Sunday, October 16, 2011



Written by Edris Kiggundu & Emma Mutaizibwa
Monday, 17 October 2011 00:01
Details emanating from a cabinet meeting on Friday indicate that President Museveni claimed the ‘sinister’ plot to bring down his man, Amama Mbabazi, is an attempt to remove him from power.
Speaking about the explosive oil bribery allegations debated in Parliament early last week, highly placed sources have told us the President said the scheme would be futile.
As the appointing authority, Museveni said the planned Mbabazi censure would be superfluous because he will continue serving as Prime Minister.
“People who are pushing Mbabazi to step down basing on WikiLeaks are not after Mbabazi but after Museveni. They want to use WikiLeaks to remove me. Mbabazi is going nowhere and Museveni is going nowhere,” Museveni reportedly asserted.
Sources at Parliament have revealed that lawmakers baying for Mbabazi’s blood have been gathering signatures to censure the Prime Minister following allegations that he received a bribe from an oil company.
Western Youth MP, Gerald Karuhanga, tabled documents in Parliament last week, claiming that Mbabazi, Hilary Onek, formerly minister of Energy and Mineral Development and current minister of Internal Affairs, and Sam Kutesa, who last week stepped aside from his Foreign Affairs portfolio over his CHOGM trial, had taken bribes from oil companies seeking contracts in Uganda.
The Observer has also learnt that President Museveni wants to speak to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, whose stewardship of Parliament during the oil debate drew praises from MPs and the public, but sharp criticism from the cabinet.
“I will ask the Speaker of Parliament who was made Speaker by the NRM to explain why she took such a decision without studying the source and authenticity of these forged documents. What was the hurry for?” Museveni reportedly said.
Museveni’s sentiments echo what transpired in cabinet last Wednesday, a day after the oil debate. Chaired by the Vice President, Edward Ssekandi, Kadaga’s predecessor, the cabinet members scolded the Speaker, accusing her of taking hostile positions against her own party.
Kadaga is also vice chairperson of the NRM. A source quoted a minister saying: “She [Kadaga] rarely picked NRM lawmakers but slanted the debate in favour of the opposition. She even humiliated the First Lady, Janet Museveni, (Ruhaama county MP) only giving her a chance to speak much later.”
But Kadaga, the archetypal woman who has shattered the glass ceiling to ascend to the top, said the ministers are trying to find a scapegoat.
“You have to be fair. These proceedings were televised before the whole country; how many ministers stood up? Only about five did. You were there during debate so report objectively,” she said.
Television footage captured the front bench mainly quiet. Interestingly, Trade, Industry and Cooperatives minister Amelia Kyambadde was shown cheering as Karuhanga made his acidic presentation.
Kadaga added: “They (ministers) failed to defend government. They were seated there doing nothing. Where was the Vice President during this debate?
“How much time did he spend in the chamber? Every minister who stood up was given a chance to speak.”
Another source claimed Kadaga has been thrust in the noxious succession struggle by some party insiders who now accuse her of using her position to quietly build a power base. Her response to the allegation was curt: “That is nonsense.”
During the heated cabinet meeting, which began at about 10am and lasted till 9pm on Friday, Museveni implored Mbabazi and Onek to leave the room, so as to get his ministers to discuss the matter unhindered by the duo’s presence.
Mbabazi is Museveni’s closest confidant and the President has always come to his defence whenever accusations have been levelled against him.
“Mbabazi is going nowhere. I know these documents are forgeries and that is my position, and whoever does not agree with my position is free to leave the party,” Museveni said with finality.
According to our sources, Museveni told his cabinet that for all the time he has worked with Mbabazi, since 1974, the man from Kinkizi in Kanungu district has never disappointed him.
“He has always handled sensitive issues in areas of security, legal issues and diplomacy; he is clean and I have never found him wanting,” Museveni insisted.
The President then threw barbs at the new crop of firebrand young Turks, the architects of the proposed censure motion.
“Some members of the party were behaving like young monkeys who get excited when a forest is burning. What they don’t know is that once the forest is burnt they will have nowhere to stay,” he said.
In his dossier titled ‘Tullow Sees Corruption in Oil Sector’, Karuhanga told Parliament that Tullow vice president for Africa, Tim O’Hanlon, had identified Security Minister Amama Mbabazi and the then Energy minister, Hilary Onek, as Ugandan officials who benefited from the attempted sale of production rights by Heritage Oil and Gas to Italian company ENI.
The allegations were carried by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. Another allegation sucked in Mbabazi’s daughter, Nina Mbabazi, claiming she owns a company, Mineral Services Ltd, that does business with Tullow.
But Mbabazi, Kutesa and Onek have all denied ever taking a bribe from anyone. As for his daughter, Mbabazi cited records from the Registrar of Companies, which name the company shareholders as Geoffrey Roberts, Patrick Timbareba and Edward Kabucu.

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