Generals Split Over Wealth-Creation Program Cash
As Angina faces rebellion
By John V Sserwaniko
To a casual observer, Gen Charles Angina (Deputy Commandant for OWC) comes off as a very modest guy devoid of any pomp, intrigue and sophistication. But the latest information reaching us shows the man is capable of many other things including excessive love for pomp and prestige. Multiple sources have disclosed to us that the man, who speaks and behaves like Pastors, can also be very imposing to those he supervises.
In this briefing we detail the ways in which Angina’s complicated, vindictive and almost disrespectful character has sparked a storm at Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) secretariat where many have quit having been fired or thoroughly intimidated to resign. The OWC program is the Presidential initiative meant to facilitate the President’s intervention into the agricultural sector in order to right the wrongs supposed to have resulted from MAAIF and NAADS’ inept leadership of the last so many years.
NAADS annually gets over Shs300bn, a huge chuck of which goes into procuring fertilizers, seedlings and other farming inputs which are distributed and supervised by hundreds of soldiers recruited under the OWC intervention.
Gen Salim Saleh, the overall commander, has been part of this Presidential intervention from inception. He was previously deputized by Gen Oketta who died months ago, leaving a vacuum that Angina subsequently occupied after being fired as Deputy CDF in the UPDF where many resented his pompous and draconian style of leadership.
Reliable sources say Gen Saleh had preferred more accommodative Gen Lakara Nakibus to deputize him replacing Oketta. However, Lakara served for only two months and was asked to give way when President Museveni posted Angina. Sources say Museveni was stuck and didn’t know how to keep Angina relevant after duty in UPDF. So OWC became the quick way out. “He [M7] believed it was a big operation capable of befittingly massaging Angina’s larger than life ego,” said a State House source.
In his politically very accommodative style, Saleh had recruited the likes of Gen Elly Kayanja and Wasswa Balikalege. “Gen Saleh brought them there not because he believed they are very good at farming or generally the OWC model but was being courteous to keep them busy and access them some financial logistics for their survival.
This is why he didn’t set any targets for them,” said a source. For starters, OWC is headquartered in Bwebajja along Entebbe Road in the J & M Hotel premises. That is where all OWC directors and staff must sit and operate from; save for coordinators upcountry.
But because of his busy schedule requiring him to undertake abrupt Presidential assignments, Gen Saleh rarely sits at Bwebajja. This naturally creates a vacuum making whoever deputizes him to operationally be the main man at OWC.
“Being the flamboyant guy he is, Angina must have said I have finally landed on finding such a vacuum,” said a source.
As defacto head, Angina immediately started antagonizing those he found in the organization by trying to set for them high targets and demanding accountability for the offices they occupy. Kayanja and Balikalege weren’t responsive as they had been used to Saleh’s soft approach. In the end, Angina arbitrarily decreed their dismissal on grounds of age, non performance and inadequate qualifications.
He looked at them as chewing tax payers’ money for nothing and insisted OWC office holders must show results. Gen Saleh had to intervene to reverse the duo’s impending dismissal but damage had already been done with the two having their fat egos badly bruised before junior OWC staffers.
After the Kayanjas, reliable insiders say Angina moved on to tackle some of the district OWC coordinators who happen to be UPDF officers Gen Saleh adopted in OWC after getting the impression they had been put on Katebe by Angina-led CDF administration at Mbuya.
On becoming OWC boss, Angina has vindictively been going after some of these officers now serving as OWC coordinators happily living with a NAADS pick up and a Shs3m monthly salary. They are also becoming men of great influence because they oversee distribution of inputs in the different constituencies.
This has made them respected by area MPs who must work with them to reap political capital out of the OWC program. Ankole western region OWC coordinator Capt Bashaija was given as an example of those who have suffered the Angina witch-hunt. The ruthless army General from Bukedea recently fired Bashaija simply because he has a court case against NARO regarding the ownership of the land on which Ngabo Academy operates.
Bashaija has been educating many fallen war soldiers’ children in this school and his knifing has greatly alienated Museveni’s NRM amongst the community in Mbarara who see him as being punished for his charity towards soldiers’ children. There is another OWC coordinator called SCOURGE who Angina is expected to knife during his upcoming Mbarara tour because he refused to arrest Bashaija. Angina’s supporters say Bashaija knifing was sanctioned by the President, a thing that has created political resentment towards the President. Yet many more are also in problems for making Angina or his OWC cronies unhappy.
For instance the OWC Coordinator for Mbale is being witch-hunted because he has been working with other elected leaders to give out seedlings, something OWC ICT Director John Wambogo is very unhappy with. A Mbale Municipality political flop, Wambogo using Angina faults the OWC coordinator for working with his political adversaries in the pattern seeds are dished out. That Mbale coordinator will most likely be fired for antagonizing Wambogo who happens to be one of the closest Angina allies in the OWC matters.
There is also Director Ndoboli Kataike, the ex-MP and Minister who is these days very close to Angina as a work colleague in OWC. She was woman MP Budaka until 2016 when she was floored by Pamela Nasiyo Kamugo. However, Kataike wants back her seat in 2021 and naturally can’t resist the urge to use her current OWC station to reap some political dividends.
This is why the OWC Coordinator has been reported to much dreaded Angina for distributing seedlings in a manner that politically puts Kataike at a disadvantage while advantaging the incumbent MP. There is Henry Banyenzaki, now a director in OWC, whose political opponent back home in Rubanda shouldn’t reap any political dividend from OWC-related supplies lest the area OWC coordinator will have to be witch hunted for behaving in a way that is capable of displeasing powerful Angina.
SOLDIERS DEFY ANGINA
Using his so-called technical assistant Godfrey Senyonga, who used to powerfully operate in KCCA until Jennifer Musisi resisted, Angina sometime back sanctioned the sending out of circulars ordering all soldiers serving as OWC District coordinators to begin appearing on weekly radio talk shows to explain the OWC achievements.
“He had been to many regional hotels making workshops where feedback emerged the OWC had failed just like NAADS before it and Gen Angina acting impulsively bashed RDCs for not explaining the program and gave the directive which Senyonga communicated strangely using the ICT Ministry letter heads,” explained one of our sources.
The soldiers have however widely defied the directive and instead petitioned for a meeting with Saleh to report how constraining Angina’s leadership style has been to them. “We can’t dare do such a thing to appear on radio talk shows because our boss remains Mbuya and not Angina anymore because he long ceased to be CDF. Gen Sejusa got problems for talking on radio without proper authority from the army. The same applies for General Tumukunde. We are ready to be fired but we shan’t appear on those radio talk shows,” said one of the defiant OWC Coordinators we spoke to for this article.
Soldiers in OWC are generally unhappy with the way Angina sidelined their colleagues who were serving as his military assistants and replaced them with Senyonga designated as Technical Assistant. “We hate the way that guy influences Gen Angina,” said a source adding that closeness to Gen Saleh’s daughter Esteri with whom they share office at 4th floor of the President’s office at Parliament doesn’t make Senyonga a boss to the soldiers working under OWC.
Previledged Senyonga is also among the lucky friends who often join Esteri at Piato restaurant for evening tea after work. Soldiers are also angry that the Angina-led OWC secretariat had recently ordered Afande SCOURGE to demolish Capt Bashaija’s Ngabo Academy which has been educating many poor soldiers’ children. They also wonder why Angina moves with jerry cans full of fuel and keeps refilling the cars in his convoy instead of using the ministry fuel card.
ANGINA FIGHTS MAAIF
The other cause of strife for Angina is the harshness with which he addresses technocrats at MAAIF including Director Crop Opolot Okasai who he wants sacked calling him a political saboteur hostile to the NRM. Okasai isn’t alone as Angina’s supporters have recently not spared Minister Vincent Sempijja calling him too weak.
They have vowed to use Mbayo to ask the President to fire him. Sempijja has been under considerable pressure to cancel the contract of two companies his ministry previously contracted to eliminate the rampaging army worm. Instead the Angina people recently stormed MAAIF offices in Entebbe and demanded that Okasai should be immediately fired for refusing to give the job to Bolton Uganda, a British owned firm based in Industrial Area.
When Sempijja refused saying that is not how it works, Angina supporters dismissed him as too weak. Angina’s men have also lately demanded the awarding of the ICT consultancy job to celebrated IT consultant Wambogo. This too has been rejected by MAAIF technocrats as being in breach to procurement rules. This frustration by Angina’s men resulted into a recent dossier that was written and given to Presidency Minister Esther Mbayo for delivery to the President.
The dossier, disguised as a cabinet position, recommends the knifing of many technocrats at MAAIF to have them replaced by people Angina praises as “well intentioned cadres.” The dossier, whose destruction Gen Saleh has since ordered, recommends that Sempijja permits Banyenzaki to head the Procurement committee at NAADS and for Kataike to become the chair NAADS contracts committee.
The current heads of these committees are falsely despised as saboteurs who lack NRM cadreship credentials which Angina considers very important. Strangely the same NAADS has been very supportive when it comes to funding Angina’s field trips which have seen him reside in regional hotels along with Kataike and Banyenzaki conducting OWC orientation meetings.
The most recent one was in Mbale and Karamoja-lasting two weeks and NAADS funded it with Shs130m. NAADS does many more things to maintain Angina: the agency every month releases Shs20m for OWC stationary which is channeled through Angina’s office on top of the another Shs20m for fuel allowances. Despite all this Angina isn’t satisfied MAAIF is being supportive enough to OWC work. From UPDF as CDF, he was lucky Museveni permitted him to go with his entire office staff and convoy cars.
The staffs are remunerated by the MAAIF budget through NAADS. However, Angina’s long convoy has lately been problematic on Entebbe road especially between Zana and Bwebajja where motorists have repeatedly complained to CDF David Muhoozi. “You are a whole CDF but how come your cars never inconvenience us like that man’s? You are very respectful of other road users,” a motorist recently confronted CDF Muhoozi while complaining against Angina’s long convoy.
Because he wants to feel powerful, Angina has for the last two months been daily coming to conduct OWC-related meetings in the President’s office 4th floor board room. He comes with 4 cars with about 20 military escorts whose presence has lately raised eyebrows. The president’s office security recently flushed them out questioning who Angina is to bring 4 cars when even the Prime Minister Rugunda enters with only one car to economize on the scarce parking. There was a slight fight and the men attempted to encroach on the parliamentary parking crudely trying to force their way through the speaker’s entrance.
On being overpowered, they resorted to encroaching on the grass outside the Finance Ministry. There are also questions as to whether flamboyant Angina is among those entitled to sirens and lead cars when more eminent generals like Saleh travel incognito. There are also concerns staff from Angina’s office will soon be storming MAAIF seeking to compel technocrats to release another Shs130m for his impending OWC hotel-based tours of West Nile.
The manner, in which Angina freely carries his pistol along (like he did last week while meeting the Chinese delegation), has also unsettled many. Farmers are also bitter the man operates in the very restricted President’s office board room instead of Bwebajja where they can easily access him.
Some MPs also fault him for tolerating allocation of inputs in a manner that favors their political opponents back home and they are baying for his blood. We rang Angina who had offered an interview for the weekend but apparently changed his mind as all our subsequent phone calls went unanswered. He had briefly said he knows he has many enemies but his God would plead his case since he is an innocent man always falsely accused.