Why Oil Bonanza ‘Eaters’ are quiet
By John V Sserwaniko
If you have been one of those wondering why the beneficiaries of the Shs6bn 42 government officials-politicians and civil servants-shared for their participation in the recovery of capital gains tax involving Heritage Oil and GoU, just read this.
Reliable sources have revealed that some of the 42 officials have been confiding in their close acquaintances urging them not to worry.
Reason? President Museveni will have the last word on the saga.
“Madam has been telling us not to worry because the President told them to do their work and ignore the angry public debate. Madam says he told them he will politically handle the matter with Parliament through the NRM Caucus,” said an aide to one of the implicated big ladies that were hitherto thought to be incorruptible.
The source added that: “Madam says the President is equally quiet because he is waiting to strike at the right time. In fact efforts have started. MPs are being engaged and soon you will see many of them characteristically calling news conferences to say ‘I was misled I now have better facts.’
This is something you have heard and seen before in that Parliament.
The big man is leveraging on the fact that there is mini-cabinet reshuffle coming up before Easter and many MPs will be desperate to shun the bad boys baying for the 42 officials’ blood in Parliament.”
The same source stressed “that is why the 42 officials are quiet and confident.”
He added: “You will soon see MPs pinning their colleagues accusing them of vendetta. They will be arguing demonizing colleagues for having vendetta against Keith Muhakanizi and Rose Akol for their role in actively opposing the tax exemption of MPs’ transport allowances.”
Akol and Muhakanizi are accused by MPs for secretly meeting Museveni and lobbying him not to sign onto a Bill that proposed this exemption.
The small clique of MPs defending the 42 officials will soon be out arguing that they have got better facts and have concluded its improper to be on a bandwagon of vindictive legislators indiscriminately going after 42 officials yet in actual sense the anger is specifically on Akol and Muhakanizi.
State House aides have also advised the 42 officials to privately engage some media activists giving them good facts to be running around with separately defending them on radio and TV talk shows as the Parliamentary U-turn shapes out.
Efforts to verify this information on the alleged Museveni backing of the 42 officials were futile as Don Wanyama, who speaks for the President, was unreachable by press time.
We rang on his known MTN line but it was switched off and he was yet to reply our text messages by press time.
Meanwhile some MPs have proposed to conduct a public hearing of the 42 officials “who must personally appear in Parliament, apologize and return the money which must be handed over to Parliament before TV cameras or bring cheques.”
This is according to Nakaseke MP Lutamaguzi Semakula, a blue eyed boy for Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
“We are about 50 MPs so far sharing this view and we are persuading the Speaker to buy into our proposal so that we demonstrate high transparency levels the 10th Parliament wants to set,” Semakula told us over the weekend.
In the NRM camp, basically Museveni core supporters in NRM Caucus, there are fears the population may ride on the momentum created against the 42 officials to demonize the President and blackmail MPs to refuse to pass future amendments aimed at scrapping age limits which is the only hurdle now standing between Museveni and 6th elective term running between 2021 and 2026.
Semakula, a very outspoken DP MP, confirms that he is part of a team of 50 liberal-minded legislators who intend to ride on the unanimity created by the onslaught against the 42 officials to defeat impending efforts by Musevenists to scrap age limits. Watch this space!