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Government officials taking the other citizens for a ride

Editorial

Government officials taking the other citizens for a ride

MP for Nakaseke County, Syda Bumba

MP for Nakaseke County, Syda Bumba

It must have come as a shock to many people, when it was revealed that the MP for Nakaseke County, Syda Bumba, had signed an important official document without reading it. This happened when she was holding the docket of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals.

These documents pertained to the oil contracts involving, or were part of, the Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs). The importance of these PSAs cannot be over-emphasized as concerns the economic viability of the nation.

The repercussions from the issue of the oil contracts, as concerns the PSAs, eventually ended in a London court for litigation, in which Uganda was awarded a certain amount of money. Part of that money has come down to as the infamous, “Oil Handshake”, in which a few individuals, who were entrusted in public officers, shared a sizeable amount of the money from that court settlement.

The PSAs have always remained in the domain of secrecy; and without going into any detail, it can be safely assumed that Bumba’s – is it carelessness, or unconcern? – may have led to this. The net effect is that, it is the common man in Uganda who suffers and bears the burden of this incredible case of the citizens of Uganda being taken for a ride.

If this is the fallout from such actions, even before the oil has come up to the surface, what will happen when the oil is finally being mined? Are we far off from the ill-reputed Oil Curse?

And yet there is no indication that Bumba was remorseful for this disservice to the people of Uganda. Indeed, she eventually ascended to an even, considerably, higher office of the Ministry of Finance, in direct contact with the public money of the country, for which she had taken no concern earlier while being in the Ministry of Energy.

With this in her mind, she goes ahead and seeks votes from part of the people she has done a disfavor. And what is worse, because of factors hidden from the public at that time, she was elected to represent those Ugandans. This is not at all fair to the citizens of this country!

An officer in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, was recently sacked for a similar act. He had signed certain documents without ascertaining to their authenticity. It was later discovered that some of the documents were forged. And, quite responsibly, he was relieved of the job. Bumba has suffered no such sanction.

It goes to show the level of how the Uganda politicians have taken the people of Uganda as their stepping stones. A study by the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA), has noted that ordinary Ugandans are compelled to “rely on their own capacities to overcome multiple, unrelenting and intersecting dimensions of poverty”.

Part of this poverty is induced by the people who have been put in the public office to provide services, part of which the country offers, to pull them out of this poverty. What a travesty!

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