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Why Ssemuju’s incessant quest and wish for OWC’s failure will never succeed

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Added 19th October 2018 10:16 AM

It is indeed not surprising since it is the norm of these politicians to oppose anything, even if it greatly uplifts the life of their constituents, simply because it is a brainchild of the NRM Government.

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Lt Gen Charles Angina

It is indeed not surprising since it is the norm of these politicians to oppose anything, even if it greatly uplifts the life of their constituents, simply because it is a brainchild of the NRM Government.

By Lt Gen Charles Angina

Ever since its establishment and mainly due to its wide ranging impact on the large percentage of Uganda that live below the poverty line and are engaged in agricultural activity, Operation Wealth Creation(OWC) has persistently and undeservedly drawn the wrath of Opposition politicians in the country.

It is indeed not surprising since it is the norm of these politicians to oppose anything, even if it greatly uplifts the life of their constituents, simply because it is a brainchild of the NRM Government.

If tomorrow the Government announces a new intervention, you will wonder how fast they have become experts at diagnosing everything that is wrong with the intervention even before it begins and hopping from media house to media house trying to exhibit their ‘intelligence’. The media should, however, at times be faulted for not putting them on the spot to avail their facts and justification the way they are always keen to put Government officials on the cross even on clearly obvious issues.

Using his column in the Observer, (which by the way he does not tell us how very prosperous it’s journey has been, despite his exhibited expertise on the failure of President Museveni and his family members business enterprises), Kira Municipality MP and Opposition Chief Whip, Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, goes on to spell out how UWESO (Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans) an initiative by the First Lady Janet Museveni has not been successful. But somehow, like one haunted by the successes of the NRM Government, he tries hard to find a way of weaving in OWC and its Chief Coordinator, Gen Salim Saleh simply because of its physical proximity to UWESO. What a pity.

His piece titled, “Kamwokya is the reason Museveni family loves Power”, of October 10, was, therefore, an attempt to regurgitate what he has previously ill-talked about OWC as he clearly states in his writing, by painfully trying to find a correlation between OWC, the First Family and Uganda’s independence celebration.  Last year, he wrote in the same publication an article titled, “Why Saleh’s Wealth Creation is Collapsing.” But seeing his obsession with OWC failure is not bearing fruit one year later, he must be a frustrated man who must find a way of making his dream a reality in his own imagination. I understand writers block can attack a person viciously and mercilessly at times as exhibited in Ssemujju’s article when a writer is expected to write something but there is nothing new.

However, it is important to first of all examine oneself before passing judgment on another as the Bible cautions us.  About two weeks ago the same Ssemujju while appearing on the Capital Gang talk show on Capital FM sadly lamented over his experience in trying to help women SACCOs operating in his constituency. During the talk show, he said he had dedicated sh3m to these women’s groupings to help them scale up their capacity, but had been very disappointed because the women had rather chosen to use the money for other things. Hence the winding up of the project. I wonder if it had been a Government project what he would have said.

One needs to ask what went wrong with this initiative by Ssemujju, the self-proclaimed ‘professor of perfect, efficient administration and management’ that caused his little pilot project to fail in its infancy? Notwithstanding the fact that the women knew very well that the money he was dishing out to them was not ‘taxpayers’ money’ like he says of OWC, but rather hard earned money from his own known successful private businesses. If he can fail with his small groups, without any bureaucracy or Opposition saboteurs standing in his way, then what moral authority does he have to criticise an initiative that has seen our agricultural output almost double in some areas?  

It is well known that one of the highest costs of implementing national programmes or initiatives is the issue of transportation. Given the area of operation of OWC, which is in a way similar to other nationwide activities that require reaching people at the grassroots, vehicles are very much a necessity. That is why even MPs who live not more than 30km away from Parliament also needed to access the motor vehicle funds similar to those whose constituencies are at the border of South Sudan or DRC.

Mobility, especially where handling of issues relating to the rural and poor farmer, who is the target of the OWC intervention is a priority. Otherwise how does one monitor the impact of the intervention? Secondly, regarding vehicles, let Ssemujju name the Generals who received the vehicles just because they are Generals rather than being given the vehicles by virtue of their deployment as OWC Coordinators? It is never in good faith when such a leader of Ssemujju’s stature embarks upon a mission of selling lies.

Concerning the ‘posh office’ that is the OWC headquarters, I think Ssemujju either as an MP has had the chance of travelling wide and far and entering various buildings.  But if to him OWC headquarters in Kamwokya qualifies to be called posh, then perhaps the word has lost meaning or he is just itching to dig and find any minor criticism of the initiative and where he fails to find it, creates one.

It should be known that prior to finding a home in Kamwokya, OWC was headquartered in Bwebajja on Entebbe road. The relocation was for strategic reasons. First of all, OWC is a civil-military operation which could not be housed in a barracks for obvious security considerations, but also ease of accessibility for the civilians that interact with us for various reasons. If we had rented space in say Kololo, rather than a place like Kamwokya, where even his newspaper finds it affordable to rent, having, as he stated, run away from the high rent at Ruth Towers in Nakasero, what would he have said?

Secondly, OWC in implementing its mandate works with a number of stakeholders such as UCDA, UTDA, UIA, REA…to name but a few, which are all located within Kampala. In order to have a better and more co-ordinated effort, it is important to be in close proximity to our stakeholders.

So unless the only crime of OWC was renting office space near Ssemujju’s former workplace, then we plead guilty. Otherwise, it was in the best interest of our stakeholders to be as accessible to them as possible. Though like in the story of Chicken Little, we recognise there will always be people in this world who will run around telling everybody that the sky is falling just because that is what they have determined in their hearts.

The great Chinese philosopher Confucius once wrote that the hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat. Rather than trying to find a cat where there is none, we request Ssemujju and others like him in positions of responsibility to embrace the real and positive transformation that OWC is creating in in the life of the low income Ugandan farmer and support its mission.  We continue to encourage all progressive Ugandans to take advantage of the inputs by OWC to improve their incomes.

For God and My Country   

The writer is the Deputy Chief Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation  

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