President Yoweri Museveni started his speech at the launch of the book, Corruption; A Tale of Two Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing authored by Gender Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana, with some colourful language.
“Bigirimana has some Musevenism in him,” he said. Mr Museveni then digressed to the analogy of how Jesus was tried by a spineless Roman leader, Pontius Pilate, after he informed the crowd that Jesus was innocent.
“Pilate yielded to pressure and based his cowardly decision on false accusations, surrendered Jesus for crucifixion.” The President then said he is not a cowardly leader and that he could not sacrifice a whistleblower.
His remarks upset MPs who accused him of perpetuating a cover-up and offering lip-service in the fight against corruption. Former Public Accounts Committee chairman Kassiano Wadri and his deputy Paul Mwiru observed that Mr Museveni’s continued defence of Mr Bigirimana is imprudent.
“This is clear testimony that he does not have the political will to fight corruption,” they accused the President of embracing the very wolves Mr Bigirimana talked about in his new book.
The OPM Scandal, as it came to be known, will for some time remain one of the unforgettable corruption scandals of recent times.
At the onset of this scandal, the primary suspects in the alleged theft of Shs50b in donor money meant for post-conflict reconstruction of Karamoja and the North were Mr Bigirimana, who in the PS at OPM and his Principal Account, Geoffrey Kazinda.
The MPs reiterated that Bigirimana should have taken responsibility for the scam even after the President said he read the entire report and found no evidence implicating him, instead of concluding that Bigirimana was a whistleblower in the scam.