UNAA: Attacks On Dr. Abe Are Unwarranted

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Ben Abe, has been a selfless servant of the Diaspora community as a board member and Uganda by extension.

[Op-Ed: A Rejoinder]

Re: "Unaa Convention; Will First Lady Speak?" blackstarnews.com August 25, 2009 http://www.blackstarnews.com/news/122/ARTICLE/5956/2009-08-24.html

Dr. Ben Abe’s integrity has been attacked.

Mr. Musisi has accused Dr Abe with forgery! The issue at hand is who has invited the Minister Of State for Karamoja, who happens to be the First Lady of the republic of Uganda, The Hon Janet Museveni MP.

On Unaanet the online discussion group, there are arguments pro and against Dr Abe's actions! We should remember this is the "Silly Season"! In less than two weeks UNAA conducts it elections for a new executive and National board!

Mr. Musisi, who is running for President has based his campaign on the fact that he is protecting UNAA from take over by NRM ! Other candidates namely Flex Kabuye and Moses Wilson suggest that it’s all a figment of Musisi's imagination!

Things are never that simple in UNAA!

I joined the National board in 2003 as its Vice President! Serving with me among others were Ms Rosette Sserwanga (President), Abdul Kimbugwe(Treasurer), Flex Kabuye (Youth), Sgt Frank Musisi(Member), Dr. Ben Abe Omara(Member).Most of us were first timers and thus the guidance of Dr. Ben Abe was invaluable!

I believe starting from 2003 UNAA 's trajectory aimed higher! So it was of great importance for UNAA to have wise counsel as it navigated the tricky horizon!

Ben Abe, has been a selfless servant of the Diaspora community as a board member and Uganda by extension. He has participated in projects geared towards attempted alleviation of suffering by the occupants of the Displaced camps in Gulu and NORTHERN UGANDA. Much of what he has done has gone un-publicized because he has always felt that it was his duty as a true son of the soil.

Some of the projects he has undertaken include but are not limited to:

(1) Rehabilitating derelict Bore holes in the abandoned Villages in the North
(2) Taken Wheelchairs to assist the disabled.
(3) WITH DONATIONS, Bought Tri-cycles (LOCALLY MANUFATURED TRICYLES)
(4) DISTRIBUTED and DONATED Mosquito Nets
(5) Re-equipped the Dental Clinics in the North.
(6) INSTALLED Solar panels for the Government Hospitals in KOCH GOMA AND

MANY OTHER HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITIES.

It’s this selfless spirit that we on the National board of UNAA have experienced with no interruption. This has continued even when he stopped being a board member in 2007!

Ben, has been the main organizer of the Northern Forum in UNAA since 1997. That role came as a result of an unfortunate occurrence in UNAA, history that most people do not recall. At the time as the war in the north raged most Ugandan’s and the world at large had not become sensitized to the

tragedy that was unfolding. A group of distinguished Northerners had formed a lobby group known as Kacoke Madit, whose role was to publicize the on going tragic events up north. Since UNAA was an Annual event which attracted the largest gathering of Ugandans in the Diaspora.

The then leadership was approached BY DR ABE to provide a forum in which Kacoke Madit could educate the rest of the Ugandan brethren on what was going on up country. Unfortunately the National board felt it could not accommodate this request because it was felt it was too political. The social aspects of the war had not been realized by the rest of the country. It’s this response by the then Board that had given UNAA the stigma that it’s pro-Buganda and anti-North. I ran for office in order to try and alleviate that view and I will say that as a result of the work done by DR Ben Abe, Northern issues have been given their due respect. He has organized every single forum for the last 15 years at no cost with the blessing of the national board.

So I find it odd that Mr. Musisi is now accusing Ben with impropriety. John Mutyaba who is the Vice Chairman of the Chicago convention gave Ben the go ahead as far as organizing the Forum MUCH BEFORE MUSISI EVEN BROACHED THE IDEA.

About 2 months ago Musisi took a trip to Uganda which gave him the opportunity to travel up North. On his return he decided to displace Ben as the Chairman without the authority of the national board. Word on the street is that Musisi intends to show case his profile during the convention and Northen forum by viewing a DVD of his trip! Ben's forum has been geared towards deliberate discussions and debate. Which would not give Musisi the space and time he requires to try and win the northern vote!

My belief is that if the Minister of State for Karamoja and the First Lady had not accepted to come for the convention we would not be talking animatedly about the UNAA Northern forum. The reason I say this is because Musisi has through out his tenure injected politics when dealing with his board. Whenever decisions went against him, he saw the "invisible" hand of the Government of Uganda.

Why is this fact important to note?

I now see some of Musisi's supporters calling Ben an agent of the NRM government. This far from the truth. Ben is a self-made man who owes no obligations to no one or any political party but the people of Uganda.

It’s unfortunate that Musisi's battles with his National board has spilt into the natural trend of organizing political forums! As they say a week is a life time in UNAA, one wonders what else is coming next?

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