Kabale – President Museveni cash reward awarded to the elders in Kigezi sub-region under their association Banyakigezi Elders Forum (BEF) has continued to burn bridges among the elders.
These developments follow the sale of a house bought using the Museveni cash awarded for their role in mediating between him and former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.
In 2015, Museveni invited a group of selected elders from Kigezi and gave them UGX1Bn as a reward for the mediation between him and his former prime minister Amama Mbabazi.
Mbabazi, a resident of Kanungu district, was sacked by Museveni in 2014 and went ahead to stand for Presidency in the 2016 elections.
President Museveni, In appreciation for their work of mediation, offered ugx 1 billion and urged the elders to use the money in finding a house in Kigezi to help them generate income as well as establishing a cultural Centre.
The Members in question bought a house located on Plot 159 Kabale road at Kisoro taxi Park (commonly known as Esso) in Central Division, Kabale Municipality at UGX365 million to generate rental income.
Museveni equally gave them a land cruiser Prado vehicle registration number UAY 124D to ease the transport of the forum’s top leadership.
The house currently accommodates K-Town radio, shops and accommodation rentals.
Members agreed that other portions of the money is used to start up a youth desk to help in reducing youth violence in Kigezi.
However, during the annual general meeting held on Wednesday, November 3, at Town View Hotel in Kabale district, a section of elders demanded an explanation behind the mysterious sale of the association house.
Concerned elders argue that their leaders led by chairperson, Rt .Rev. Enock Kayeye, the Bishop Emeritus of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, treasurer Professor Peter Baguma, Chairman board of trustees Rev. canon Geoffrey Byarugaba and another member of trustees of the board identified as Robert Muhereza later stealthily sold the house to a prominent businessman in Kabale identified as Kabengo Nkwatagye at ugx 250m..
Charles Besheesya, the Chairperson of Kanungu district elders’ forum says that they started demanding for exact reasons behind the selling of the house in November 2016 but officials declined to respond.
Besheesya says that in July this year, they petitioned the office of the Anti-Corruption Unit requesting for help to have the accused officials investigated but however they have instead received threats from the accused officials led by Professor Baguma with warnings to stay away from the house matters.
Besheesya says that in addition to secretly selling the house, the officials have never shown accountability of the other portion of the money meant to start up a youth desk.
David Munyangabo, the Chairperson of Kisoro district elders’ forum demands that the board of trustees be handed a vote of no confidence because they had no right to sell the Association’s house without the knowledge of all the members. Munyangabo says that the sale of the house has left members in agony because the objectives of the association are being marred by corruption.
Mariam Kiconco, an elder from Kihihi sub-county in Kanungu district says that since 2017, Bishop Kayeye has never called a meeting to give either an update or accountability of the projects. Kiconco says that what has angered members again is to receive fresh information that in addition to the secret sale of the house, the association is again currently grappling with a ugx 40m bank loan in post bank. She says that apart from Kayeye and his team, other members are not aware of how the loan was obtained from post bank and for what reasons.
Zadock Kamusiime, Henry Turyagyenda and Anteli Twahirwa, all concerned elders from Kabale district say that what the forum officials have shown is an embarrassment to the young generation who are always convinced to love National Resistance Movement (NRM) party due to its transparency. They also demanded a formation of an immediate committee that consists of six people from each district to investigate the mess and produce a report in the next three months.
During the course of the meeting, a section of angry members almost exchanged blows with some of the forum officials demanding for an explanation to why Bishop Kayeye snubbed the meeting. They were calmed down by Muhamad Chewalyang, Officer-in-charge of Kabale central police station.
Timothy Twikirize Twikirize & Co Advocates, the Forum’s legal advisor and a son to Kayeye revealed to members that the Bishop was unable to attend the meeting due to poor health condition. He however admitted to some anomalies during the sale of the house.
In his defence, Canon Byarugaba declined to respond to the members but instead asked media not to reveal what transpired in the meeting saying that such heated discussions are healthy. Byarugaba says that such matters should be handled indoors not exposed through the media.