2005 UN Saved Museveni from ICC Indictment; Yet, in 2017 His Regime Steals UN Money for Refugees

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UN chief Guterres helped raise $300 million for refugees; ever the gentleman, Museveni regime lived up to its thieving reputation.

The revelation that foreign aid meant for refugees in Uganda has been stolen by dictator Yoweri Museveni's regime and that they are being mistreated has raised a lot of alarm. Given the regime's record corruption the state banditry comes as no shock. Money to fight HIV/Aids was embezzled in the past leading the U.S. ambassador Deborah Malac in 2016 to publicly blast Museveni's government.

Unlike Ethiopia for example, which has a growing economy and has started industrializing Museveni only produces human misery and cashes on the suffering of the victims.

Uganda is host to about a million and a half refugees from the neighboring countries of South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) topping the list. Museveni's 2013 invasion of South Sudan to support President Salve Kiir escalated war leading to more refugees.

The alleged corruption includes inflating the number of refugees, extorting money from refugees before they are offered sanctuary and registered and allowed access to different services, faking documents for delivery of food and non-food items, trafficking of refugee women and girls, illegal repatriation and relocation of these victims, diverting scholarships meant for refugees to Ugandans connected to the corrupt Museveni regime and intimidation of UN staff.

The United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) has written to the government of Uganda to investigate the fraud and corruption.

The Office of the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda (OPM) has initiated a probe into the allegations after it suspended four top officers of the Refugee Department. The OPM which houses the Refugee Department is the lead government agency that coordinates with UNHCR and other UN agencies together with other local and international NGOs in providing the necessary response to the management of refugees. This is like having bank robbers investigate a heist they had conducted.

The country’s military dictator Gen. Museveni has told the press that: “No body is supposed to take advantage of refugees. I was also a refugee in Tanzania for eight years. Providing for refugees is not a favour because international law guarantees protection of people unsafe at their homes. Those found culpable will face the full wrath of the law. God will punish those who steal from the under privileged. Refugees are very important to Uganda not only for compassion purposes to them but for many other importances that the country benefits from.”

The man talks good sounding nonsense. Corruption flourishes when the chief is corrupt. What's more there would be no refugees to abuse had he not invaded South Sudan and had he not invaded Congo multiple times. In 2015 the International Court of Justice awarded Congo $10 billion reparations for war crimes. Museveni called kofi Annan, then UN Secretrary General and begged him to block a separate war crimes investigation by the ICC, The Wall Street Journal reported on June 8, 2006. Dictators do fear justice.


Uganda's Parliament, dominated by dictator Museveni's sycophants has also asked the OPM to come clean over the alleged creation of "ghost refugees" (non-existing people). It has gone further to suggest that the Refugee Department should move away from the fraud prone OPM. The Refugee Act 2006 places the Refugee Department under the OPM.

Though the department is under the OPM just for resources mobilization and management, the behind the curtains key players are from the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Security. Immigration officers, Intelligence Officers and the police run the show; they are the agencies responsible for the most insecurity. These unseen key players include some officers structurally under the OPM but working for the mentioned agencies hence the alleged “intimidation of UN staff” in the name of "security."

We have repeatedly argued in this column and now history is exonerating us that dictator Museveni’s major interest in initiating a liberal refugee policy was to attract donor funding.




In July 2017 Museveni hosted a global Refugee Solidarity Summit that was attended by, among others, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres resulting in $300 million in pledges. If Museveni's regime could steal money for Ugandans for HIV/Aids and TB treatment what would it do with millions of dollars for non-Ugandans? We hope Guterres who helped raise the funds is embarrassed.

The UN blocks a criminal investigation by the ICC which could have resulted in Museveni's indictment and he returns the favor by having his regime steal UN money.
Does he condone and tolerate corruption? According to a case in U.S. federal court he received a "special gift" and his foreign minister Sam Kutesa $500,000 as bribe by a Chinese businessman. More money was to come in joint business ventures with Museveni's and Kutesa's families according to the U.S. Department of Justice.


It was wrong for the donor community to entrust Gen. Museveni with such huge funding without appropriate background checks-and-balances. Surely the UN knows how corrupt dictator Museveni is. Ambassador Malac's statement is still on the U.S. embassy website.

If Gen. Museveni is not a U.S. agent why does his regime still get $1 billion a year from Washington in American taxpayers' money?

(Part II will look at historical violence against refugees in Uganda).

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