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Byandala: My Influence in UNRA Contracts Was Political

Former Vice President Prof Gilbert Bukenya has revealed no amount of pressure will compel him to abandon his plans of supporting President Museveni in the 2016 elections, stuff generic Chimp Corps report.

“In TDA I looked at all the presidential candidates’ manifestos but none of them moved me, ” said Bukenya at a press conference on Tuesday.

“I asked them (TDA leaders) how they intended to address the poverty in Buganda region but I was not convinced by their responses,” added Bukenya.

The controversial politician who recently returned to NRM has of late come under immense pressure for making a u—turn on backing Museveni in future elections.

Bukenya actively participated in the TDA deliberations to choose a joint flag-bearer in the 2016 elections.

The initiative collapsed over intrigue, suspicions, mistrust and power struggles.

Bukenya said “Museveni is a very youthful man. His ideas are youthful. He is the man with the vision which this country still needs.”

Asked to respond to Norbert Mao claims that he is no longer a ‘mahogany’ but a ‘papyrus’ for returning to NRM, Bukenya said “that’s absolute nonsense”


He said he reserved a right to “choose a candidate of my choice” and “I will not accept to be blackmailed or intimidated.”

Bukenya said he had given instructions to his lawyers to commence a legal action against what he described as Mao’s sustained defamation campaign.

“The lawyers will tell him to zip up his mouth,” said Bukenya in an authoritative tone.

Unlike in the recent past when Bukenya has addressed press briefings in the company of a few aides, this time round the former ‘number two’ was guarded by military police.

Bukenya confirmed meeting President Museveni on several occasions but denied receiving bribes from State House.
Former Minister of Works and Transport Abraham Byandala has refuted allegations that he engaged in influence peddling in his supervision of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).

Hon. Byandala who is current Minister without Portfolio was appearing before the probe committee on Tuesday to clarify on issues relating to the Tororo-Mbale-Soroti road project.

The Minister claimed that he was concerned with the slow progress on the two roads and the public outcry which prompted him to intervene.

“I had no interest in whoever does the work. I had a performance contract with parliament and my interests in this project were political, order ” said the Minister.

“The contract period was 18 months but in a period of 13 months, clinic progress was at 8 percent and 4 percent for Tororo-Mbale and Mbale-Soroti respectively. This was a terrible delay, abortion ” he added.

On January 6, 2012, Minister Byandala chaired a site meeting in Bukedea to resolve existing disagreements between the consultant, UNRA and contractor.

This, however, created the impression to the probe committee that he was micro managing UNRA and getting involved in contract management.

He however defended his actions saying; “Following constant riots and complaints, I had to take responsibility as a stakeholder and go talk to these parties.”

The Minister was also tasked to explain his selective supervision and bending the rules to favour Dott Services, the contractor.

“A Minister can’t order a contractor; it would be criminal in contract management. I had to put pressure on UNRA and Gibb Africa (consultant) who would in turn press the contractor.”

He however admitted that Dott Services didn’t deliver as required.

Hon. Byandala in 2011 issued a directive to the UNRA Executive Director at the time, Eng. Peter Ssebanakitta to shift the project from the Directorate of Projects to Operations citing lack of capacity and experience.

This and other similar actions like personally pressurising UNRA staff created a situation where the Minister was seen to be interfering in the daily running of UNRA.

Oversight of UNRA

Asked whether while Minister of Works he enacted regulations for UNRA as required by the law, Hon. Byandala denied knowledge of this.

He also told the commission that he didn’t recall UNRA providing financial statements to him for accountability as required.

“Isn’t it true that you suspended the UNRA board in 2012 due to disagreeing with them because they decided to fire the ED?” asked Counsel Mary Kuteesa.

“The board did not follow the required procedure and denied Eng. Ssebanakitta (ED) a chance to respond to allegations” responded the Minister.

The Minister expressed his dissatisfaction with the bureaucracy that UNRA is subjected to instead of adopting a business-like model.

“There was a tendency of Dott Services to flout rules and get away with it. Why didn’t you and everybody else prevail over the contractor? What made Dott very strong that you feared them?” asked Justice Bamugemereire.

The Minister however denied the assertion that he feared anybody and that direct involvement with the contractor (Dott Services) would constitute influence.

The works contract for Tororo-Mbale-Soroti which started at Shs. 78bn has since varied to a sum of over Shs 400bn.

This was resultant of delayed design drawings, change in scope of work, variation of prices among others.

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