A day or so ago, I wrote about my disappointment in the notion presented by some colleagues in my party FDC that are so close to Dr Besigye’s campaign team claiming that he is the one that owns the opposition in Uganda and giving the TDA ticket to any one beside him is unfair since Besigye has been in the opposition trenches for over fifteen years.
They have further gone ahead to claim that Amama Mbabazi is a very corrupt character that “we the opposition” cannot afford to work with.
But good enough, in his nomination forms for the TDA ticket, Amama Mbabazi was honest enough to name the said corruption scandals he has been involved in. That is to say; Temangalo and CHOGM.
He further went ahead to proudly inform the summit that he was not found to be guilty of the said allegations/scandals, and indeed he was being truthful.
However, my good friend Dr Kiiza Besigye whose fanatics are partly arguing that Amama should not be accepted in opposition circles because he is “corrupt” is not corruption free himself any way.
The bible in simple terms refers to these Besigye fanatics as hypocrites. Yes, hypocrites they are because Besigye himself did not leave government corruption free.
These hypocrites (Besigye fanatics) ought to first reflect upon the corruption scandals Besigye was involved in while in government before they attack others on the same.
The bible does not only stop at calling them hypocrites but goes ahead to give them prudent advise. This is categorically stated in Mathew 7:5; ” You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Besigye’s history and past has humongous planks and specks in it, why aren’t his fanatics reflecting on them?
For consideration of memory loss to his fanatics, I am glad to share a few of Besigye’s corruption planks and specks starting with the junk helicopter scandal.
“The “junk helicopters” story was first broken by the New Vision in 1997.
In April 1997, the Ugandan government signed a purchasing arrangement for four helicopter gunships from Belarus.
The helicopters were to be supplied by a UK based company called Consolidated Sales Corporation (CSC).
When the initial batch of two helicopters arrived in Uganda, however, they did not meet the specifications of the contract and turned out to be junk.
The helicopters and the resulting lengthy dispute are estimated to have cost Uganda around USD 13 million.
Major General Salim Saleh, the Minister of Defence at the time, confided in President Museveni, his eldest brother that CSC had offered him a bribe of USD 800,000 to help the deal go through.
The contract price of each helicopter gunship was put at USD 1.5 million.
Museveni ordered his brother to use the money in the war in northern Uganda.
A judicial commission of inquiry was set up in 1999 to investigate the 1997 deal. In 2001, the judicial inquiry recommended that several officials including Salim Saleh and Colonel Kizza Besigye, be tried for corruption.
The director of Public Prosecution, Richard Butera, started independent investigations of Major General Salim Saleh and Colonel Kizza Besigye, while the cabinet recommended the prosecution of army officers, businessmen and civil servants implicated by the judicial commission report.
Cabinet also directed that implicated army officers should face an army court martial.
The commission’s report was never made public or the findings of the court martial.
After the report was submitted to the Ministry of Defence in August 2001, there was no follow up by the government. (Sunday Monitor, 2 September 2001, in Global Corruption Report 2003)”.
Important to note is the fact Dr Kiiza Besigye personally as the chief of the Chieftaincy of Logistics and Engineering in UPDF led a government delegation to Bilerus to inspect the Helicopters.
And indeed, after inspection, Besigye approved that our government procures those helicopters because he found them befitting.
What is interesting about Besigye’ role in this corruption scandal are two issues. One, all the Mi-24 helicopters that Besigye inspected and approved of were unserviceable.
Two, the MiGs had to be modified in Israel but upon delivery in Uganda, two of them could not fly. All this happened after Besigye had personally used tax payers money to go and inspect the said air gunships. How then can one claim that Besigye is corruption free?
Beside the junk helicopter scandal, the Besigye fanatics also need to be reminded of their demigod’s role in procuring under size army uniforms for the UPDF.
There are actually alot more scandals that Besigye was involved in and it is unfair when his fanatics paint a god of him and a devil of those he is competing with.
Ugandans surely know the truth and their wise silence must not be mistaken for foolishness.
Our country men indeed know that while Besigye was state minister for internal affairs between 1986 and 1988, he totally failed to tackle or handle or even mention a word about corruption in the Uganda Police Force, he ignored it and left it to thrive.
Actually Besigye began accusing Museveni’s government of corruption only after he fell out with government which is a sign of dishonesty.
Dr. Kizza Besigye once said: “You cannot accuse the NRM government of corruption because, when we came, we found a corrupt society and we are dealing with the same people.”
The Monitor newspaper of December 9-12, 1994 quoted him during an exclusive interview.
It is therefore unfair when Besigye’s supporters start painting him as very holy and others stinking sinners.
Besigye’s fanatics should only be appreciative of the forgiving heart of Ugandans. They should appreciate that the same way Ugandans forgave Besigye for his “scandals” is the very way they have forgiven Amama Mbabazi for his own “scandals”.
The very way Buganda and Uganda at large forgave Besigye for being among the few who vehemently opposed the restoration of Kabakaship and Kingship at large while in the army council in Gulu in 1992 is the very way Ugandans in Kannungu have forgiven Amama for the alleged “violence” that could have occured in Kannungu during his parliamentary elections as an NRM candidate.
No one should accuse another falsely. I think that Besigye’s campaign should concentrate on ensuring that their candidate wins the pending election because that is exactly what the Amama campaign is doing.
Attacking Amama Mbabazi like as though he represents Museveni in the opposition is an exposure of shallow mindedness and lack of focus among some colleagues in the opposition.
As a pro change activist, I just like the rest of Ugandans, I am desperate for change and will support the best candidate in the 2016 Presidential Elections.
In a nutshell, I refer my colleagues, the Besigye fanatics to consult the Bible and read the book of Acts, in particular, the story of Saul. Just like our senior comrade in the struggle Norbert Mao noted, when Saul was converted to Paul, the church did not persecute him just like he had been persecuting the believers. Church rather welcomed Paul and he henceforth contributed highly to building the church by spreading the gospel.
I believe JPAM will contribute to the cause of change the very way Paul contributed to spreading the gospel and building the church among the gentiles.
Kato Isa, the author, is the NRM Poor Youth Forum coordinator, a group allied to Amama Mbabazi