trying to seek his downfall.
“There are a few voices
which have come out vocally, but these are the same voices which have always
been vocal against me when we stood for election. When I stood for the position
of secretary general we had a competition and apparently those that competed
with me are still at it. But as you know, I won an overwhelming majority. I
scored more than 75 percent support, and I still enjoy that level of support,”
He said certain people, whom
he did not name, have always wanted for him to be caught in some wrongdoing.
“Some people felt that at
long last they had caught me in some wrongdoing or in some improper behavior.
But of course there is nothing in it,” Mbabazi said.
Jim Muhwezi, a
member of a parliamentary committee investigating the land sale, is one of those
who has gone on record to call for Mbabazi’s resignation as party secretary
general. He said parliament has found evidence of some wrongdoing.
“It would appear there were
some mistakes which were committed by both the management and the board of directors
of the National Social Security Fund, but also by the senior public officers
who were party in the sale of the land. We have debated this openly and we have
given our views to Honorable Mbabazi, who has also been going around explaining
himself and pointing out some of us as the people who are against him,” Muhwezi
But Muhwezi said some
members of parliament have told Mbabazi that they had nothing personally
against he Mbabazi except that Mbabazi’s publicly stated views have been
contrary to what the evidence has shown.
Muhwezi said while Mbabazi
has been telling the public in the media that some people were out to see his
downfall, very few Ugandans have bought into such an argument.
“I must add that recent
events of course have settled because the managing director has come out to see
that he behaved the way he did because of political pressure exerted on him. So
I think that is a none story by Honorable Mbabazi because it is not confirmed,
as we all already knew any way and evidence has already shown that it was
political pressure that caused the management of the National Social Security
Fund to flout all the procurement regulations which caused anger to most of
people,” he said.
Muhwezi said he would not
like to pre-empt the parliamentary committee’s report, but he added that those
who would be found guilty would be dealt with according to the law. He also
said those who would be politically and morally responsible would also face
political and moral judgment.