Category Archives: Politics

In Support of Moses Lubwama, the Parliament’s Ghost Employee

I always used to look forward to watching Scooby Doo cartoons in a bid to see strange things happening. However, lately, Uganda is not short of strange happenings and as a result, I nolonger need Scooby Doo. It has gotten so bad that the strange things are now considered normal.

We once had Ghost soldiers littering our army payroll, this was followed by Ghost UPE students, then Ghost investors who apparently were meant to put up serious investments on the Shimoni land and Naguru Estate only for them to be parceled out in plots (makes one question the composition of grey matter in the brains of the decision makers), Ghost road contractors (remember EUTAW?), Ghost owners of Crane bank, Ghost buyers of Kinyara Sugar Works and many more to come. Like the Baganda say, katandika butandisi (it’s just beginning).

With an abundance of shamelessness, the movie actors in this Ugawood movie of Ghosts go about their business knowing that they are afterall untouchable. It has resulted into many rightful thinking people opting to join this vitriol filled bandwagon of economic pirates incorrectly labelled as tycoons that cannot let anything with the slightest monetary value slip past them.

When I woke up to the news about Moses Lubwama the Ghost worker at the Parliament of Uganda, I was initially inclined to join the crusaders baying for his blood. However, after reading the story, my position changed to one of admiration.

Why am I impressed by Lubwama?

  1. He went out of his way to create a job for himself. Many of us are sitting on our laurels waiting for someone else to come up with a job and then make applications. This guy realised that Parliamentarians needed a lot of help and he had the ability to help them out. He then decided to avail himself and bingo! For over ten years, he’s been working diligently for the institution.

  2. No where in the article has he been branded a thief. This implies that he is an honest Ugandan who wanted to be gainfully employed. For someone of his age to settle for allowances speaks volumes about the frustrations he might have faced over the years when it comes to getting jobs. Unlike the pompous thieves cum business tycoons littering our streets after benefitting from numerous ghostly activities, Lubwama has used his ghostly activity rightfully.

  3. He is a diligent hard worker. Lubwama was described by Parliamentary workers (the non ghosts) as “an active and amiable person who often stood ready to help with any assignment when not engaged with a committee.” How many officially employed personnel can get such ratings from their colleagues? You reading this, are you sure your friends in office would say the same about you? For a Ghost of Lubwama’s calibre to have such a rating speaks volumes about his personality and intent to be of service.

  4. Mr Lubwama has probably raised a family over these years on mere Parliamentary allowances and tips from legislators. His kids have gone to school, he’s probably built a house and maybe even set up a small business for his wife. Really, would you be the first to cast a stone at this Ghost? Maybe as a highly sought after professional you do not understand what I am talking about here. I just want you to know that there are people whose ability to survive hinges on those little opportunities that you normally do not even give a thought about.

  5. Getting a job at parliament. Let us rewind the clock, ten years ago. If Mr Lubwama had applied for a job at the Parliament, would he have got it without any undue influence? It is an open secret that Government jobs require alot of influence peddling. Lubwama might not have been privileged enough to know someone that knows someone high enough to land him a job there but he opted to use his ingenuity, what Tamale Mirundi refers to as Logic (pronounced as Logiki).

My prayer therefore is that those investigating him do expedite their work and if he is found not to have any subversive tendencies, then offer him an opportunity of a lifetime.

Lubwama is a good Ghost, one I can take a cup of tea with and not feel guilty about it. If I had to make a choice between Lubwama and the outrageously pompous tycoons relying on ghosts to rob this nation, I would take the former any day.

Over to you Madam Speaker.

James Wire is a Small Business and Technology Consultant based in Kampala, Uganda

Follow @wirejames on Twitter.

Email lunghabo [at] gmail [dot] com

Hon. Anite, you’re a Minister. Get out of your Slumber

Abraham Lincoln once said, “it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

I could hardly believe my ears and eyes when I read and heard allegations that the State Minister for Investment and Privatisation, a one Hon. Evelyn Anite had blurted out statements in line with the fact that all Ugandans shall be required to have a simcard of the rabied Uganda Telecom.

Before I start on Uganda Telecom, I would like to register my disappointment in the level of intellectual ability depicted by some of the ministers in our government. I now realise why a minimum education requirement was put in place for anyone who wants to be a member of the Parliament. However, today, I propose that the education requirements for Ministers be elevated even much higher than a Senior 6 certificate.

This is not the first time I have been uneasy about the kind of chit chat this Hon. Anite turns into public speeches. Matters are even made worse when one learns that she holds a sensitive docket whose aim is to promote investment in this country.

Why should Ugandans be forced or required to have UTL Sim Cards? In her wisdom, she calls upon our nationalism as a way of reviving the ailing entity. Now here are some questions for her in this regard:

  • Where was Nationalism when the top four managers were earning a combined salary of US$ 95,500 (UGX 343 Million) monthly?

  • Where was Nationalism when a one Emmanuel Kasule was paid UGX 50 Million before he even begun working for UTL?

  • Where was Nationalism when the Uganda Police and lots of other Government agencies raked up unpaid bills in billions?

  • Where was Nationalism when a decision was hurriedly made to sell shares to UCOM without following due process?

  • Where was nationalism when the share holding structure was further altered to favour UCOM by reducing on that of the government?

  • Where was nationalism when UCOM continued having lee way over management issues in the business despite the expiry of an earlier agreement?

  • Where was Nationalism when Lap Green acquired the UCOM shareholding under unclear circumstances?

Hon Anite, your simplistic trend of thought is inexcusable for someone who has had a parliamentary stint. You have since enjoyed the perks of not only being a parliamentarian but also a ruling party member only for this to be later followed up with a ministerial position. Most of what you seem to share in this docket is either extracts from peers you relate with or smatterings of information that you collide with.

Hon Anite, if you want to appeal to our sense of nationalism, you need to present a package not these one off requests. We need to see you in government as being practising nationalists before we can kowtow.

As a UTL sim card holder, I have a lot of frustrations that I can share which will just show you that the entity, while being in the 21st century is actually being run with a 20th century mindset. During Sim Card registration, as Africell, Airtel and MTN were using electronic methods to register us, I walked to the UTL outlet at Game and the first thing they asked me was to go photocopy my National ID, write my number on the same paper and then wait till the photocopy is taken to the head quarters. I refused and as a result abandoned my line. I cant allow to be associated with such incompetence under the guise of nationalism.

It is now over two months since the Hon Nandala Mafabi probe into UTL, a lot of wrongs were unearthed but to-date, no action has been taken against the culprits. So much for nationalism.

While I may want UTL to continue existing for sentimental and nationalistic reasons, your very government’s inaction towards wanting to see it succeed has made me and many others give up on that side of things. Truth be told, we now don’t care afterall we are having some decent services from the other players. I do enjoy my data with Africell, Voice with MTN and occasionally Airtel’s Pakalast.

By the way, even if you legislated that we own UTL simcards, will you force us to use them? Does UTL have the capacity to support over 20 million users in its current derelict state?

Like a glutton who after puking calls upon others to clean his vomit, we are being rallied to support a cause for a mess others deliberately created.

#Temutukooya (Don’t make us tired)

As it is, the hussle in our economy is so real that the last thing on our mind should be dealing with such dreams that are devoid of a serious thought process.

For God and My Country

Wire James

Twitter: @wirejames