Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda
The panic and drama that unfolded as Uganda hosted the
2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) exposed
the incompetence and lack of capacity in every sector.
Parliament, Police and Auditor General are currently investigating
the use [or misuse] of approximately Shs 250 billion sunk
into the preparations.
However, Uganda’s embarrassingly low capacity to carry
out simple tasks may never be audited.
For instance, President Museveni’s State House at
Entebbe failed to live up to the simple task of cooking
and catering for his guests.
As a result, chefs had to be hired from Sheraton Kampala
Hotel to help Museveni’s residence with house-keeping
The Sheraton chefs were particularly hired for the State
Banquet President Museveni hosted in honour of Queen Elizabeth
II at State House Entebbe.
The poor preparedness was also rife in the critical area
While the Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura
headed the Security and Accreditation committee all along,
he was replaced by the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda
Nyakairima, a few close to the event.
With both UPDF and Police unable to handle the simple task
of accreditation, South Africans were brought in. However,
their late arrival caused confusion at Statistics House
where accreditation was being handled.
As a result, some ministers and other high profile dignitaries
were locked out of certain events, causing the organisers
Uganda’s security also needed boats to patrol Lake
Victoria, and helicopters to watch over the airspace.
President Museveni, who often brags about his army’s
unlimited capacity, flew to South Africa four days to CHOGM,
to beg for help. South Africa came to his aid with boats
and four helicopters. Other boats were reportedly ‘borrowed’
The government spent some Shs 12.63bn on lighting Kampala
streets and parts of Entebbe alone. Our information is that
the government still owes the contractors Shs 6bn.
The lighting of Kampala City was handled by the beautification
committee under the Ministry of Local Government. Available
information indicates that in total, 88 roads, six open
spaces and five junctions were lit in Kampala. In Entebbe,
five roads and two open spaces were lit. While for Entebbe
Shs 388 million was given to the Municipal Council directly
to implement the project, in the case of Kampala, the government
contracted Dott Services to fix street lighting. The contractors
say some 3,000 electric poles were erected in Kampala for
Kampala Mayor, Al-Hajji Nasser Sebaggala, and his administration
at City Hall, were not pleased that money for street lighting
had not been handed to them as was the case with Entebbe.
A reliable source has told The Weekly Observer that with
time, most of the underground cables got stolen and the
contractor sought government’s help in his bid to
get more supplies from the local producer based in Lugazi.
But the latter had capacity to supply less than 10% of the
required materials. This was in August, three months to
the event. But the contractor had to fly in materials from
elsewhere. In the ensuing panic, some of the lights imported
were smaller than the required type, while others were bigger.
The Weekly Observer has now learnt that because of the
power struggle between KCC and the central government, as
to who is in charge of the street lighting, electricity
bills have not been paid and UMEME Ltd. has disconnected
some of the streets. A bill of at least Shs 300 million