We know that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is obsessed with cars or vehicles. That is why the most important gift to the government during the lockdowns in 2020 was just that. He just wanted cars and that was the solution to everything.
I just started to go through Inspectorate General of Government Report of February 2021. The first thing that caught my eye was this simple story. It is just showing how much control the State House or Office of the President has. As they can control minor things and hold it in their possession for years. This is maybe just two expensive cars for one visit. However, if they can do that to such things. What can the same authorities do with bigger and even more expensive things?
Here is the paragraph that caught my eye:
“The Office of the President entered into MOU with Ministry of Works and Transport for purchase of two vehicles for use by His Holiness the Pope during his visit to Uganda in November 2015 and provided UGX. 322,200,000 for executing the MOU. MOWT purchase a black new Kia Soul 5 door Hatchback UG2519C and a new Mitsubishi Pick Up UG2520C. The two vehicles were handed over to the President’s Office for use by MOWT after the Pope’s visit. They were found parked at the Office of the President parking yard at the time of this investigation” (IGG – ‘BI- ANNUAL INSPECTORATE OF GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE REPORT TO PARLIAMENT (JANUARY – JUNE 2020)’ P:7, February 2021).
That means the Office of the President have kept these cars since November 2015 and meaning the vehicles was still in the possession in the time of June 2020. As this report is the investigations made between January to June 2020, but published in February 2021. Therefore, the vehicles might be gone by now, but that is only matter of trust that this investigation made a difference. However, there should be a check-up on that. Because, who knows who has been using these two vehicles since the Pope Francis left Uganda?
Just imagine cars destined to be used by the Ministry of Works and Transport (MoWT) have been stationed at the wrong place for close to 5 years. They were actually parked outside the Office of the President during the investigation.
The was even questions about these cars back in 2018: “Members of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee have questioned officials in the Office of the President over the whereabouts of two cars used by Pope Francis when he visited Uganda in 2015” (NTV Uganda, 19.10.2018).
So now in February 2021 we know where they are, unless the Office of the President have actually given them back to MoWT where they were supposed to be. Nevertheless, that shows the state of affairs and how they care about expenditure of the state. When cars can just be lost for years and be on a parking-lot. If not used by the wrong authority for years. We don’t know that, but these cars was new.
That we know, because the Daily Monitor reported this in December 2015: “Joseph Ssemuwemba is the Chief Executive Officer of The Motorcenter East Africa Ltd. I found him in his office located on Plot 16 Old Portbell Road attending to his daily work. He was happy to share his experience of securing the opportunity to supply the Papal vehicle, and also the pressure that comes with such honour. “We know the Pope prefers modest transport and we have a history of the Pope having travelled in a Kia Soul while in South Korea and the interesting part here, is that this was his personal choice in Seoul, It wasn’t about government availing him any transport, it was about “of all these cars on this list what car would you like to use?” and his pick was the boxy stylish Kia Soul,” Ssemuwemba says” (Daily Monitor – ‘Pope Francis’ little black car’ 17.12.2015).
So, this isn’t a big whoop or a tragic tale, but is a story of misused fortunes and wasted funds on two cars. Where the resources are wasted and used for grandeur for a visit, but is never getting where they are intended. We don’t know what the MoWT was intending to use these cars for. However, they was supposed to be sitting in a parking-lot for all these years. Peace.