INSIDE THE MULTI-BILLION DGF DEAL THAT SEALED KABUSHENGA’S FATE
By Mulengera Reporters
We indeed saw it coming and reported as much. Robert Kabushenga’s era as Vision Group CEO is finally coming to an end (he has ben here since 2007 having taken over from founding CEO/MD William Pike). This Friday morning at about 10am, Kabushenga sent out a mail to staff notifying them he wouldn’t be with them for long. He reveals he will be having another 90 days to facilitate the smooth transition of power to his successor who officially remains undisclosed up to now (though we know of some two people being vetted).
Being Mulengera News, investigative as ever, we have some exclusive information beyond Kabushenga’s mere revelation that he has requested the Board to allow him go for early retirement. What is intriguing is that people known to be Kabushenga’s great supporters had previously been lobbying Board members to scrap upper age limit requirements regarding the office of Vision Group CEO.
Sometime in 2019, Richard Kayira, one of the excellent Vision Group employees, originated a funding proposal directed at the bosses calling shots at the EU-funded Democratic Governance Facility (DGF)). The short of it was that Vision Group would use its print, electronic and digital platforms to carry a series of stories aimed at civically empowering Ugandan citizens. Focus would be on service delivery and the idea, ideally, was that such empowerment would enable Ugandans to use the information (availed through the special project Kayira was suggesting) to demand for services in a very assertive way. Over all, that would increase efficiency in service delivery.
With the audience being assured, in millions, the DGF bosses bought into the proposal and that is how the project, featured mostly on weekends, began to be rolled out. Special focus would be (and continues to be) put on service delivery-related scandals in high impact service delivery institutions of government like police, the courts of law, immigration, NIRA, public hospitals, public universities, land registries and others. The well-syndicated series runs in Bukedde, New Vision weekend editions, radios, the TVs and digital platforms. That is how cops extorting bribes to offer a would-be free service have always been exposed sometimes with pictures, video and audio recordings. As the Vision Group went ahead implementing the DGF-funded exposes, many government ministers and technocrats have had their reputations ruined while portraying them as non-performers and therefore unfit for reelection.
The deal has been renewed a multiplicity of times but for the piloting phase, the DGF parted with Shs1.3bn, something Mulengera News gratefully reported about mid-2019. For being a brilliant salesman, Kayira got his Shs250m commission as was detailed by Mulengera News in this story https://mulengeranews.com/dgf-saga-escalates-as-mityana-brokers-grab-bukedde-boss-shs250m/. Because the project worked well, DGF has kept renewing it from time to time. But for Ministers overseeing the entities that the DGF-facilitated Vision Group has been exposing as inept, there has been a lot of irreparable damage (which extended to the entire government in which they serve). Their opponents have been using such newspaper cuttings to decampaign them as failures unfit for reelection. These have been complaining and crying out to President Museveni who now partly attributes the defeat of many of his Ministers especially in Buganda on such sustained bad publicity by the state-owned media organization which controls up to 60% of the media market or landscape in Uganda.
An angry Museveni, who already had been inquiring into the conduct of business at the Robert Kabushenga-led Vision Group, recently spoke to the clearly dispirited CEO and brought to his attention all these things. Gratefully, the Museveni inquiry into the Kabushenga conduct of business at Vision Group is something we at Mulengera News extensively reported about having impeccably established from key presidential handlers that he would be next after the Sam Rwakojos at the EC. Indeed the circumstances of their departure are similar in significant ways including being allowed to voluntarily ease out on your own as opposed to being humiliated with a sacking. Sources tell Mulengera News that the Kabushenga soft landing was partly negotiated by First Son Muhoozi Kainerugaba working with several other friends.
In the recent interaction, preceding today Friday’s notice signaling staff about their CEO’s impending departure, President Museveni demanded that Kabushenga explains why a state-owned company with a lot of financial resources at its disposal required having to first be tipped or financially facilitated or induced by Europeans (read DGF of all groups) in order to be able to expose inefficiencies in government MDAs. Being a charming wordsmith, Kabushenga initially tried to explain away this “anti-NRM conspiracy” as the country’s chief executive casually called it but the man from Rwakitura wasn’t satisfied.
What made things even more complicated for the man from Kanungu was that it turned out some of the programs especially on Bukedde radio and TV which intelligence had already reported to the President as responsible for the propagation of the sectarian narrative that enabled Kyagulanyi’s NUP sweep Buganda are among those whose broadcast content was being sponsored under the DGF package. In fact, this is the reason why the following Bukedde electronic journalists should watch their back while looking for the tallest grass. For their days are numbered (if what State House intelligence sources are confiding in us is anything to go by) and they include Moses Walugembe, Paul Mayinja, Benon Nsubuga, Pius Kyanda, Nuhu Lukungu, Siraje Semugenyi.
Gen Museveni has a complete file on each one of them with complete recordings of the stuff they have been broadcasting via the Bukedde electronic platform. “The H.E. has well-prepared recordings and wants some of them to not only be fired from Vision Group but to also be individually prosecuted for the sectarian stuff they have been broadcasting while demonizing NRM,” says a reliable source adding that even some of their private phone conversations have been obtained and transcribed for the appropriate scrutiny by Gen Museveni himself. Whereas Gen Museveni was initially not that very much bothered about anti-Kabushenga claims relating to finance impropriety (that has been corroborated with documentary evidence availed by disgruntled top management insiders), there was a lot the indefatigable CEO couldn’t adequately explain lately prompting the H.E. to finally write him off.
Gen Museveni has also continued to be intrigued by intelligence reports imploring him to look into Kabushenga’s friendship with the Byanyima sisters especially Edith Byanyima who is alleged to have been his link to the ruling elite in one of the neighboring countries whose governors continue to be perceived as hostile to Kampala. Closeness to key movers in the Church and Buganda Kingdom (as we profiled sometime back) equally complicated things for Kabushenga making him a hard candidate to sell to the H.E. for retention in the Vision Group CEO office. Deeply knowledgeable sources say Gen Museveni hasn’t yet ruled out having the flamboyant Robert Kabushenga in the dock someday to answer for certain things. (The following news links relive what we previously reported about the impending Kabushenga exit: https://mulengeranews.com/col-nakalema-meets-barbra-kaija-for-whole-day-as-anxiety-grips-vision-group-managers-staff/; https://mulengeranews.com/m7-insists-on-kabushenga-probe-as-onyango-denies-talking-to-kla-sun/; https://mulengeranews.com/m7-tasks-two-top-ministers-to-probe-kabushenga-while-pondering-ura-like-changes/; https://mulengeranews.com/how-robert-kabushenga-built-powerbase-effectively-making-himself-a-very-powerful-ceo/). (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at email@example.com)