Museveni Toughens on Karamonja Iron Sheets, Directs Ministers on Next Steps

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President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed all Ministers who diverted the iron sheets meant for Karamoja sub-region to return them or pay back the equivalent value in money.

In a statement dated, 3rd April, 2023 to the Prime Minister Nabbanja Robinah, Museveni said that the act by the officials to divert ‘Mabaati’ is political corruption and theft.

The President guided that the Ministers that were consciously involved in this must take personal responsibility, pay back the value of the mabaati they diverted, and promised to decide on the political action to punish this mistake.

“There are two issues of wrongdoing involved. If somebody took mabaati meant for the Karachuna and gave them to people or institutions in his or her constituency, this is political corruption,” the president wrote in a statement.

He said it is like bribing voters so as to get political favors.

“In the case of the mabaati, it is at the expense of the Karamojong, but also at the expense of the security of the country. Remember, this giving of mabaati to the Karamojong is part of removing them from causing insecurity,” he added.

“Those ministers are, therefore, undermining that in exchange for cheap popularity,” he further added.

He also advised those who were unconsciously involved to return the mabaati if they are still available or personally reimburse the value of the mabaati they diverted.

Museveni, while responding to social media users, revealed that he had told leaders on several occasions not to try and carry their constituents on their heads financially (Kubetikka), but to show the families how to use the NRM programs (NAADS, OWC, PDM, etc) and make their money.

He blamed the political class for not internalizing the National Resistance Movement (NRM) line on social-economic transformation, and they opportunistically, try to do the cheap popularity of fund-raising, giving mabaati, giving large numbers of bursaries, etc.

“They end up with debts and desperate efforts to look for donations, efforts that can lead to mistakes of being tempted to divert what is meant for A to B,” he stated.

The Minister for Karamoja, Mary Goretti Kitutu, was remanded to Luzira prison last week, together with her brother-in-law, Michael Naboya Kitutu, over the scandal in which over 14,500 iron sheets meant for the poor in Karamoja were diverted.

The President promised to take political action once the police conclude their investigation.

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