Embattled Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa, an in-law of President Museveni, has said the First family has no intentions of staying in power because Uganda is not a monarchy.
While appearing on the KFM premium talk-show, Hard Talk yesterday, Mr Kutesa, who stepped down on Wednesday after being accused of causing financial loss to government during the Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting in 2007, said he has no ambitions for the presidency.
“There is no discussion in the family that they want to maintain power and Uganda is not a kingdom. I have no intentions of contesting for president and if people think that I am stealing money to use for presidential ambitions then I am sorry,” he said.
Mr Kutesa is among four Cabinet ministers, along with Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, Internal Affairs’ Hilary Onek, State Minister for Labour Mwesigwa Rukutana in Museveni’s government currently on the spotlight for corruption-related charges.
Asked whether the current oil bribery allegations have anything to do with a reported succession struggle within the ruling NRM party, Mr Kutesa said he has no intention to run for the presidency and that as a member of the first family, no such idea had been discussed.
He added: “Those in the line for succession debate fight your wars and don’t involve me.”
Mr Kutesa is believed to be among the richest Ugandans with vast property and businesses. However, when asked to declare his wealth due to wide public perception that he has amassed quite a fortune in unclear circumstances, Mr Kutesa said he is worth Shs3 billion on top of owning two ranches in Nyabushozi and another in Mawogola County. He also admitted that he owns four buildings in Kampala.
“I don’t own any other building; I own a farm at Nyabushozi called Katongole which I bought when I was a student and I have over time restocked... I have four buildings in Kampala, two in Bugolobi, one in Nakasero, which I live in, and another old building on Nasser Road,” he said, adding: “I don’t own Nakumatt and recently a newspaper linked me to Grand Imperial, which is a falsehood.”
Mr Kutesa said he owns 30 per cent shares in the Entebbe Handling Services and said this is the reason why he was censured in the 6th Parliament despite acquiring the property before joining Cabinet and through legal tendering procedures.
“I have been investigated that I wanted to buy the airport and I was censured because I bought Entebbe Handling Services. I have no foreign accounts but I have dollar accounts locally in Uganda. If we want to fight corruption, let us use transparent means and not corrupt ways and let us not demonise wealth creation in disguise of fighting corruption.”
Mr Kutesa claimed he is a victim of a reported witch hunt by individuals who feel that certain faces and certain heads should roll. He said allegations by Western Region youth MP Gerald Karuhanga of oil bribes are mere hearsay meant to destroy his credibility because the documents being used are forged and therefore Parliament ought to give him chance to explain and clear his name based on evidence collected by both the Uganda police.