Wednesday, 24 September 2008

NSSF Temangalo land creates cracks in NRM

Mubatsi Asinja Habati
The National Social Security's (NSSF) purchase of Temangalo land has caused more cracks in Uganda's ruling National Resistance Movement(NRM) party. Ever since the highly questionable deal scandal broke out, members of the NRM have been plunged in a number of meetings on how to handle the issue as it is before the Parliamentary committee.

Ministers and former ministers have ganged against each other given that the party's General Secretary, Mr Amama Mbabazi is the one behind the sell of the 414 acres of land, of which 100 acres have been declared a wetland by the government's environment watch-dog, Nema, to NSSF.

Eye brows have been raised over how the Fund could invest shillings 11 billion of the workers' money in the land jointly owned by Mr. Mbabazi, who is also the minister of Security, and city businessman, Amos Nzeyi, without getting blessings of the owners of the money themselves.
It is also claimed that NSSF and Mr Mbabazi ignored the established procurement procedures in executing the deal.Being a government official, a public servant for that matter, Mr Mbabazi is further accused of influence peddling as well as conflict of interest in selling his land to NSSF.

The politicians have jumped on this saga as an avenue to hit back at the so-called super minister who is perceived in the political circles, by many, as president Museveni's right-hand boy. Former minister of health, Mr Jim Muhwezi is allegedly at the fore front of the clique that subscribe to the notion that Mr Mbabazi should resign his post as party secretary and minister and apologise for the embarrassment he has caused to the party.

At the moment, there are cliques within the NRM supporting and condemning the NSSF-Mbabazi deal as being fair and unfair to the workers respectively. Where this saga will live the NRM party, which has ruled the country for over twenty years, is the cracks of the matter.

Analysts say the deal is a litmus test on President Museveni's professed commitment to zero tolerance to corruption which has come to be synonymous with his government.

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