The Democratic Party President General, Norbert Mao has said the Minister of State for Privatization and Investment, Evelyn Anite is battling a clique of people which wants to grab the lucrative assets of government-owned Uganda Telecom (UTL).
Mao, in an opinion published on a local daily on Sunday, said well connected “wheeler dealers” want UTL to collapse for them to achieve their unscrupulous objectives.
“She stood up to wheeler dealers bent on grabbing UTL, stripping it of its key assets including prime land countrywide, the undersea cable in the Indian Ocean, buildings, masts and multimillion dollar high tech equipment,” said Mao.
According to Chairman Mao, Anite who has written to the Attorney General and President Yoweri Museveni for the removal of UTL Administrator, Bemanya Twebaze over blocking of accountability and incompetence, wants to rescue the important national establishment against the devious wish of the mafias.
“Anite wants the company rescued through a strategic partnership with a core investor ready to inject cash into the company. The so called mafia wants the company declared dead and buried alive!” added Mao.
Mao’s comments coincided with the recent revelation by Anite that there is a cartel in government targeting the telecom.
“It also points to a common view that cartel in sections of government is keen to have UTL liquidated and sell themselves the strategic assets of company and people of Uganda,” Anite said in response to Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana’s opinion that government has no say on the affairs of UTL.
Bemanya has since defended himself, saying as Administrator “I have not blocked any Audit.”
He added: “However, I share the same view as the Auditor General that this is not the right time for an audit.”
Bemanya said Final Accounts will be availed for auditing at the end of administration due on 22nd November 2019.
“Nonetheless the law requires us to make periodic reports every 6 months. These have always been done and shared with court and all creditors,” he added.
Mao speaks out
Mao also praised Anite for taking a strong position against selling UTL to a Nigerian company that failed to meet the initial obligation of raising only 10% of its offer.
“Anite opposed one of the quack investors fronted by some people with connections. She insisted that the company be offered UTL shares provided they put 10% of their offer on the table within a month and the balance within three months. They failed and got wrong footed by Anite,” noted Mao.
The DP strong man stressed that the matter now awaits decision of Museveni to either side with the people, embodied by Anite, or with the mafia.
“She has now moved to have the powerful interim Administrator of the troubled company fired. This matter is in the hands of the Attorney General. Given the array of actors and interests in what is now a familiar script, the question is whether Museveni will side with Anite and the people of Uganda or the vested interests,” said Mao.
Mao noted that whatever the outcome, Anite is reinventing herself as a champion of fight against corruption and winning the trust of the people.
“Either way, Anite is busy reinventing herself. Her narrative has become the dominant narrative in the UTL saga and the other side has egg all over their faces,” he concluded.