KAMPALA – There is a joke that has been doing rounds at a wrong time ridiculing school bursars for overrating their importance just because they hold money and the question went, how Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile should behave since he is the one who signs all notes and controls all the money in the country.
That is exactly what the ordinary man thinks of the deceased Bank of Uganda Governor, he is expected to have all tribes of money hitherto with the power to pick any amount he wants at any time and for any purpose without seeking permission to do so.
There is no doubt Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile played a pivotal role in shaping the destiny of Uganda through the modernization of Uganda’s financial sector, economic recovery programs, designing and implementing economic and fiscal reforms which in the absence of corruption would have restored Uganda’s economy to admirable levels.
He had a distinguished career and he was a diligent leader who immeasurably served Uganda with dedication and patriotism.
But like any other human, Tumusiime leaves behind a huge foreign debt that will only be settled by the next 10 generations to come.
I believe he had the capacity to say no especially that he was aware that the money was not serving the purpose for which it was borrowed. Like the Leader of opposition rightly put it, Mutebile has left us in a country whose past, present and future is the fountain of economic uncertainty and a country where banks borrow in order to lend at unaffordable interest rates and above all, he has died at the time when Uganda is choking on public debt with interest payment on public debt for the financial year 2022/23 estimated at about 5.88 trillion out of which 4.09 trillion must be set aside as interest payment,
Even in his death, the taxpayer is expected to folk out about 409,000,000/= for his burial slated for 30th January 2022 at Rugarama, Kabale District which money can restock over 3 health centre IVs with beds and mattresses to save lives of the ordinary Ugandan.
Be it as it may, he has not been operating a non-Governmental organisation meaning that he was paid for his work by whoever employed him. From the time he died, I have not heard anybody referring to him as father, there is a possibility that he had no children which is not a crime but it also means he did not have so many obligations on which to spend.
Matters are made worse that most of his needs like housing, medical care, security, transport, entertainment; travels among others were not paid by him. It is for such reasons that I disagree with some Members of Parliament who are advocating that the Government should baby sit Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile’s wife for that matter by donating the official residence of the Governor Bank of Uganda. That residence is supposed to benefit a sitting Bank of Uganda Governor, not the deceased Governor and it does not matter what the deceased has done for the country, his relationship with that residence ends with his exit.
If such behavior is left unchecked, somebody will in future suggest that one of the state lodges or statehouse be given to an outgoing President because he did wonders.
The late Bank Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile is on record for having forfeited his allowances as member of the commission of inquiry into the mismanagement of the Global Fund. Mutebile was entitled to about 48 million in sitting allowances from the commission for six months yet the rest of the members of the commission took their share.
Maybe these are some of the indicators the man had more than enough money and did not need such small lawful privileges. Being corruption-free does not mean the man is broke.
We have seen Ugandans who earn as little as 2 million shillings before taxes per month but they have been able to plan to the extent of building their own houses. How about a man who has been earning a net salary in excess of 55 million per month?
I know in the African culture it is an abomination to point a finger at a dead man but if it is true that Tumusiime was earning such a salary per month and he died without a home is the highest level of extravagancy and should not be condoned, not even by the President or Parliament.
I was shocked to see Bukooli Central Member of Parliament Solomon Silwany tabling a very emotional proposal and supported by Barnabas Tinkasimire suggesting that government or Bank of Uganda should get an appropriate property for the family of the late Mutebile who until his death was living in a Bank of Uganda residence at Kololo.
He should have planned his exit like others have done as soon as he assumed office. If the Members of Parliament think the idea is viable, they should put aside some of their salaries to buy Mutebile’s widow a house.
One could tell that the Deputy Speaker who was chairing the house was in support of the proposal but could not say it. Her thinking was however brought out when she informed the house that she attended a vigil at the official residence of the late governor on Wednesday in Kololo where the widow hinted on having no home.
Surely after serving for 21 year and more, this man should have accumulated enough money to buy any building of choice in Kampala.
The Deputy Speaker even wondered how insensitive the Members were, I think she was referring to the opposition Parliamentarians who opposed the idea.
Nobody is disputing Mutebile honesty but he does not deserve any extra benefits, his lawful retirement benefits from Government are good enough to take care of his wife. Fortunately, she is also of advanced age, Kabale would be the most ideal place for her to relocate. There are thousands of Ugandans who have done a lot for this country but were not even given a cow to say thank you to them, why Tumusiime Mutebile.
Honourable Silwany in an attempt to justify his statement explained that Mutebile did not amass a lot of wealth like other people who would take advantage of their positions but the question which should have been raised is where did Mutebile take his money in salary and allowances, was he expecting handouts from Government upon retirement.
Are we not sending bad signals to other civil servants to misuse their earnings while still in services with the hope that they will be given special packages beyond what the law provides for.
Mr. Roger Wadada Musaalo is a Lawyer, human rights activist, researcher, and politician