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 By Mulengera Reporters

Renowned for remaining an excellent investigative journalist even in his retirement from active media practice, Kyaddondo East MP Ibrahim Semujju Nganda has defended Sam Rwakojo and other fired EC bosses. Speaking on Capital Gang this Saturday morning, Nganda (who also serves as opposition chief whip in Parliament besides being spokesperson for FDC) wildly claimed that he had credible information that is 100% accurate to the effect that Rwakojo and others had, for months, stood firm in objecting to the President’s efforts to impose the German security printing company called Veridos on Ugandans to be the one to take charge of printing all election-related materials including ballot papers.

“The EC officials have been trying to outsmart Museveni by saying no to his meddling into the procurement process and they have been trying to use the law. He wants Veridos, which is owned by his German brother-in-law, to be the one to print ballot papers, supply machines for voter identification and be in charge of transferring results to the national tally center. There has been immense pressure for the EC to hand over the voters register which the Rwakojos have been resisting. It’s the reason Mr. Museveni has been very furious with them. They aren’t angels. They must have made some other mistakes which Museveni is now riding on to paint them corrupt and unfit,” Semujju said as moderator Oscar Semweya Musoke unsuccessfully protested.

Nganda, who has already been petitioning the Speaker about this alleged interference by the President, agreed with fellow Gang panelist Abdul Katuntu that Parliament must next week have a full session to discuss the chaos at EC. The Justice Minister, according to Katuntu, will have to explain what has happened to the EC bosses so far and why because the people of Uganda have a right to know the full story. “Seven senior managers, including the accounting officer, leaving an organization isn’t a small thing. Have they been fired or just taking early retirement? But even then Ugandans deserve to know the reason why,” Katuntu said as Ofwono Opondo struggled to defend government. Katuntu maintained they will be expecting answers from Prof Ephraim Kamuntu the Minister of Justice & Constitutional Affairs who supervises the EC work. Nganda says PPST Keith Muhakanizi was at some point used by State House to break Rwakojo’s back (regarding the Veridos deal) by delaying to release money to the EC so that the required procurement processes could commence on time. “That is how the EC bosses ended up going to Museveni to plead for their budget yet Parliament had already appropriated,” Nganda said.

Claiming that Gen Museveni has always had a habit of using and dumping people at the EC, Nganda referenced on the circumstances under which Aziz Kasuja (of the early 2000s) got fired for the regime to do its PR after he presided over a very discredited election and delivered Museveni back to State House.  “They fired him accusing him of financial impropriety and yet a delegation was sent to his home the following day to apologize to him that ‘we had to do this for some other reason.’ Kasuja was subsequently made Uganda’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Why appoint someone who has been accused of financial impropriety to such a sensitive position?” Nganda wondered. “Even now Museveni isn’t punishing anybody for financial impropriety at the EC. He is just playing his politics and serving certain interests of the Germans and the Americans. He writes saying I don’t want that NIRA ED’s contract renewed. He fires Akol at URA and immediately after, an American company gets contracted to begin collecting taxes.”

Nganda maintained he was ready to face whatever risk that results from accusing Gen Museveni over the Veridos saga “because these are the facts and there is no other; I have been a journalist for many years and I have never published fake news or lies about anyone.” Nganda revealed that in order to outsmart Museveni, because they weren’t comfortable with Veridos being stampeded on Ugandans for 2021, the impugned EC bosses rushed to select companies to be awarded the ballot printing and other deals for 2021 and even rushed to secure Solicitor General’s clearance. “It’s good we still have people who can stand up to Gen Museveni and then resign. It happened in NFA when he wanted to give a forest to a sugarcane planter and the board objected and offered to resign their offices. Yes Oscar, it’s true we still have such people in Uganda and I think that is what has happened with the EC.”

Nganda insisted that Parliament must comprehensively scrutinize the Veridos saga and understand President Museveni’s interest in having them get the EC deal. “He is a candidate and wants to supervise the entire process through Veridos because his brother-in-law is behind it,” Nganda emphatically submitted. Hopefully the youthful MP gets the opportunity to formally make his case because the Speaker has decreed the matter must be exhaustively discussed and debated by Parliament next week.

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