Sunday January 17 2010

GRAPEVINE: Otafiire snubs NRM buses

Otafiire snubs NRM buses

Trade minister Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire never seems to run out of controversy. On Tuesday, Gen. Otafiire refused to board the buses provided by organisers of NRM’s just concluded National Executive Council meetings to transport member to State House, Entebbe, where the meetings were held. Instead, Gen. Otafiire opted to travel by his official ministry vehicle to the meeting venue all the way from his residence. The question then is whether he used State resources for partisan work, which is against existing laws.
Meanwhile, word is that Gen. Otafiire is still harbouring his ambitions to unseat Security Minister Amama Mbabazi from the NRM Secretary General’s office. In the last NRM delegates’ conference, Gen. Otafiire was defeated but he has told friends recently that this time he is more prepared and that he intends to put a decent showing in March when the Delegates Conference convenes.

Spotlight story lands Monitor scribe in trouble

A fortnight ago Sunday Monitor published a story titled “Secret report on oil firm leaks.” It was written by investigative reporter, Richard Wanambwa. The story, however, did not name the local senior politician in government who it was stated had brokered the much-talked about billion shilling oil deal between Italian firm, Eni and Heritage Oil. The story quoted an intelligence report which the reporter unearthed in writing the story, the reporter and editor didn’t name the politician.
However, to the surprise of the reporter, he has recently been receiving phone calls from unknown people demanding that he drops further reporting on the issue or ‘be dealt with.’ Hardly a week ago, a minister who has been involved in a scandal over land related matters whispered to another reporter working with Monitor Publications that Mr Wanambwa should watch his back. Is anyone safe these days from those who are drunk with power and believe they are a law unto themselves?

NEC delegates suprised

Delegates at the just concluded NRM National Executive Council meeting at State House were left wondering as to whether PresidentYoweri Museveni and his longtime comrade, Gen. Kahinda Otafiire had consulted before hand. Grapevine overheard delegates wondering how the President’s speech captured many issues that had earlier been highlighted by Gen. Otafiire in an interview with a local daily.
This according to our sources intrigued many delegates who besieged the amiable General at the end of the conference. A delegate from Buganda asked Gen. Otafiire to compare his earlier interview and the speech when the General pleaded ignorance of their suspicions. After a moment of reflection, Gen. Otafiire who has clashed with his boss several times but is highly respected by the President due to his frankness, smiled knowingly. The President, it is said, finds his minister’s frankness on controversial issues like the Buganda and Ankole kingdom question refreshing.

Museveni befuddles men of cloth

President Yoweri Museveni, opposition parties and the Catholic Church are in a political draw. The Catholic Church through Bishop Dr Cyprian Lwanga had earlier last week issued a press statement opposing MP David Bahati’s Anti Homosexuality Bill. It was then highly expected in the church circles that Mr Museveni would automatically throw his weight behind the Bill. However, on Tuesday when the President declared he was not entirely with the Bill mainly because of its foreign policy implications, senior Catholic Church leaders were divided as to why Bishop Lwanga had earlier on shown his opposition to the Bill also. They are said to be wondering why the mind of Bishop Lwanga was in tandem with that of Mr Museveni, an unusual thing going by past relationship between the President and this church.