Land grabbers are the favored Mafias in Museveni system
By Charles Kamya Ssentamu
Rather than arrest and jail land grabbers, Yoweri Museveni who has ruthlessly presided over Uganda’s progressive decay over the past three decades, has instead been using taxpayers’ money to buy the land for the land grabbers themselves. It is another travesty in the Museveni regime!
The shocking, if not completely surprising revelation was made by Museveni’s one-time consort and former state minister for lands Ms Aidah Erios Nantaba. In conversation with a local newspaper that was published yesterday, Wednesday 18, Nantaba who was at the weekend dropped as state minister for ICT spilled the beans.
She says her efforts to fight for the rights of the poor in her Kayunga Constituency, when she still was minister at lands, were frustrated by the impunity of people that were protected by Museveni’s closed mafia system.
Despite having immense executive powers that he once told an audience make him have “almost god-like powers” on earth, Museveni has always been ambivalent about tackling the land grabbing craze involving people under his command. He has instead hidden behind ineffective reforms of the land law, and endless commissions of inquiry into the malaise.
Now Nantaba reveals that every time she tried to protect the vulnerable whose land was being grabbed, she would receive a call from a general who is feared in the country, telling her to back off. Although she does not name the general who has fewer compunctions than Museveni, he is known to be no other than Salim Saleh. Museveni’s younger brother has been busy building a huge business empire using public resources.
“I fought many big people during my time at lands,” Nantaba says. “What surprised me most is that every time I tried to help those that Karangwa (a dubious businessman with deep connections to Museveni) had evicted from their land, I would receive a phone call from ‘the general’. It is the same one whom this country fears a lot and whom no one can dare talk about publicly.
“He advised me to tell the president to put money in the Land Fund to pay the land Karangwa had grabbed!” In effect it was a scam within a bigger crime: land grabbing!
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Nantaba goes on to cite some victims, then directly implicates Museveni himself of involvement in the scam. “About 1000 families had been evicted when I informed the president about the general’s proposal. That is how I discovered that taxpayers’ money is being used to compensate for grabbed land!” says a shocked Nantaba.
The former minister – who in 2017 curiously ducked a parliamentary vote on the removal of age limits to allow Museveni to contest for another term in his largely sham elections – adds that when she told Museveni about her objection to the general’s proposal, something dubious happened after she asked him to reject the proposal. Some of her own bodyguards were used to stop her from addressing meetings on land grabbing.
Unable to find a reason to ditch her, Museveni resorted to mafia tactics. Nantaba speaks of escaping a plot to frame her for trafficking in narcotics when a security officer at Entebbe International Airport, who was privy to the plot, advised her against travelling with checked baggage.
Nantaba reveals with conviction that she has survived five assassination attempts, and that she had reported the suspects to Museveni. But on four occasions Museveni instead implored her to keep quiet, “to preserve the image of government”. “My only hope is in God because the president is surrounded by mafias,” Nantaba laments.
Her revelations came on the back of a clash last Thursday, between Security Minister Lt. Gen. Elly Tumwine and Lt. Gen Charles Angina, the deputy head of the so-called “Operation Wealth Creation” in the city suburb of Muyenga. In yet another demonstration of how Uganda is sinking deeper into anarchy, Gen. Angina had deployed soldiers to help enforce the opening of boundaries to expand a community access road.
This is an exercise that had been blocked by a dubious city businessman and notorious land grabber with connections to power. A video that has since gone viral shows Tumwine berating Angina, a fellow general, in public. Tumwine even goes on to remind Angina of how he was an outsider to the enterprise that ‘liberated’ Uganda, which is code that “some animals are more powerful”.
It is something that rubs people completely the wrong way: impunity on the basis that one “fought in the bush”.
This impunity has been elevated to an art form going by the acts of the Mafias, day by day.