I was dumbstruck, and I am sure there are many others who were equally dumbstruck when allegations surfaced on social media raising outrageous imputations on three influential ladies in State House circles. The claim was that billons of money had been squandered, stolen or lost during the 2016 elections. The “accused” were Lt. Gen. Proscovia Nalweyiso (Senior Presidential Adviser), Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema (head of the Anti-Corruption Unit) and Ms. Molly Kamukama (Principal Private Secretary).
The three illustrious ladies held varying portfolios at the time of the elections; Nakalema was a Special Assistant in Charge of Secretarial, Molly was the personal assistant to President Yoweri Museveni in his capacity as National Chairman of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) while Nalweyiso held the same portfolio she is still in.
Nalweyiso and Nakalema are serving military officers. They do not engage in partisan politics and elections, unlike Molly who is a civilian. However, during elections, the state doesn’t cease to operate; so the officers continue doing their usual work-subject to applicable standing orders and regulations regarding accountability when handling money.
For Molly, for any funds, she could have handled she was accountable to the NRM and President Museveni as her principal. Therefore, if there was any accountability query on the three ladies, it would arise from the principal-or the auditor general. Social media can only originate baseless allegations because even a member of the public with serious information would know where to go and blow the whistle on such a scandal.
If the allegation held any water, why did it take so long to surface-it is over three years since the 2016 elections. Nobody would wait and sit on such a “hot story” until now. In fact, these are schemes woven by political opponents of NRM and President Museveni targeting the 2021 elections. Their calculation can be estimated like this; that if the masses heard and believed that three people walked away with billions, they (masses) would be angry with Museveni and regard NRM as benefitting only a few people. They would then engage in defiance or rise up or defect to the weaker side.
Yes! Anybody is free to choose which side in politics he or she believes in and engage in discourse related to politics and comment on issues but those issues must be factual and the choice should be informed on fact. Anybody who thinks that fabricating falsehoods into the public sphere wins them points needs redemption.
President Museveni is not dumb; he is the most informed person who reads widely, researches widely and has reliable intelligence to furnish him with information on virtually anything to the detail. If any coin went missing, he would be the first to know. He should be a complaint! If an Shs50,000 note can go missing and everybody gets to know, what of billions?
Museveni is absolutely intolerant to acts of corruption. Why would he promote the three ladies if they had blemishes in their service? Nalweyiso is now the highest-ranking female officer in the history of Uganda (if not the whole of Africa); Nakalema, too, has been promoted in rank and responsibility as well as Molly who excelled in handling election-related operations. On the contrary, if they had messed up, they would have been dropped, disgraced and tried in courts of law.
Also, the common claim that NRM bribes voters are defeated by the insistent creativeness of opponents; on one hand they claim that money is stolen and therefore doesn’t reach the “voters” while on the other voters are bribed. Total confusion!
During campaigns, NRM only facilitates party agents and mobilizers; there is no money for vote-buying.
The party’s way is straight; money for the grassroots and mobilizers goes straight to the structures. No money can go missing in the court of those at the top without the structures sensing a problem. Unless the pathological liars can provide a list including more names from the various structures, their attempts at blackmail are laughable. Some of us pay attention to such only because we are trying to understand the motivations of the people behind them and how, possibly, they can be helped to become better persons who do not waste their energy in unproductive affairs.
From the foregoing, the allegations flying around fail to beat the test of accuracy, rationality, and justification. On the other hand, they qualify as hateful vengeance and vendetta directed at the maligned officials, President Museveni and NRM at large. I suspect that they are manufactured in the court of those who have been asked to account for funds by their benefactors of recent and failed to satisfy that requirement. All people of goodwill should push back against the allegations and demand for proof from anyone who happens to share and disseminate them in their networks.
As NRM, we take cognizance of the fact that the allegations are intended to divide the party, undermine State House and divert the shine from the mileage gained through the various empowerment programs and wealth creation campaign which Museveni has taken to another level in recent times with incredible results.
The author is a Private Secretary to H.E the President in Charge of Media Management