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YOU SON OF A DICTATOR! Ugandan MPs in Bitter Exchange Over Microphone Switch-Off in Heated Vitol Deal Debate

Committee Discusses Controversial Vitol Deal

Parliament of Uganda. Courtesy Photo
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A former president’s son nearly threw punches at a fellow MP in Uganda’s Parliament after the duo disagreed on the deal recently handed to controversial Dutch company Vitol, making it the sole supplier of petroleum products in Uganda.

While they have secured a good deal as a monopoly over the supply of petroleum products in Uganda, bosses at Vitol Bahrain E.C. and their lobbyists in Kampala must be choking on their bread after learning how the multi-billion dollar deal has left some Ugandans cursing.

First, the deal is controversial not only because it has been awarded to a company previously fined for corruption but also because it does not make a lot of business sense and will not resolve Uganda’s fuel crisis, later alone bring prices down.

Never mind that at the weekend, President Museveni trumpeted it as a magic bullet to the same problems, and his bevy of sympathizers and publicists have been parroting his statement.

And just about two days, debate in a parliamentary committee scrutinizing the deal were engaged in heated debate that nearly went physical after a fierce exchange of words.

It also began when Environment and Natural Resources Committee chairperson MP Emmanuel Otaala (West Budama South) mocked Jimmy Akena (Lira East Division) for behaving like his father (Milton Obote) whom he said was a dictator, after the former First Son refused to switch off his microphone in a heated Committee meeting.

Otaala and Akena sharply disagreed after the former decided to block reporters from attending the proceedings of the committee scrutinizing the details of the contract Government of Uganda signed with Vitol, making it the sole importer of fuel and gas products into Uganda.

Otaala insisted that the contract had several confidentiality clauses that had to be respected, and that allowing the media in would make secrets easily go out to the public.

The fearless Akena raised questions on Vitol’s business ethics. He gave an example of a US$135m fine the US government slapped against the company over bribery allegations.

Otaala sought to cause Akena to shut up. But Akena refused to switch off his microphone as directed.

Akena, who is also the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) president told Otaala, “Don’t overrule everything and not listen to others, the point here is very critical, I am going to continue. I am not switching it [my microphone] off.”

To which Otaala replied, “Your dad was a dictator and that is on record.”

Otaala and Akena sharply disagreed after the former decided to block reporters from attending the proceedings of the committee scrutinizing the details of the contract Government of Uganda signed with Vitol, making it the sole importer of fuel and gas products into Uganda.
Akena and colleagues during the committee meeting

As we have reported Ugandans may have to TIGHTEN their BELTS as higher prices are expected after Museveni Government gave Dutch Company a juicy deal to control Uganda’s Fuel Supply. (See Details Here).

It also seems capitalists and neoliberal sharks are descending on Uganda to economically milk Ugandans.

Days ago, a Russian company was given an exclusive contract to supply digital number plates for all Ugandan cars and motorcycles, a deal that will see the ‘bankrupt’ company earn billions. (Read Story Here).

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