Opinion: Have the Ministry of Foreign Affairs lost 160 vehicles in the last few years?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs led by Gen Jeje Odongo is appearing before the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament to answer different questions raised by the committee. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has raised concern over the poor state of fleet vehicle for transporting dignitaries. According to PS Vincent Bagiire, the Ministry is using old fleet from the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which are “Nolonger fit for purpose” (Parliament of Uganda, 13.01.2022).

When reading this from the Parliament of Uganda handle on Twitter. I was boggled, because it was only last year when the Chinese Ambassador in Uganda handed over 70 vehicles to then Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kuteesa. That happened in the end of March ahead of summits, which was supposed to be held later in the year. The Chinese government spent 5 millions United States Dollars on these SUVs last year.

Therefore, when Gen. Odongo says the Foreign Ministry has “ancient” cars from the CHOGM summit. The state also bought another additional 80 vehicles ahead of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) in 2020. Therefore, the Ministry and the state should have vehicles in their car-lot. They have not only bought these 80, but gotten donated another additional 70 cars in the year after.

It seems to be the time to re-issue the statement from the Auditor General Report of 2021:

Furthermore, I observed that 38 entities (76.0%) out of the 50 entities did not have a specific policy or guidelines on Motor vehicle management to guide the usage and eliminate theft, losses, wastage and misuse of motor vehicles. This was in addition to the absence of a comprehensive standardized fleet management policy of Government. Different aspects of government vehicles management are found in different policies and guidelines cited in various government documents, such as; the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders 2010, the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2014, and Treasury Instructions, 2017. This affects the entities’ ability to address the unique motor vehicle management challenges which may not be envisaged in the standing Orders and Treasury Instructions” (OAG February 2021).

So, it seems like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has no control or policy in concern to their car park. They are one of these entities with no management of the car park. That is very clear by Odongo’s statement. As it is easy to see the Ministry have purchased and gotten donated in total 160 vehicles or cars in the last three years alone. The state and the Ministry be able to keep it up and general up-keep.

Unless, the state has suddenly issued these for others and given them to other state affiliates like appointed district officials or whatnot. That’s how it looks like to me. Because, how do you base you vehicle-park on CHOGM in 2022. When your own Ministry have bought vehicles ahead of the CPC and donated from China the year later?

Are there no accountability for the ministry and could Sam, the man just drive away with all of these to the sun-set and sell them on a car-lot in Mbarara? Because, what happened to all of them or they given to the former Ministers employees at Entebbe International Airport?

Since, cars cannot vanish, unless it is part of a Hollywood script or a car lost at a plot forgotten by the state. In such a manner of which, Mobutu had hidden vehicles and his administration held vehicles in foreign missions, which years later was found in forgotten garage abroad. Therefore, is that the issue of the Ministry in Uganda too?

Because, how do you loose 160 vehicles in the time span of about 3 years? Peace.

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