How The IMF and World Bank Help Spread Covid-19 In Uganda

Georgieva heads IMF
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IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. With loans to corrupt regime of dictator Gen. Museveni, the fund prevents Uganda from effectively tackling pandemic. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

[My Free Thoughts]

In the last year alone Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s dictatorship in Uganda has received about $1.8 billion from the IMF and World yet the Covid-19 pandemic is running out of hand as the Delta and South African variants ravage across Uganda. The levels of death are appalling.

The most recent approved loan was $1 billion by the IMF. This is in addition to $491 million from the fund last year and $300 million from the World Bank. 

If the hundreds of millions had been deployed to fight the pandemic, conceivably 80% of the 44 million population would be vaccinated by now. Instead people are once again locked down, with no assistance, to suffer from hunger. In a way, by lending the millions to a regime led by thieves—instead of looking for mechanisms to directly benefit Ugandans—the IMF and World Bank indirectly cause the spread of Covid-19 in the country. 

The relief money was to tackle the pandemic yet dictator Museveni’s regime reportedly diverted huge sums to Statehouse and the Military through a classified budget. Some funds went through the Ministry of Health and the Office of the Prime Minister, both of which are controlled by the dictator.

The classified budget in statehouse and the military would be spent on teargas, bullets, weapons, and cost of deployment of troops to crush pro-democracy forces and opposition party candidates and their supporters prior to, during, and after the presidential election. That Jan. 14, 2021 vote was stolen by Gen. Museveni and the U.S., his primary benefactor dismissed it as “neither free, nor fair.” Yet the Biden White House took no action to block the IMF’s recent $1 billion loan to the corrupt regime. The stink starts from the top. In 2018 a U.S. Court convicted a Chinese national of bribing Gen. Museveni and his then foreign minister and in-law Sam Kutesa $1 million. Gen. Museveni’s cut was delivered in cash to Uganda, the U.S. said. 

The IMF sees no evil and hears no evil and approved the $1 billion loan on June 28. 

Out of last year’s loan conceivably the amount diverted to State House was also spent on the dictator’s re-election campaign. Parts of sums sent to Ministry of Health and Office of the Prime Minister were also diverted. Some money was used to buy overpriced food relief and face masks and other essential supplies from  regime-connected businesses paying kickbacks to government contractors. Some watchdog journalists pocketed money as bribes not to report on the plunder.

The resident district commissioners, as heads of the pandemic task forces at the district level, pocketed allowances of more than $10,000 each—in a country where per capita annual income is under $800—while health workers on the frontlines suffered in poverty and starvation without allowances.

Here is a partial breakdown of the money loaned by a regime operated by thieves as the top:

$491 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in May 2020.

$300 million from the World Bank in June 2020. 

$1 million from the government of Denmark through the Royal Danish Embassy in Kampala in June 2020. 

$9.9 million from USAID in June 2020. 

$1.82 million from the United Kingdom in October 2020. 

This was all before the recent $1 billion IMF of which $258 million was made available to the regime without creating a mechanism to prevent any more theft even after last year’s disaster. Those who lend to thieves must approve of theft. 

Although nearly $800 million annually is spent on serving Uganda’s debt repayments these odious loans incurred by the regime of thieves have not helped to extricate the poor people out of impoverishment. The continue to enrich the few lumpens inside the circle of Gen. Museveni’s family. They also allow the dictator to maintain hold over the military which us used to instill fear, to brutalize, and to murder, courtesy of the IMF and World Bank. 

The columnist has survived torture at the hands of Museveni’s military regime. He can be reached via Kakwenzarukirabashaija@gmail.com 

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