Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Minister Kabakumba: That's what you get for stealing a radio mast

Kabakumba Masiko, who has been serving as minister for Presidency and Kampala, has resigned following corruption and abuse of office accusations while she was minister of  information. Kabakumba is said to have illegally been using a radio transmitter and mast belonging to Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), a public radio, for her King FM radio station in the oil-rich Masindi district.

When calls for her resignation emerged Kabakumba rebuffed them. She linked the  accusations to political witch-hunting. But not even the corrupt Museveni regime bought her argument so they would not shield her.  A cabinet meeting and  a ruling  NRM party parliamentary caucus condemned the minister's actions of helping herself to the national broadcaster's microphones. Two presidential meetings could not even save Kabakumba in spite of going to State House with a group of supporters to make noise in her favour.

Kabakumba Masiko
This time President Yoweri Museveni was not interested in protecting young NRM cadre "thieves" like the honourable princess from oil rich Bunyoro Kingdom. But this could be a veiled tact to sway the public mood that is increasingly getting agitated on high levels of corruption in Museveni's government.

With an iota of rage in her voice, Kabakumba said her resignation was a form of political responsibility. She refused to take any questions from journalists at the impromptu press conference. She just said it's human error on her part.

Kabakumba's resignation comes on heels of angry voices within the ruling party that if she didn't leave her ministerial job it would continue to taint the party's image. However, the irony in Uganda's politics is remains. Big time thieves in government are shielded by the regime while those that small time thieves are sacrificed. This does not imply that I condone theft. I mean there should be an iota of fair and equal treatment to all sundry thieves.

Currently oil corruption scandals have dominated debate in parliament where ministers Hillary Onek, and Sam Kutesa as well as Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi are accused of receiving bribes from Tullow Oil company for favourable contracts. The ministers have been under constant pressure to resign but President Museveni has defended them as being innocent and dismissed the documents that implicate them in oil deals bribery as forgery. It remains to be seen if the resignation of Kabakumba will ignite the calls for resignation of the three ministers.

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