News update – UWA saga continues with another chapter


Uganda’s controversial tourism minister – there has been a rising chorus of voices calling for his ‘relocation’ when the new cabinet is formed – has instituted yet another probe committee into the affairs of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, after last week appointing a team charged with investigating the World Bank funded ‘Protected Areas Management and Sustainable Use’ project, in short known as PAMSU. At least his choice of chairman of the probe committee, outspoken former Supreme Court Justice Prof. Kanyeihamba this time gives his appointment the mantle of respectability, unlike in previous cases where public opinion upon seeing the names of the appointees immediately jumped to ‘kangaroo court’ conclusions.

It is understood though that the principal motive of the move was to unearth ‘dirt’ on the previous management, which after standing up to the outrageous financial demands of the subsequently dismissed chairperson and board of UWA – he was dismissed by the High Court for not meeting the qualifications required under the Wildlife Act – were running into a hailstorm of ‘countermeasures’ resulting in first suspension from their posts and then their sacking.

Donors and development partners have been slow since the storm over UWA broke to make further major pledges for grants and loans, eying the developments with concern – some in fact say ‘grave concern’ – and this latest round of ‘investigations’ may also be aimed at appeasing those who brought the megabucks over the past 15+ years and then had to read about allegation upon allegation, made by the protagonists in both public and private fora.

Meanwhile has the minister also reacted to a media storm over plans to raze the current Uganda Museum and build a 60 storey ‘trade centre’ instead, by claiming the existing structure would only be expanded and in fact ‘preserved in the new structure’ before lashing out a critics by calling them ‘wallowing in ignorance’. In his typical abrasive fashion he was quoted in local media as having said: ‘Why should they suffer from high blood pressure over things they do not understand? Why do they like talking nonsense?’

True to fashion, an aggressive offensive continues to be the best defence, isn’t it?

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