While celebrating his 28th’birthday’ in power in Mayugerecently, maize, and other planting materials as well as poultry, heifers, pigs, goats, etc, to the peasants under a new offensive against poverty code-named ‘Operation Wealth Creation’.
Operation Wealth Creation is headed by one of Uganda’s celebrated military generals Salim Saleh. Apparently, Saleh has earned himself a reputation for being an effective anti-poverty crusader right from the days he superintended the poverty alleviation plans which among others included the famous Entandikwa under the President’s Office. His mode of fighting poverty is about dishing out money to the peasants, the very reason he couldn’t continue working any longer with technocrats at the Ministry of Finance where he had been posted as the minister for microfinance.
Museveni was elated at the Mayuge celebrations to learn that his parallel Operation Wealth Creation commanded by generals was fast yielding dividends as opposed to other prganisations meant to fight poverty which, according to Finance officials, siphons no less than Shs 120bn a year. Compared to the billions of shillings wasted on these organisations Gen Museveni was also surprised to learn that Saleh’s Operation Wealth Creation has utilised a mere Shs 8bn for the whole year since its inception. This would mean that the money that other organisations spends in a year is what the soldiers would use in ten years or so under their Operation Wealth Creation. I saw a charged Museveni frothing with fury and vowing to scrap thousands of technocrats from the government system.
Then, there is another project which is quickly becoming one of Museveni’s wonders. The National Information Security Systems, or commonly called the ID Project under Gen Aronda Nyakairima. In just months that Gen Aronda has been Minister for Internal Affairs, the ID project has moved with considerable speed and nearing finality.
The ID project had already swallowed billions of shillings- Shs 300bn- wasted on a German firm which got the contact in the middle of the night in complete disregard of procurement procedures. At the end of it all, the Germans could only give us 40 plastic IDs at a cost of Shs 300bn! Gen Aronda has vowed that come floods or hippos, Ugandans MUST get their IDs by 2015. He has hit the ground running on this. The General- still a serving army officer- has reportedly ‘spoilt’ things for the guys at Immigration Department who used to mint billions from the issuance of passports and dubious work permits to whoever is concerned. I gather he has installed spies at each and every desk and corner, including gatekeepers,to keep an eye on individuals who have since survived on selling questionable passports.
What if we had a full military general as Minister of Works and Transport? Methinks we would be having fewer roads with potholes and the cowboy contractors would be in trouble. We would need a general who does it like Gen Paulo in Kigali. I am told before commissioning a road in Rwanda, Kagame first hits hard into the road with a pickaxe (‘nsururu’), and if the ‘nsururu’ quickly disappears into the ground, then the people in charge of that particular road including the contractors would be in damn trouble. But if the ‘nsururu’ bounces off with sparks, then Gen Paulo would say, ‘good job!’
Gen Tumwine has led a spirited fight against corruption. He has fearlessly named and shamed the corrupt including his fellow historicals. I wonder why the commander-in-chief hasn’t named him minister for ethics and integrity instead of the cowardly Rev Fr Simon Lokodo who has since been bullied into silence over ‘The Anti-Mini Skirt Law’. We need people like Gen Nasur Abudallah (Amin’s deadly governor) who used to unleash mean-looking soldiers onto the mini-skirt wearers!