Kampala: Security Minister, Gen. Elly Tumwine has described the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga as ignorant while Permanent Secretaries Pius Bigirimana and Keith Muhakanizi as thieves.

In a telephone interview with Central Broadcasting Services (CBS) radio on Friday last week, Gen. Tumwine said Ms Kadaga wasn’t well informed on the issues of Nommo Gallery and therefore, shouldn’t discuss anything ignorantly.

Gender PS Bigirimana and Secretary to the treasury Muhakanizi, are ‘thieves’ who don’t deserve to be in government services.

“None of the three, the Speaker of Parliament, neither Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Finance Keith Muhakanizi nor Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Gender Pius Bigirimana understands what he/she is saying.

“Both Pius Bigirimana and Keith Muhakanizi are thieves, I told them point blank in their faces, they are the thieves in Prime Minister’s, they are accounting officers according to section 55 of the finance act, if you lose money, you are held responsible,” Gen. Tumwine said.

He was speaking on the Nze Nga Bwendaba program hosted by Alex Nsubuga.

Gen. Tumwine insisted that Nommo Gallery is not a government property but was offered to visual artists by the former President of Uganda Milton Obote.

Last week the Speaker Kadaga directed Gen. Tumwine to pay rent as he occupies Nommo Gallery or vacate the place.
In response to Gen. Tumwine that he thief, Bigirimana said he was a busy man who wasn’t going to comment on idle talk.

“That is his view; I am not going to respond to such statements. I am not an idler. I think for this country and I have programs like youth livelihood program and others and so I don’t have time for idlers,” Bigirimana told Eagle Online in a telephone interview.

This website couldn’t get a comment from Mr. Muhakanizi as he didn’t pick his calls.

Excerpts of the radio interview

How will you go about parliament’s decision for you to leave Nomo gallery or pay rent from as early as 1998.
Rest. In 2013 the same report came from Parliament and do you know that until now Parliament has never summoned me in the matters pertaining Nomo gallery. Nomo gallery is not a government property, I repeat it is not a government property, it is for visual artists.

How did they get it?
Wait, former president Milton Obote, offered one of his houses that belonged to State House Nakasero to visual artists, it is not a government property.

Then how does Ministry of Gender come in?
Ministry of Gender doesn’t know the origin of this matter, when we returned from the bush war, I brought all artists together, cleared the bushy compound, employed a director to manage it and we started putting our property to use.
Government has never injected in Nomo gallery as they claim that I start paying rent, they don’t know what is happening there. A moment ago we received a letter demanding us to pay rent. How do we pay rent for our own house, may be government wants to grab our property.
Nomo gallery is registered in the names of visual artists not government. Government has never put any structure, how do you start asking for rent.

First, Ministry of Finance instructed you to pay rent of vacate the place and the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga told you to do the same?
None of the three, the Speaker of Parliament, neither Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Finance Keith Muhakanizi nor Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Gender Pius Bigirimana understands what he/she is saying. Both Pius Bigirimana and Keith Muhakanizi are thieves, I told them point blank in their faces, they are the thieves in Prime Minister’s, they are accounting officers according to section 55 of the finance act, if you lose money, you are held responsible.

There is no difference because you too have refused to vacate government’s property?
The problem is that you don’t understand the matter

Speaker said it is because you fought in the bush war and that is why you have refused to leave Nommo Gallery?
We fought for truth, we didn’t fight for talking like Kadaga, if it is truth, I fight till I die, I will not leave Nommo gallery because if I leave then who will occupy it? If they constructed it then they should evict me. Truth is better that everything.

Then haven’t you undermined the role of Parliament?
No they are not performing their duties, we knew they wanted to steal it however, we kept a deaf ear. For five years what has speaker done?

A Committee of Parliament carried out its investigations and Parliament resolved that you pay of leave Nommo Gallery?
That committee didn’t do anything because they didn’t consult me, as a person implicated in that matter.

The report says you were called but you declined to appear before the committee?
They are lying; they don’t want people to talk about their corruption.

Ugandans are saying as a person who fights against corruption (Gen. Elly Tumwine) why is it that you have declined Muhakanizi, Bigirimana and Speaker’s directives?
They don’t understand what they are saying; I have never stolen government funds. They just sit in their offices and issue directives.

Isn’t this issue is tainting you image?
Quote as I said, I liberated my country, and the fruit are transparency not corruption and grabbing properties.

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