THIS week I focussed on news from the rest of the world in order to dilute my despair over some of our usual shenanigans. This especially after reading a report suggesting that the government of Uganda was going to send lawyers to India to defend Isaac Musumba, Michael Mawanda and, presumably, Musumba’s client, against charges of extortion and whatnot.
I know for a fact that the government of Uganda will not engage in such a foolhardy intervention without consulting the people of Uganda through our representatives, the Members of Parliament we elected to do our bidding.
These MPs have already quizzed the Foreign Affairs State Minister, Henry Oryem Okello, about why their colleagues-turned-suspects-in-a-foreign-land carried diplomatic passports yet they do not qualify to hold them. This, I am sure, was not driven by the phenomenon we call nugu (for the non-Ugandans, this is akin to envy, or a feeling of ill-will at somebody else’s good fortune) because these MPs are straight-thinking people who want things to be done properly, for God and their Country.
Oryem Okello’s response was neither blindingly intelligent, unfortunately, nor clear and I personally got the feeling that he was manifesting as another government official volunteering Uganda for disrepute and trouble. Perhaps this “bringing Uganda into disrepute” is in the job description of government ministers due to some careless stenography in the appointment letters? (Somebody, please check and fix it!)
Reading the newspaper reports of his appearance before the relevant committee of parliament, it was easy to assume that the good minister was not accompanied by the professionals in the ministry of foreign affairs, who must be well-schooled in the art of diplo-speak, where he clearly isn’t.
So if our venerable representatives were asked to clear the government to spend money on this venture, I trust that they would approach the matter with their usual logic and wisdom.
They would, first of all, cite all the reports made public by Musumba himself regarding his India mission being personal in nature and therefore not the business of the general public through the media.
They would also point out the fact that Musumba’s mission was likely to result in his enrichment of a percentage of the Ushs96billion his client was purportedly meant to receive. They would then link that to the possible cost to the government of Uganda of sending legal teams to India to represent the man who had gone there to represent a private citizen who stood to gain from the exploitation of a natural resource under the control of the government of Uganda.
I can hear some sharp member of Parliament even piping up with, “Surely, shouldn’t that money be spent, instead, on health services or education or promoting trade in this country…?”
But I can’t imagine the response to that because it is hard for me to envisage which government official will be so mindless as to attempt to make this case before a group of intelligent, alert and sober men and women. (Note: I am not making any snide remarks in the direction of one Henry Musaasizi, whose motor vehicle is said to have crashed into a police station one night this week, sounding much like the story of the child who declares to a parent: “The cup has fallen!”)
Then, our MPs will probably whip out the news reports quoting the trustworthy Salaamu Musumba, wife of Isaac Musumba, assuring us that her husband was in no trouble with the law. They might even quote Musumba himself saying he was in control of matters.
And being men and women of the people, I can swear that this Parliament will investigate the matter painstakingly and even follow up on the report in the Observer regarding the original owner of the mine which Musumba’s client became entangled in…
In fact, they can set up a cabinet sub-committee of ministers lacking anything else to do – of which there is NO shortage – and charge them with getting to the bottom of this matter. The investigation won’t give them too much work, unfortunately, since there is a lot of evidence that can be picked up on right here, and here and elsewhere on the internet.
Musumba and his pal should have really read into the name of the company they went chasing after. Or perhaps they did and were somewhat inspired?