Democratic Party presidential candidate Norbert Mao yesterday kept the spotlight on graft as a key campaign issue, charging that it is impossible for the President to claim any commitment to fighting the rampant vice when he is himself a “chief suspect”.
“You cannot be the chief suspect in corruption and expect to get rid of the problem,” Mr Mao said in Budaka where, although he did not provide evidence directly implicating the President in corruption, he still rejected President Museveni’s renewed campaign promise to fight corruption.
“The most corrupt top government officials are being shielded from being prosecuted by the President of this country while the poor continue to suffer paying exorbitant taxes which time to time are swindled,” Mr Mao said.
Addressing several rallies in Budaka District, Mr Mao said the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) is not a party but a platform for thieves who are against change knowing that once there is change, they can expect to face the law and also pay back what they have stolen from the government coffers.“The President’s allies are openly swindling government funds under his watch. It’s very difficult to fight corruption when he (Museveni) himself is not clean at all,” Mr Mao said attracting thunderous applause.
The DP leader cast himself as a candidate unblemished by accusations of corruption pointing at his leadership as Gulu District chairman which he said is free of graft. This is unlike the central government that is today struggling under the weight of the reported uncontrolled swindling of public resources.
“Leaders,” Mr Mao said, “must have the moral authority to discipline corrupt officials. Merely saying we shall deal with them and nothing happens is a ‘mafia’ style of confusing the entire electorate to think tough measures are [coming] when it is a hoax.”
Mr Mao cited the Shs11 billion Temangalo land scandal in which Security Minister Amama Mbabazi was named, Global fund heist in which three ministers were implicated and procurement of junk military choppers as examples of cases of corruption which costs Uganda hundreds of billions of shillings annually.
“These people are walking free and continue using government facilities. As a leader, he (Museveni) would have fired these ministers instead of rotating them within his administration,” said Mr Mao, adding: “All these will have to face the law once Mao is entrusted with power come 2011 election.”
He also spoke about his plans to shake up the country’s economy from the devastation of this administration’s privatisation policy that witnessed the divestiture of key state parastatals like the Uganda Commercial Bank, Uganda Railways and other valuable national assets.
Taking a swipe at the opposition Forum for Democratic Change whose membership is to a considerable extent drawn from former NRM enthusiasts, Mr Mao said it would be a great mistake to vote for it since there is no difference between them.
“All must be thrown out. Vote DP which is pro-people with integrity,” he said. “This generation both have origins in the Luweero Triangle. They all claim that they fought to liberate this country instead they are counter-accusing each other of massive corruption and acquiring wealth in dubious deals.
“You hear of top government people keeping billions of shillings under their beds while majority of Ugandans are wondering how to get only Shs500,” he observed.
Friday, November 12, 2010
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