So your ‘learned friend’, Uganda Revenue Authority boss Doris Akol received and accepted some tips on decent dressing from Abdu Katuntu in order to avoid dressing like ‘ villager’, Kamadhi said, while looking lawyer Rebecca Kagada aka Rebecca K, straight in the face.
The lawyer first composed herself and offered apologies for the absence of her ‘academic friend in crime’, Insect Professor Maurice Ladit Ogeng, who she said, had travelled ‘to outside countries’ for ‘some consultancy work on parasitic insects like leeches and lice’.
Rebecca K then turned looked Kamadhi straight in the face, giving an answer in support of Akol. “What did you mean? Right from university to Law Development Centre lawyers are inculcated with knowledge that allows them have a responsible dress-sense and I am sure my brother Katuntu meant no harm when he made the observation and communicated his thinking to Akol. Both know about our professional dress code.”
However, Kamadhi protested: “But you mean Akol had forgotten about the lawyers’ professional dress code, just like she also forgot almost about everything that transpired during the transactions that led to the sharing out of the Shs 6 billion handshake from the President?”
“Anyway, is it true that the URA Board was never informed about the ‘presidential handshake’? If true, then I think Akol has a lot to tell Katuntu’s committee because, according to communication from Keith Muhakanizi, the money was supposed to be drawn from the URA coffers and anybody conversant with money matters in public institutions will tell you that Shs6 billion was huge enough for the Board to at least get to know and sanction or offer guidance,” Yorokamu Bwambale, the man from the Rwenzori region, jumped into the fray, casting doubt on the ‘good faith’ over the handshake dealings.
He added: “Actually, can you imagine that on her second appearance before the COSASE committee, the MPs thought Akol was being economical with the truth and even asked her to take an oath?”
“Is it also true that the number of beneficiaries is changing every passing day like the fast-moving Monsoon winds?” That Akol has a list of 42 beneficiaries, while the former Attorney General Fred Ruhindi, who is also a beneficiary of the handshake, has a list of 24 beneficiaries?” Gaudence Mbaroraburora aka Club Belle made her lone contribution to the club debate that evening.
“But that aside, I think the interaction is progressing well and we are about to know whether, among other assignments, the URA boss can be delegated by the accounting officer in the finance ministry, the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to Treasury Keith Muhakanizi, to become a paymaster of sorts, moreover for funds not appropriated by Parliament,” lawyer Kagada told Club Belle, thereby zipping the mouth of the modestly-educated Club Belle, who then took solace in nodding whenever Kamadhi spoke. But before that Lawyer Rebecca K added: “It seems there is something stupid or foolish here.”
Anyway, there must be something amiss with officials at the finance ministry; do you know that the Minister Matia Kasaija called Emmanuel Mutebile’s ideas ‘foolish’. Can you imagine a man with one degree and probably some post-graduate training calling ideas from a whole professor of economics ‘foolish’? It is possible our leaders and other senior government officials are getting obsessed with snide words like ‘stupid and foolish’, seeing as it is that they have used the words severally in the past three months since the ‘presidential handshake’ came to light.
“By any chance, are you talking about the proposal by some bureaucrats led by finance minister Kasaija that Uganda starts printing its own money?”
“Exactly! In fact according to the minister and another cabinet colleague of his, the development will save government of huge costs involved in printing money abroad, and will also help create jobs,” lawyer Rebecca K said, chidingly adding: “I can smell another presidential handshake coming up, purportedly in appreciation of the gallant sons and daughters at the finance ministry that will save Uganda the several millions of dollars annually in money-printing costs.”
Restless Kamadhi joined the debate. “Well, you said something is amiss at the finance ministry, can you imagine these fellows are not telling their boss that printing money is not an every-day job like the printing of campaign posters done at Nasser Road? In any case, what will happen when it comes to minting coins? If the idea is to save on costs, won’t these same people suggest that we carry out the minting of coins in one of the local steel-making factories like Casements, Roofings Limited or Steel Tubes? Can you also imagine they also lied to their boss that Uganda prints money every year? And again, did I hear someone say that the costs of introducing the money printing venture have been inflated by millions of dollars? There surely is something wrong with Uganda, cursed!” Kamadhi lamented.
All this banter while Chairman Bonnabagaga Akalyamagwa was listening intently, only to interject with a ‘new’ topic.
“Bannange Rebecca K, as a lawyer and daughter of Busoga, what is your take on the appointment of Kyabazinga William Nadiope as Ambassador?” he asked.
“Well, I think there is need for all parties involved in this matter to scrutinize the Constitution, specifically Parts III, IV and V of the Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders Act 2011. Otherwise, I have heard that my learned friend and fellow tribesmate Asuman Basalirwa is planning to go to court to challenge Nadiope’s appointment,” Rebecca K, herself a self-avowed opposer of the appointment, said, before turning to ‘Busoga elder Kamadhi’ to seek his opinion on the matter.
“Well, as an elder from Busoga, I know the Kyabazinga cannot be someone’s servant; culture does not allow him take orders from someone else, even if such person is a royal, so I wonder what type of working relation he will have with his boss,” Kamadhi offered.
“I am also wondering how the Kyabazinga will appear before a vetting committee chaired by his subject, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, to be confirmed as an Ambassador. It just tastes bitter in the mouth,” Kamadhi said, before reminding his audience of his years working as a public servant in several ministries, departments and government agencies.
Kamadhi added: “Chairman Akalyamaggwa, I am just wondering what would happen if the President appointed your Kabaka, Ronald Mutebi, a Minister or Ambassador!” Kamadhi’s remarks threw all the whole club members into uncontrollable laughter
But it was Hitler Eregu, the former rebel-turned government supporter from Teso, who returned calm to the club members, soberly weighing in on the debate, saying the issue of cultural leaders should be revisited altogether, with a view to further streamlining their relations with the Central Government.
“In Teso we also have a cultural leader called Emorimor; his actual names are Augustine Osuban. But even on some national occasions he is not invited, is that fair?
But before he could continue with his lamentations, lawyer Rebecca K said it was time for her to leave since Insect Professor was not around to give her company at the joint where they usually enjoy the ‘frothy stuff’ after the sojourn at the Mutungo Malwa Club.
And, with a hearty laughter, chairman Bonnabagaga Akalyamaggwa announced the sitting adjourned, promising to write a letter to President Yoweri Museveni, reminding him of the promise he made during the 2016 presidential elections, to give all Malwa Clubs in the country Shs2 million.
“I think we also need that small ‘handshake’ since we are some of the patriotic Ugandans who the President said promote unity,” Bonnabagaga Akalyamaggwa said and bade the club members ‘goodnight’.
DISCLAIMER: This is a burlesque column that runs on Friday.