information pills http://citrusresearch.org/wp-includes/class-wp-http-proxy.php sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; background-color: white; line-height: 13.5pt;”>A storm started brewing in a tea cup on Monday when an inquiry pinned Mafabi for loss of Shs8 billion of Bugisu Cooperative Union (BCU), medical during his tenure as chairman of the board.
In a statement issued Wednesday, fiery Mafabi says this past week has seen the ruling party, through its state-controlled media, embarking on a desperate and very laughable attempt at discrediting me and trying to disorganise his new push to create real change in this country.
“I know of meetings held at State House meant to draw strategies to attack me ahead of the FDC presidential race. One of them is to attempt to link me to belligerent groups,” says Mafabi.
53 suspected opposition-leaning rebels were recently charged and remanded at Luzira Prison.
The Budadiri legislator explains he has helped BCU farmers get out of poverty yet government wanted to “kill” the project with the view of discrediting him.
The new development underlines a new political war between the ruling party and Mafabi, a potential presidential contender.
BELOW IS MAFABI’S VERBATIM STATEMENT
This past week has seen the ruling party, through its state-controlled media, embarking on a desperate and very laughable attempt at discrediting me and trying to disorganise my new push to create real change in this country.
First, was the screaming headline of purported key agent (aide) of my campaign taskforce had defected to the NRM, accompanied with a picture of him meeting President Museveni at his country home, Rwakitura.
Needless to mention that said Kisolo has never been my aide but one of my group employees. Before the dust could settle, the same media was again at it, screaming that I had been implicated in the loss of Shs8 billion of Bugisu Cooperative Union(BCU), during my tenure as chairman of the board.
It should be noted that it is during my time when BCU reversed the loss-making entity into profit as opposed to the former NRM board, which had the perennial record of loss-making and irregular disposal of the hard acquired Union properties.
I will address my mind largely to the second accusation because I do not think I should offer any credence to the cash-induced farce in the so-called defection story.
My ascension to the BCU board, as the chair, was something President Museveni had loathed from the word go. Known for his love and deliberate policy of destroying the cooperative movement in Uganda, it was therefore not shocking when, the would have been low-key election of the board in May 2008 suddenly turned into big political theatre.
The NRM heavyweights, loaded with “sacks” of money, supported by open and covert security operations, attempted in vain to try and stop me from being elected to the position of Board Chairman. However, the resolve of the farmers could not be shaken.
The zealous and resolute farmers, resoundingly gave me the victory to oversee the affairs of their much loved BCU board-and to the chagrin and humiliation of President Museveni and his lieutenants, licking their wounds.
It should not be surprising, therefore, that since then, the NRM, through its agents like the commissioner for cooperatives (whose major task is to frustrate, destroy and neutralize the cooperative movement in Uganda – just like the late Banyankole Kweterana, etc) has tried to place stumbling blocks in our path to try and give our people a decent living.
There is no doubt that the people of Uganda overwhelmingly demand for the reinstitution of the cooperative system.
I have severally, with the support of the eager farmers of Bugisu, fought off the heinous and ill-designs by the Museveni led war against the livelihood earning venture of the Bagisu’s BCU and myself. Such scornful fights and laughable attempts at getting me out of BCU are evident.
Initially it was using high handed policy of frustration, and this time round, a technically and well-designed arrangements meant to deregistering my primary cooperative society to technically knock me out of the race for competing for the top leadership, hit a snag. Without shame, there came the idea of discrediting my character and the well earned personality through dreadful inquests.
The idea of creating these sham inquiries, as in the past failed attempts, was to try and implicate me in financial and managerial scandals – typical of the past failed efforts on the part of the NRM. When this so called forensic audit was announced, anyone would have predicted the outcome – get Nandala guilty of anything!!
The inquest, therefore, had been provided with the answers and their job was to obtain questions to legitimize their ill plans and intentions of attaining their hidden agenda against the people of Bugisu and their economic might!
It is the report of this inquiry that is now being bandied around like the government has made a rare scientific discovery – befitting a Nobel Peace Prize! This malicious attempt is bound to be doomed, just like the several, in the past.
Due to space constraints, permit me to highlight just some basic facts. When my board assumed office in May 2008, BCU was gone.
It was choking under the weight of debts, actually a Shs1.7 billion deficit, the former board could not account for various union properties while farmers were earning a measly Shs800 from every kilogramme of coffee sold, even when world prices were far above that.
In the short time we were in charge, despite the challenges, largely from the state, I managed to steer the union up from a deficit to a secure cash position of Shs2.5 billion working capital.
I am now told the caretaker regime under the Commissioner of Cooperatives has swept away most of this money, leaving the union where we found it. In those two years through collective bargaining and negotiation, we managed to help our farmers trade a kilogramme of coffee at Shs10,000 a kilogramme up from the miserable Shs800.
We were on a steady path of recovering most property that had been parceled out among members and some sold at give-away prices.
In fact coffee in Bugisu is called Nandala.
The thrust of this kangaroo inquiry is based on a claim that I irregularly leased 1,000 acres of land to a firm, Adonai Investments.
The truth of the matter is that the board sat and reviewed the status of the land. Since 1966, the land had lain idle and the board agreed that we hire part of it (1,000 acres) to a private firm and pass the rest (2,000 acres) to our farmers to grow mainly sorghum, which had key demand in manufacture of beer at 35,000 per year as opposed to zero.
All these decisions were minuted.
It is therefore shocking when this inquiry claims I made a sole decision to lease the land. Even the person never took the 1,000 acres as agreed.
I would have loved to delve into the nitty gritty of these claims and their motivation but again, I will be giving credibility to a flawed process. However, the one-million dollar question is, “What justice is this where one is convicted without being given a chance to tell their side of the story?”
When I learnt of this inquiry, I more than once contacted the commissioner to allow me explain my side of things.
This never happened and yet they met the old board we replaced. Of course the purpose was never to get to the bottom of management issues but rather find an excuse to push me out of BCU.
Moreover when the first inquiry did not materialize to the expectations of those witch- hunting me, another was hastily formed to investigate the investigating team.
This tells how desperate the regime is at having me out of BCU. I am optimistic though, that I will find justice in the courts of law where I am going to challenge these concoctions.
It would be unfair though not to place these developments in their proper context. It is not by mistake that I have become the object of state attacks and negative propaganda. In fact, friendly forces from within the system tell me I should expect worse in the coming days and months.
It is an old template that we saw from the way Dr Kizza Besigye has been handled since he decided to expose the dictator that Museveni is. Ever since I declared my intention to contest for the FDC presidency, President Museveni and his cronies have lost sleep.
The dilemma of dealing with a candidate distinguished for exposing and fighting corruption (as evidenced in my performance when I chaired PAC in the Eighth Parliament ), one who has demonstrated that farmers can be organised into profitable cooperatives and have a decent life, one who kicked NRM from his backyard in the 2011 elections, ensuring that FDC wins all the parliamentary seats in Sironko District and takes majority councillor positions, including LC5 chairman, is one that is making Museveni’s strategists turn to blackmail and character assassination.
President Museveni should know he is past his sell-by date. The recent Afrobarometer poll showed that close to 70 per cent Ugandans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Turning this country into a police state with policemen outnumbering boreholes is no sign of stability. He can continue to lie to himself and let his cronies lull him but the message is clear—his end is nigh.
The progressive forces that I represent will not rest until we see this country back on the right path.
A path of equality, a path of no-tribalism, a path of successful cooperatives and empowered farmers, a path where corruption will be a risky venture.
I know of meetings held at State House meant to draw strategies to attack me ahead of the FDC presidential race.
One of them is to attempt to link me to belligerent groups. Anyone who has dealt with me knows how peace-loving a Ugandan I am.
No amount of blackmail, character assassination, lies and state-orchestrated propaganda will stop us.
The wheel is in motion, President Museveni can throw everything at it but he will not halt its spin. We have exposed the emperor’s nudity and no amount of pretence will clothe his indecency. The struggle is on! At a later stage will provide a detail account of my 2years at BCU. (From May 2008 to 2010). I call on all Bugisu farmers that it is time to fight for our Union which is not a government company.
Nathan Nandala Mafabi