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Is Museveni Being Wrongly Advised? – A Case of Dott Services and UMEME

In his New Year’s message on January 1st 2018, the presiding apostle of the Born-Again faith in Uganda, Dr. Joseph Sserwada advised President Yoweri Museveni to drop ‘advisors’ and opt for strategists, if his vision is to be realised.

Dr. Sserwada’s comments were hinged on the President’s mandatory directive to all media houses to broadcast his new year’s message on December 31st, a time when most people are in different gatherings including churches, bars, concerts among others.

The apostle argued that the scheduling was not well targeted, faulting the president’s advisors for the same.

Over a long period of time, we have seen the president make ‘rushy’, “wrongly advised” decisions which pose big threats to the country’s economy as well as expose it to the risk of losing billions of money.

Dott Services Blocked.

On April 21st 2017, President Museveni ordered the Executive Director of the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Allen Kagina and the Executive Directors of the Public Procurement and Disposal Authority (PPDA) not to enter any new contracts with constructions company Dott Services which he referred to as “fraudulent.”

Dott Services was allegedly implicated in a number of scandals involving mismanagement of funds and poor service delivery in the construction sector.

They however challenged the commission’s recommendations in court where the portion of the report that relates to them was suppressed.

“I have received several credible reports with information relating to fraudulent dealings by Dott Services that are not acceptable. An entity that wants to be shielded from being investigated should not expect to participate in government projects.”

“I am therefore directing government not to enter into any new contracts with Dott Services Ltd or their directors,” the president wrote.

Kagina would later proceed to terminate Dott Services’ contract on the Mbale-Tirinyi road citing “irretrievable breakdown of the contractual relationship” between the parties which “negatively impacted” on the project.

Nine Months Later, Museveni orders Dott Services back on the road.

On January 8th, Museveni again ordered UNRA Executive Director Kagina to “reach an amicable solution with Dott Services.”

He also said his earlier directive to block Dott Services was based on “allegations that the company had not done a good job in some of the projects. Even me I had been incensed by that information.”

“Later, however, I learnt that, apparently, Dott Services is a big company worth $100m and it is not just in road construction. It is also in electricity generation even in Uganda.”

The big question here should be; who was feeding the president all those allegations?

Who would have a lot to gain if the contract was terminated?

Museveni Blocks Umeme Contract Renewal.

In a March 13th letter, President Yoweri Museveni moved to block the renewal of electricity distribution company UMEME.

He accused the company of conspiring with officials from the Ministry of Energy to inflate its operation costs which in the end make power expensive for end users.

The president further tasked Energy Minister Irene Muloni to explain to him how Umeme’s technical losses remain at 17% yet the company claims to have invested up to $500million in distribution infrastructure.

“If they have invested so much money, why do the technical losses not decline?”

“Why were the technical losses not eliminated? Why is the consumer being penalized for that? Why do the consumers have to pay for both the mysterious investments and the mysterious losses that should have disappeared long ago?” the president wrote before asking that “we should look for cheaper way of modernizing and expanding the transmission and distribution lines.”

Before we all get hyped up by the “Don’t Renew Umeme Deal” headline as written by New Vision and the “Umeme is South African” assertion by ChimpReports, we need to understand the people who will gain from the process of procuring another electricity distributor.

We also need to understand how much, if it happens, Umeme’s departure would affect the country’s economy.

The National Social Security Fund owns over 23% shares in Umeme; that not forgetting the many Ugandans that bought shares in the company.

Umeme Vs Dott Services.

While reinstating Dott Services, Museveni cited that Dott Services; because of its works and investment is “a company that can broaden their investment efforts in Uganda.”

“In the wider interests of the country, therefore, you should give this company one more chance on the Mbale-Tirinyi road,” Museveni added.

From the facts at hand, it’s evident that UMEME is one company that can widen their investment in the country; both from what we have seen them do and what they are capable of doing.

Most shares in the company are locally owned and giving such a company the contract supports the Buy Uganda Build Uganda initiative.

UMEME Speaks Out.

In a statement released on Monday March 26th, Umeme, through their lawyers of Shonubi, Musoke and Co. Advcates said they had not received the said President’s letter although they had seen the news over social media.

They clarified that Umeme is operating a 20-year concession with 7 years left until March 1st 2025.

They added that “the company has commenced engagement with the government of Uganda on the extension of the concession period.”

Whether the concession will be renewed or not remains subject to the findings of the IGG’s probe as ordered by the president.

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