Over the years, the Executive, the Judiciary, Parliament, the IGG and powerful officials smelling with corruption have played several hide-and-seek games that have filled even the most patient onlooker with disgust.
In many of those cases, you get the impression that there is a powerful guiding spirit that, at best, is ambivalent about the moral and socio-economic implications of the crimes that involve serious public money. In worst-case exhibitions, members of the ruling clique do not only seem to approve of the crimes, but to be implicated as collaborator. In all cases, Ugandan and/or donor country tax-payers are the victims, for whom law enforcers and the courts had failed to provide satisfactory resolution.
To the political white-collar criminals, notions like “the conscience” or “remorse”, generally mean nothing. In isolated cases (like the general who took kickbacks on the purchase of junk military choppers, and was – so we are told – advised by the commander-in-chief to spend his loot on a cause in northern Uganda; or like the woman who reportedly returned some of the money “diverted” from an Aids, malaria and TB fund), only the notion of “damage limitation” is evident. Otherwise, the regime would have begun to reform long ago.
Instead, after causing the taxpayer so much pain, his tormentors are beginning to literally insult him. Until last week, not many Ugandans could have figured out that although they are both “doctors”, a former vice-president was cooking up a scheme that, as an insult, exactly matches the audacity of Kato Kajubi’s witchdoctor.
Oh, a rough outline, just in case you missed out on the witchdoctor’s story. Kajubi is the wealthy businessman and real estate developer who retained the services of a witchdoctor. Mission: to secure a young boy and sacrifice him to the gods (or to one god), so that the divine forces would look at Kajubi’s desire for greater wealth with favour.
Many gods have a weakness for flesh and blood (sometimes human) before they give you blessings and salvation, but the gruesome murder of Kajubi’s primary school victim attracted unusual public interest because it was one of the few cases where the culprits got caught.
After an incompetent police investigation and a cynical judge led to the acquittal of Kajubi, a public outcry forced a retrial and pushed the police to do a better job. Apparently, in exchange for immunity, the witchdoctor, who had not been paid fully by Kajubi, agreed to cooperate with the police and testify against his client.
Given the extremity of the crime, it was surprising that the witchdoctor got away scot-free. But wait for this: several months down the road, the witchdoctor is suing for compensation from the State because of the loss of clients and income that the whole of this messy little matter has cost him!
So, after the millions of shillings of public money spent during the two trials of his client, this most inhuman of inhuman primates wants taxpayers to pay him for his financial inconvenience! The alleged involvement of former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya in the multi-billion-shilling Chogm 2007 BMW car scam; the contradictory remarks on the subject by President Museveni; the fluctuating interest of the IGG; the trial or non-trial of Bukenya and his co-accused; the deliberate head-spinning confusion created by the ruling elite; all these are exactly in line with the NRM conspiracy against the Ugandan taxpayer.
Ugandans paid several billion shillings above reasonable cost for Chogm 2007 transport. That is not in dispute. The question is: Does the NRM government have the will and the moral authority to prosecute those responsible? The answer is decidedly, no.
Okay, our people are helpless. But as if arrogance has left his conscience completely in tatters, Prof. Bukenya wants taxpayers to give him another Shs104 million because the IGG dragged him to court on “flimsy” charges. The inconvenience he suffered…the physical and mental torture…the stress…the damage to his reputation… Oh, very sorry sir, we idiots will pay. How has the NRM made normal human beings so insensitive?
Allan Tacca is a novelist and socio-political commentator.