“Help, help… the government of Uganda is borrowing US$25 million to support the growth of tourism and this money is going to be approved by parliament next Tuesday. 12 million is for developing Jinja tourism training school, 3 million is developing the ministry of tourism and 10 million dollars is meant for marketing Uganda’s tourism. However, some guys have been planning to eat the 10 million dollars for marketing and I have evidence for this. James Tumusiime and I have been moving from office to office telling off these fellows… by the way, some ministers want the money to develop their personal hotels which is a very selfish way of doing things as usual… how can you help? Make sure to tell every MP you know that no one should touch money meant to marketing Uganda and my media friends we are planning a press conference tomorrow we need your support. 10 million dollars is small money for marketing but can make a very big difference if well utilized….you guys helped with the eclipse and great things happened… the battle is half won and we need to win the next half…”
This hard-hitting comment was received yesterday through Facebook contacts who copied it from Amos Wekesa’s page, where he in unusually blunt language alerted his contacts, and the tourism industry in Uganda at large, to the scheme he describes above. Amos Wekesa is the immediate past president of the Uganda Tourism Association, the country’s tourism sector association’s apex body, and as such the main private sector platform in dealing with both government and tourism industry affairs at large. Several regular sources urged to have this information published here, as did Amos Wekesa himself ask for help to lobby members of parliament. The allegations made in the Facebook post are graphic and while this correspondent lacks the insight of Mr. Wekesa, as to who exactly is involved in the scam he refers to, the publicity is happily given and the hope expressed that these issues – presently of course mere allegations – are referred to the appropriate authorities within the Ugandan law enforcement community. In addition should this issue be referred to the Inspector General of Government and the anti-corruption bodies, public and from the NGO sector, to get to the bottom of this, prevent any loss or diversion of funds and ensure that finally some serious money comes to the Uganda Tourism Board and is used for the intended purpose, the promotion of The Pearl of Africa abroad, the generic marketing of the country and to undertake joint sales missions and trade fair attendances with the private sector.