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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

DGF shutdown: Why Museveni is disappointed with Finance Minister Kasaija, PS Muhakanizi

President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni is angry with finance, planning and economic development minister Matia Kasaija and permanent secretary Keith Muhakanizi over the operations of biggest NGO funder Democratic Governance Facility (DGF).

At the start of this year, Museveni penned a two-page letter expressing his dissatisfaction with Kasaija and Muhakanizi over DGF.

Museveni was irked by Muhakanizi’s decision to allow DGF’s huge fund to be run by a foreign embassy.

“It has come to my attention that the Ministry of Finance under the hand of the Permanent Secretary irregularly and unilaterally authorized a Pound Sterling 100m fund known as the Democratic Governance Facility to be operated exclusively by a foreign mission in Uganda,” the president wrote.

The president further noted that “unlike prior grant arrangements like the Democratic Governance and Accountability Project in which there was transparency and representations, the Government of Uganda has no say or oversight on how DGF is administered in Uganda.”

Museveni accuses Kasaija and Muhakanizi of giving DGF and the foreign mission running it “free reign to choose which activities, entities and amounts to finance without the knowledge or consent of government.”

Consequently, Museveni continues, Kasaija, Muhakanizi and other top finance ministry officials’ actions have resulted in a “big percentage of these funds” being “used to finance activities and organizations designed to subvert government under the guise of improving governance.”

The president equally faulted Kasaija and Muhakanizi for making “a belated and feeble attempt to get a government representative” on the DGF board “which would have been of little consequences anyway.”

But the minister and his PS were “quickly and arrogantly rebuffed by the foreign mission because, apparently, as you were reminded by that foreign mission, the exclusive management of the fund lies with them and the oversight is by the foreign co-funders, exclusively.”

Museveni was further annoyed that Kasaija let DGF and the foreign mission running the fund get away with their arrogance.

“Ugandans, whose affairs are being dealt with, were told that they are only fit to be ‘resource persons who may be consulted on an adhoc basis’ by the foreign missions. This is contemptuous and scandalous,” the president went on.

“How is it possible that the Ugandans whose affairs are being dealt with here can only be spectators in the management of their affairs? This is not the financing of a private business but the funding of state and non-state actors to achieve the political objectives of the the funders in Uganda.”

The 76-year-old leader further tasked his finance minister to explain why he okayed funding that put Uganda’s sovereignty on the line.

“How and why did the Ministry of Finance uniliterally make such a major decision with far reaching consequences, later alone one whose effect is to surrender the sovereignty of the people of Uganda to foreigners?” asked Museveni.

“Was this a result of subversion, corruption or criminal negligence, or all of these? Why wasn’t the cabinet and I consulted? This is unacceptable.”

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