People & Power

In Uganda, Christmas has been abolished. This is official

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By Prof. George W. Kanyeihamba

Posted  Sunday, December 22   2013 at  02:00

In Summary

It was done and I was later informed that it took a whole Presidential edict to reverse the decision of the NRMO proclaimed supremo lady at the City Hall. Both are still in office as if nothing actually happened.

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Very few people in Uganda will have a genuine merry Christmas this year or a prosperous New Year. The reason is simple. Christmas has been abolished under the current political system of governance.

You may think this is a joke but this columnist is fond of reminding Ugandans that facts and the law do not change but current Ugandan rulers always think or believe that they do.
I was reliably informed recently while abroad that the Executive Director of Kampala Capital City Authority ordered its employees to go home until further notice.

It was done and I was later informed that it took a whole Presidential edict to reverse the decision of the NRMO proclaimed supremo lady at the City Hall. Both are still in office as if nothing actually happened.

Any law student and an intelligent citizen of Kampala will tell you that the KCCA Law casts the Executive Director of the city as a mere Permanent Secretary under and subservient to the Lord Mayor, who in law, is the elected political head of the city, who ought to be giving orders and administrative instructions to the executive director instead of the other way round. But this is the NRMO party government where everything impossible or whimsical is possible under its principled leadership.

Only last year, a gang of environmental thugs decided to construct an illegal monstrosity by hole No. 12 of the Uganda golf course at Kitante. The captain of the club, the Mayor of KCCA, the Water and Sewerage Corporation and Nema rose up in unison and vigorously opposed this illegal construction. Previously, some equally misguided individual had finished building a house on the same spot and was forced to demolish the same house, because he was told that besides the facts already disclosed above, the house had been sited in a road reserve.

This serious breach of the city’s zoning and building regulations was brought to the attention of the Inspector General of Government with a request for urgent action to stop these illegal developments. After a week or so, the IGG personally telephoned the objectors and told them that she had learnt that those unlawful developments had been officially approved. Her Ladyship never disclosed who gave consent for an illegality to continue nor did she produce any written evidence to that effect.

At one time, some Ugandans and residents claimed that an article published in the Monitor newspaper had falsely damaged their name and reputation and they threatened to sue. As is usual, empty threats of litigation are branded publicly to threaten the righteous, who then wait indefinitely for those threats to materialise.

The IGG is becoming a mere excuse for wrong-doing. When the current IGG was first appointed, many Ugandans, including this columnist, had great hopes in her, especially when she spoke so bravely in public. Sadly, all her promises evaporated within the shortest period.

She received many complaints with concrete evidence of wrong-doing and corruption, which continue increasing blatantly without any real efforts from her office to curb them. All her rhetoric statements have turned out to be a mere political screen for covering up or at best ignoring the public cries for justice.

Then there is the Ministry for Karamoja Affairs. Apparently, this is a region which is rich in minerals and other precious stones. Allegations have been rife and circulating that those closest to the Presidency are benefitting or intend to benefit from this great wealth.
How come then that the poorest beggars and wretches of the earth in Kampala have trekked from their homes and are roaming and squatting in Kampala trenches and dustbins forever begging for food? If I were in this ministry, I would be embarrassed and ashamed and endeavour to do something about this scandal.

Will the ministry round up all these miserable kids who have been forced into prostitution and drugs and give them a decent meal at State House this Christmas? Do they really matter in the world that the ministry is planning for itself?

Some time ago, the NRMO party rulers forced a few Members of Parliament to pass the Traditional Rulers and Cultural Leaders Bill unconstitutionally. Many knowledgeable people, including professors Khiddu Makubuya, Oloka Onyango, this columnist and Mzee John Nagenda spoke loudly and clearly against the illegalities that were being perpetrated in enacting it.

The Prime Minister, the Deputy Attorney General and a few others were seen and heard conspiring to have this illegal Bill passed. They succeeded but very unconstitutionally. The President assented to it and the Buganda government apparently went to court about it.

No one in Uganda knows the fate of that litigation. The cynics say the NRMO party government allegedly paid a handsome sum to the Mengo boys to keep quiet about this illegality.

No one dares to come out with the truth. Is the Attorney General of Uganda part of this sellout? What will happen if the same Act is resorted to in 2016? It is now quite clear why the abolition of Christmas would be no surprise under the conditions and circumstances in which Uganda is governed today.

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