Countries like Uganda will remain underdeveloped as long as the leaders divert would be development resources to none productive areas. Though President Museveni managed to secure a come back after the 2011 Presidential elections, in the eyes of many, his leadership has done badly mostly because of prioritizing the army. Most of the budgets of the NRM have had a loin's share for the army, and this is one reason why hospitals are in the shape they are, schools bad, and youth unemployment at shameful levels. We are seeing what is happening in Libya. The wise thing for a leader is to do pro- people things, but that wish to remain in power through use of the army is becoming obsolete and a wrong theory where the real power of the people gets to prevail.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
Army to acquire new jet fighters
Friday, 25th March, 2011
By Mary Karugaba
THE Government is lobbying MPs to approve $740m (about sh1.7 trillion) to purchase new fighter planes and tanks.
Sources that attended a closed door meeting between President Museveni and the NRM caucus at State House Entebbe disclosed that officials from the Ministry of Defence said so far $446m (about sh1trillion) had already been paid.
The members were also told the equipment would be delivered in installments. The officials, however, did not disclose the country where the equipment would be purchased from.
The members were told the first consignment of four new planes was expected in in June and the rest will be delivered before the end of the year.
Sources also said the money was borrowed from the Central Bank reserves in dollars, a matter many suspected to have been the cause of the weak shilling.
Sources said the President briefed members on the Government’s military investments that involved purchase of jets and tanks. The President reportedly briefed the members on how the army had evolved since 1986.
“When we took over Kampala, we had only 20,000 military officers. However others were integrated and the number increased to 100,000. But towards 2000, we had retrenchment and the number reduced to 40,000,” the President reportedly explained.
“The army was ill-equipped so we also embarked on professionalising it, a process that involved buying more equipment,” the President added. The meeting started at 11:00pm and ended at about 2:00am.
Sources said the President also informed members that most of the current equipment was junk and needed overhaul. “In that process, we bought new jets. Three are okay and one got problems while in Garamba,” the source quoted the President.
The President reportedly explained that the new purchase was meant to protect the country from insecurity in the region and possible attacks.
“He said we needed to prepare for any eventuality,” the source said.
“The President was mobilising us to support the retrospective authority request when it is presented to Parliament by Finance minister Syda Bbumba,” the source added.
According to the law, any Government investment or purchase should be approved by Parliament but in circumstances when the purchase is made, a retrospective authority should be sought.
Members reportedly put the Attorney General to task to explain whether the drawback was a loan. MPs also asked the President whether this was the first time the Government was making such a move.
During the meeting, the issue reportedly became controversial and members said it should first be handled by a committee of senior Cabinet ministers before it is brought to the public.
“The members’ views were that military expenditure should be classified. They agreed that the matter was complicated and advised that responsible ministries should first handle the matter and call us later,” the source said.
When contacted, the Government Chief Whip, Daudi Migereko, said the meeting discussed budget matters. Asked about the military jet issue, Migereko said, “Strategic issues in the budget were discussed. The Cabinet will continue with some of the issues today.”