ELIODA TUMWESIGYE: Writing to Museveni for Bailout Isn’t a Crime

The Minister of Science and Technology, Elioda Tumwesigye has said writing a letter to President Yoweri Museveni for a politically consequential financial assistance is not a crime.

Social media was Saturday morning flooded with a letter purportedly written by Dr. Elioda to Museveni, who is also National Chairman NRM, requesting for Shs 850m to clear debts arising from Sheema Municipality by-election where the former stood on the ruling party ticket.

“You reaffirmed the pledge to help me settle the debts that accrued from last year’s successful elections of MP Sheema Municipality. Your Excellency, I borrowed money from money lenders and a SACCO and I am now under immense pressure to pay the accumulated outstanding principal, interest and penalties now totaling Shs 850m,” said part of the letter.

Dr. Elioda, who is currently having Christmas holidays at his farm in Sheema, said though he is yet to see the copy of the letter on social media, he finds it not strange to write to Museveni.

“I haven’t seen letter on social media but I know for the fact that it is not a crime to write to the President. He is also the Chairman of my party,” said Elioda.

The Minister justified the inevitability of reaching out to the known generous Museveni, saying he participated in two costly elections in the space of only two years hence accumulating debts.

“I participated in 2016 elections. Sheema municipality position came into existence when I was still clearing the debts of the previous general elections but also I couldn’t just fold my arms and sit since I am from the municipality. I entered the race won,” he added.

It remains unclear why Elioda used an official headed paper to write a personal letter to the President.

The development underscores the challenges politicians endure in Uganda’s costly election exercises.

Elioda’s election was among those nullified by five Justices of the Constitutional Court on Friday.

The six lawmakers were faulted for contesting in constituencies whose administrative units and villages had not yet been demarcated  by the Electoral Commission as required by law.

The affected MPs are Hon Asuman Basalirwa of Bugiri Municipality, Peter Ochan of Apac Municipality, Ibanda Municipality MP Tarsis Rwaburindore, Peter Abraham who represents Kotido Municipality and Minister Elioda Tumwesigye of Sheema Municipality.

The Justices ruled that there were  representatives already elected  during the 2016 general elections before the new municipalities were curved out and that in any case, the Electoral Commission ought to have waited for the 2021 General elections to get MPs  for the new municipalities created in August  2018.

Speaking exclusively to ChimpReports on Saturday, Dr. Elioda stressed that he remained positive and looking forward to 2021 elections irrespective of what people are saying on social media.

“I am now in my farm and positively focused on winning Sheema municipality in 2021 and taking Uganda to the space in 2022,” he observed.

”Whatever negative tangent some people are creating, it is up to them; I am fine and positively enjoying time at the farm and my pressure level is at its best,” he added.

Observers say the development affirms why NRM MPs were more afraid of the President than the voters who were 74-76% opposed to lifting the age limit.

The cost of winning an NRM parliamentary primary and a general election has risen to the point where Museveni, who funds the candidates of choice heavily or bails them out, determines the outcome more than the voters in the constituency.

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