By Ivan Mwine
Rt. Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu, the leader of the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) party, has lambasted President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for a directive he issued recently, in which he tasked the army to undertake construction contracts in some ministries.
President Museveni is a letter dated July 1st, 2021 directed the Ministry of Education and Sports, plus the Ministry of Health to relinquish contracts to do with construction to the Ugandan Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) Construction and Engineering Brigade, saying the army has better capacity to handle such contracts than companies hired by those ministries.
However, Muntu, like several other politicians, doesn’t concur with the Presidential Directive and he has since penned a long missive on social media revealing why what the president did is absurd.
Here below is Muntu’s thread on twitter about the matter;
“A Thread on the Militarisation of the State.
A few days ago, the President gave a directive that all constructions for health facilities and schools should be awarded to the UPDF. This decision is disturbing in many ways. Ugandans have every reason to be worried.
The UPDF has been home to various scandals, with the most recent one being the “immoral” procurement of 1,800 metric tonnes of beans at UGX 8.1b.
It is important to note that Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) is headed by the President’s brother.
As the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), we believe in building institutions. We are convinced that the development of our country should be based on strong institutions, and not strong individuals. These institutions must be subject to laws, rules, and procedures.
These must apply to everyone; yes, even the President. We believe in what the framers of our constitution espoused when they proclaimed in Article 21 (1) that all persons are equal before and under the law. We hold this to be a fundamental truth and principle that we must defend.
The President’s directive is in total disrespect to the PPDA Act which established the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority mandated to formulate policies and regulate practices in respect of public procurement and disposal activities.
The attempt by the President to issue unconstitutional directives is unfortunate and regrettable.
The President is the Commander in Chief. In essence, the President has taken over all construction contracts in the health and education sectors.
In the army, there is no room for democracy. The Commander in Chief has total control over the affairs of the army. This is another attempt by the President to ensure that he is personally responsible for these very lucrative contracts.
It will not be surprising to see the budget for construction in the health and education sectors enhanced.
The NRM government has practiced nepotism at a level never seen before in this country. Merit has been sacrificed at the altar of greed, tribe, and loyalty.
Jobs and opportunities are not given to those that deserve them, but rather to those who are politically correct or… those that have godfathers in government.
A country that is not run on merit, is a country that won’t go far. If we are to compete in this modern age, like indeed Covid-19 has taught us, we need to attract and assemble our best brains.
The decision by the President to award construction contracts to the army must be seen in this light. The NRM will sugar-coat its evil desires and intentions behind service delivery, and its usual rhetoric of fighting corruption.
In Principle, we in the ANT have been calling upon government to build the local capacity of local contractors to undertake several million-dollar projects that the current Government continues to gift to the Chinese every day.
The Ugandan contractors could only access small contracts of constructing schools and hospitals, and now this too is being taken away from them.
There has been a steady, deliberate, and well-orchestrated plan by Mr. Museveni to militarize the state.
It began with the takeover of the police, NAADS, elections, etc. We would like to remind Ugandans of the words of Pr. Martin Niemöller: “First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and … I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
If we do not resist this militarisation, we might wake up when it is too late.”
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