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UNAA Board of Trustees | Ruling On The Current State of UNAA Affairs

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Posted June 10, 2014 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in UNAA ~ 12,523 views

     

unaa dallas 22

Dear Members of Uganda North American Association (UNAA).

As Board of trustees of UNAA, guided by the constitution and entrusted with the duty to oversee the good governance of the organisation in fulfilling its obligation to members, we urgently bring to your attention the imminent destruction of UNAA as a cultural organisation that unites Uganda Diaspora and Ugandans in the homeland. The current crisis was brought by a series of detrimental, short sighted and selfish decisions amounting to the ultimate betrayal by the UNAA Executive presided over by UNAA president Brian Kwesiga. The man whom you entrusted with overwhelming popular mandate in Dallas to lead and unite the organisation for the next two years, has overseen the organisation descend into a hotbed of intrigues, malicious and vicious attacks, and misinformation. As trustees, we have arrived at this conclusion, not out of vindictiveness or malice. Rather, we have seen up close the disintegration of the association over the last several months, and are keen to list your help to stop the divisive issues starting with the latest
incident.

On May 21, 2014, elected UNAA treasurer Mr. Jude Ssempungu wrote an urgent email to the Board trustees. Mr. Ssempungu informed the BOT that he, as treasurer, had instructed the Bank of America to cancel debit card No. XXXXXX0328 which was ordered by Mr. Brian Kwesiga contrary to article 11:3. Mr. Ssempungu further wrote, “The issuance of the above UNAA Card to Mr. Kwesiga was never done by the UNAA Treasurer as it is stipulated. Therefore, I disassociate myself from all the unconstitutional/ illegitimate transactions which may have been carried out without [sic] on this Card without my mandatory signature.”

The following day, May 22, 2014, Mr. Ssempungu further updated the BOT that all debit cards had been cancelled. He added that further withdrawal of funds would not take place “until the Board of Trustees takes appropriate and immediate action on this financial mess that has been created.” Before the said UNAABOT action could take place, Mr. Ssempungu again wrote on May 24, 2014, informing the BOT that elected UNAA President Brian Kwesiga had presented a document to the Bank of America on May 21, 2014 which froze out from the account both the elected treasurer and elected Secretary as co-signatories to the account. The immediate effect of the action taken by Mr.Kwesiga ensured that he, Brian Kwesiga, was now the sole and only signatory to the UNAA accounts. According to Mr. Ssempungu wrote, “As of May 22, 2014, Mr. Brian Kwesiga is the sole owner and signatory of the UNAA Bank accounts. This happened immediately after the Treasurer had informed the BOT about the illegitimate debit card Mr. Kwesiga has secured on May 14, 2014 and started using it for transactions with out [sic] the Treasurer’s signature [sic].”

As the issue escalated, the acting BOT chairman Mr. Alexander Zabasajja called a teleconference meeting of the trustees to which the president, treasurer and secretary were invited on Tuesday, May 27, 2014. At the meeting, all three members of the UNAA executive were provided with opportunity to address the issue of the bank accounts. Mr. Ssempungu reiterated what he alleged in the three emails sent to the BOT, namely, that he cancelled the debit cards, but was subsequently removed by the president as a signatory to the said accounts. Mr. Kwesiga reported that he took those measures because Mr. Ssempungu had failed to discharge his duties as the treasurer. The decision was a collective one taken by the UNAA Executive in May 2014, in which he was given the go ahead.

The surprise addendum to the information provided by the treasurer and the president was one voluntarily given by BOT member Mr. Moses Wilson who informed the meeting that he, Moses Wilson, had personally directed President Brian Kwesiga to proceed with the bank action that froze out both the duly elected treasurer and secretary of the association. It was made clear that Mr. Wilson’s action in no way represented the position of the BOT on the matter and that he acted as an individual. In any event, as of this writing, Mr. Kwesiga remains the sole signatory to the UNAA bank accounts.

Before making specific remarks regarding the UNAA banking crisis, it is important to recall previous events presided over by Brian Kwesiga that contributed to the impending dissolution of UNAA.

First, in September 2013, petitions were brought before the BOT alleging that Mr. Rahim Kabagambe was improperly nominated to the UNAA Council as Male Youth Representative for Canada. After a thorough investigation, the BOT ruled that indeed Mr. Kabagambe’s nominations were improper and, consequently, was never elected. On September 24, 2013, in a public letter to members, Mr. Kwesiga dismissed the decision of the UNAABOT. Mr. Kwesiga wrote, “always remain conscious to the fact that you are unelected officials whose role in this matter is to interpret the UNAA Constitution as it is and not as you think it should be.” Mr. Kwesiga encouraged Mr. Kabagambe, whose invalid candidacy Mr. Kwesiga had tried to push, to stay on the UNAA Council. The resulting impasse within the UNAA Council, with eight (8) elected members of the Council refusing to participate in that body’s deliberations, meant that there has been no legitimate Council meeting and there is currently no legitimate leadership of the Council. As previously communicated, any decisions made by the UNAA Council that included Mr. Kabagambe as a voting “member” are null and void. Furthermore, any votes on any measure that occurred without the requisite quorum of 2/3 of the legitimately elected members of the Council are null and void.

Secondly, some members of the organisation have been illegally removed from online membership of UNAALIST, the official network for members of the association. To date, neither explanation nor apologies have been tendered to those who were summarily removed. UNAALIST, it now seems is the exclusive reserve of those who agree with Mr. Kwesiga.

Thirdly, Mr. Kwesiga presided over the dissolution of the San Diego Local organizing Committee (SD-LOC). Instead of working with the SD-LOC, the national executive led by Mr. Brian Kwesiga made decisions that excluded the efforts already underway at the local level. Subsequent attempts were made to damage the reputation of the local organising committee. Machiavellian does not even begin to describe the divisive effort led by Mr.Kwesiga in San Diego.

In discharging our duties to the membership of the organisation, we want to make clear the following statements.

1. By rejecting the ruling of the UNAABOT on the Kabagambe issue, an action that the organization’s president has no
constitutional right to do, Mr. Kwesiga declared war against that organ of the Association. The UNAABOT offered Mr. Kwesiga a way out of the impasse by directing him to rescind his attack on the UNAABOT and to advise his friend, Mr. Rahim Kabagambe, to withdraw from the UNAA Council. Once again Mr. Kwesiga rejected that opportunity to find a solution to the impasse. His subsequent actions and statements have continued to demonstrate that the Mr. Kwesiga neither respects nor believes in the constitutional roles and responsibilities of the UNAABOT.

2. The UNAA Executive Committee has nominated directors whose appointments were never validated by a properly constituted UNAA Council. Yet, there are individuals nominated by Mr. Kwesiga who have assumed roles on the Executive Committee, including control of UNAA’s membership list and finances. The nominee for Director of Communications, for instance, who was not confirmed for the position, took upon himself to remove eight Members of the UNAA Council from UNAALIST, the Association’s electronic communication medium. This illegal action violated Article 3.8 of the UNAA
Constitution.

3. In the recent banking crisis detailed earlier, elected treasurer Mr. Ssempungu acted inappropriately by cancelling the debit cards issued to the president without first trying to find redress. Understandably, Mr. Ssempungu was refusing to honour financial decisions that lacked the approval of a properly constituted UNAA Council as required by the Constitution. But his action, albeit temporary, meant that daily financial business of the organisation could not be completed either by himself or another member of the executive in a timely fashion. Despite his concerns for proper dispensation of members’ funds, there were more appropriate ways of dealing with the issues including advising the BOT of his concerns.

The counter response from Mr. Brian Kwesiga was to remove the treasurer and secretary as signatories to the UNAA bank
accounts, thereby assuming the roles and responsibilities of UNAA elected Treasurer. Simply put, Mr. Kwesiga was acting outside the constitution, and his actions were illegal. He had no legal authority to remove constitutional powers invested in the elected Treasurer by UNAA members. More so, by acting on the advice from Mr. Moses Wilson to go ahead with the illegal bank action, Mr. Kwesiga failed in his role as the elected leader of the association. Mr. Wilson, a long-standing member of the association, neither owns nor controls the association. His unofficial advisory role to Mr. Kwesiga has no more import or authority than that of a friend, and Mr. Kwesiga should have taken it as such. For substantial action such as the one he eventually took, Mr. Kwesiga should have sought official guidance from UNAABOT, which he did not. While UNAABOT respects and even encourage personal relationship among UNAA members, it questions the motive of Mr. Wilson for involving himself in the financial running of the organisation and his demonstrably bad advice to Mr. Kwesiga that led to the illegal bank action.

In taking the actions at the Bank of America, Mr. Kwesiga held in contempt and knowingly violated UNAA Constitution,
specifically the following articles: 6.21, 6.5, 11.3, 11.4 and 11.12. In short, Mr. Kwesiga is responsible for the current crisis and imminent collapse of UNAA as a cultural organisation that unites Ugandans and friends of Uganda.

As UNAABOT, we ask the following actions be undertaken immediately to prevent the final dissolution of the organisation that has united Uganda Diaspora for more than two decades.

Mr. Kwesiga must restore immediately the powers and responsibilities of the UNAA Treasurer to Mr. Sempungu, the elected Treasurer of the association, and the signing authority of the Secretary of the Association. A record of that re-instatement must be forwarded to the Chairman of the UNAA Board of Trustees within seven (7) working days.

2. Mr. Jude Ssempungu, within two working days of being restored to the bank account, assure UNAABOT in writing that, as elected treasurer on the bank accounts, he will never again take unilateral actions that impede or prevent the daily transactions on the UNAA accounts. He will commit to cooperate fully and discuss operational issues first with members of the UNAA executive and, if arising concerns cannot be resolved within the executive, seek direction from the BOT.

3. Mr. Moses Wilson to cease and desist from interfering with the function and operation of the UNAA Executive. His ill advice and actions has placed the organisation on the brink of dissolution. He must confine himself to his role as a member of the UNAABOT.

4. Mr. Rahim Kabagambe must cease immediately from participating and attending UNAA Council meetings as he is neither a member of the UNAA Council nor a recognized ex-official member of that body.

UNAA Board of Trustees which has supervisory powers over the executive.

7. If the above corrective actions are not taken by the UNAA President, the Chairman of UNAABOT is authorised to write with full explanations to all known UNAA sponsors including the Government of Uganda, individuals and institutional providers to alert them that all financial transactions committed to by the President outside his constitutional mandate are non-binding on UNAA as an organisation. The said sponsors, individuals and institutional providers, therefore, enter into business transaction with Mr. Kwesiga at their sole risks.

8. In this respect, we call upon all members of UNAA to take very seriously this breach of trust by Mr. Kwesiga and it implications to the 501 (c3) requirements for non-profit organisation. UNAABOT, therefore, asks members to do everything in their power to save our Organization. UNAABOT specifically asks members through letters, emails and phone-calls, to let the elected president Mr. Kwesiga know that he must do the right thing by restoring the elected Treasurer to the UNAA accounts, working with elected UNAA Council members and steering the organisation from the impending abyss. This is no longer a matter of partisanship, friendship, or kinship but, ultimately, about saving UNAA itself.

We conclude by stating very simply that UNAA is bigger than any one person. As the UNAA Board of Trustees, we shall not be associated with any illegal action or decision that the President of our Association, Mr. Kwesiga or any member of the executive makes outside of the constitution. The UNAA Board of Trustees will not in any way endorse or be associated with any and all financial dealings by the President with individuals, agencies or other transactions while he has sole custody of the bank accounts. As UNAABOT, we shall endeavour to inform in writing any and all individuals, organisations and businesses, completing and concluding financial transactions with UNAA while Mr. Kwesiga remains the sole signatory to the bank accounts, that they do so at their own risks and are amply forewarned thereof without prejudice.

We, the undersigned members of the UNAABOT, direct that this information be widely distributed to all members of UNAA, friends and sympathizers of UNAA and the general public.

Signed, this Monday, the ninth day of June, 2014:

Dr. Muniini Mulera
Alexander Zabasajja
Dr. Opiyo Oloya
Dr. Sarah Matovu
James Serumaga

*Mr. Moses Wilson attended and addressed the meeting, but left at 10:00 p.m. EST before voting took place at 10:17 p.m. EST.


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

13 Comments


  1.  
    Maama wa'baana

    Finally, the BOT has spoken.
    Thank you all members of the BOT for calling out this President Mr. Kwesiga.
    I wish he had not listened to people who are there to fill there pockets instead of helping UNAA grow, they fend for themselves.
    Ssebo, that clique of friends have turned out to be experts in everything-from photography to cooking year in year out while paying themselves. They have no shame and need to go away and go very far. We need to see the financials because they will show that indeed they are a gang of thieves preying on UNAA members money.




  2.  
    Concerned Ugandan

    This is such a big shame to the Ugandan community. This circus revolves around personalities and is despicable. Am not privy to the UNAA issues, but will only use logic from what I have read above. If we had let Brian serve out his term of 2 years with Kabagambe, would we have reached this stage. What I see here is a pack of selfish individuals joisting for positions. Very sad indeed.




    •  
      Maama wa'baana

      That is how people defended Moses Bukenya thinking that everyone was out to get him until he was caught red handed and he accepted that he stole money from UNAA.
      I will apologize to Brian if indeed the financials come out and show no mischief on his side and his friends.
      I cannot support a non profit organization to be run in such dictatorship. The way he run his campaign is not the way he has governed. He is advised by people who care about themselves only. But of course eventually the truth was going to come out. I am sure members who know a lot will speak up.




  3.  
    joseph Kamugisha

    Thank you Hon. Members of the UNAA BoT. The ruling however long, it was worth the wait. Meanwhile, Shame on you Moses Wilson for you ill advice and contribution to the impending downfall of the organization. As for Brian Kwesiga, what ever happened to your “Good judgment for change? ” What a sad day for UNAA! Kamugisha




  4.  
    Ntambi

    Dr. Farrah Gray
    Asian Interviewer: “Can you address their concerns Mr.Chang?”
    MR. CHANG: “The concerns of Black people? Yes I can. The fact is, that we all live under a system of White Supremacy. We Asian people look back at our long history of conflict with the European. We observe their strategies and develop our own, in response and in kind. There is no need for loud mass movements on our part, because we intend to overtake them in time, through action and personal sacrifice”.
    Asian INTERVIEWER: “And the Black man?”
    MR. CHANG: “He does not count into our situation. He is simply here. We do not hate the Black man. We just love the Asian man most. Real love–not cliche. We want to see Asian man happy, so we employ him. We eat together. We spend time with each other. We want his kids to be educated, so we invest in our own schools that offer our children the technical abilities to change the world’s power structure in our favor. We want to see the Asian man safe, so we purchase and organize our own communities. We want him to remain Asian, so we reduce the outside influence of others ideologies and cultures. While he fought to sniff behind the White man, the Black man has had the opportunity and every right in the world to do the same, but he chooses to indict people like me for not hiring him over my own brothers. For me to do this would be foolish and that would not be Asian love. In contrast, the Black man will fight for the right to be up under everyone else other than other Black people who he should feel the most love for. If our indifference to their situation make us racist, then what would you call the Black man’s indifference to his own situation?




  5.  

    Whats interesting is that Uganda Convention UK folks who have been in existence for just 3 years seem to be miles ahead…They are just even not looking to Uganda but to EA

    http://www.redpepper.co.ug/uganda-uk-convention-to-address-economic-issues/




  6.  
    Joe Paul

    BOT…at the start UNAA or the Executive appears disbanded. At the end, UNAA is still alive under the Constitution ‘violators’! Wasn’t neccesary for the Board to take control tentatively? Also, what does the Constitution provide on those that abuse their offices? I feel a stern action be taken to set a precedence for constitution abusers. Notably, no mention of reinstating those off the UNAAlist!




  7.  

    Fellow Members;

    I hope you are all enjoying the beginnings of Summer with your friends and family. I want to wish you all a healthy and prosperous season.

    I am taking this opportunity to reach out to you about the goings-on in the UNAA Board of Trustees (BOT). To say that I am disappointed by Monday’s statement would be an understatement. Many have asked why I did not attend the Monday June 9th meeting and here is why.

    For months a few BOT members have been meeting and making decisions in secrecy and announcing to you all how unanimously an issue has been voted on. Last night was one of those nights. They want to make you believe that after the meeting on June 9th that ended around 10:30 PM decisions were made and published at 10:38 PM in a 7 page document – How efficient!!

    My message to all you members is to have no confidence in the ability of the BOT as currently constituted to interpret the organization’s constitution objectively.

    My reasons for this conclusion are as follows:

    a). The impression that UNAA’s problems started the moment Brian Kwesiga, became president, is incorrect. These problems can be traced all the way back to the events prior to last year’s (2013) elections where a number of BOT members tried to interfere with the electoral process in a partisan way.

    This was in clear violation of all principles agreed upon by all sitting members of BOT to not only not interfere but also to be non-partisan in regards to UNAA’s politics.

    This rule was blatantly abused before, during and after the elections in Dallas, and is continuing as we speak.

    b). Soon after the Dallas elections; the BOT sat and made a decision to assist the new UNAA leadership in all ways possible to navigate it’s landscape. The BOThad in mind that a new and young crop of leaders was now at the helm of our esteemed organization and need our total support to ensure the long term health of the organization.

    For some strange reason, the BOT’s objectives changed and became one of “taming” these young people and showing them who is really in charge. The idea that the BOT is the most powerful organ in UNAA was mooted by the authors of the new constitution.

    The problem is that UNAA’s constitution does not in any way or form state that The BOT is the most powerful organ in the organization. So to try and exercise powers that it (BOT) does not have is an exercise in delusions of grandeur!

    c). UNAA-Causes: no one should have any doubt as to who is behind UNAA causes; it is the UNAA BOT. Is it a coincidence that after threatening President Brian Kwesiga with the possibility of a rival convention, one came into being literally one month later!

    The reason is very simple; a number of members on the BOT have one and only one objective, to ensure that UNAA-San Diego hosted by the Hyatt Hotel is unsuccessful. That is called sabotage and BOT members are on record saying that they will make sure that the convention organized by Brian Kwesiga and his team is unsuccessful. So the idea that the BOT is trying to save UNAA is as laughable as it is absurd.

    The fact that UNAA Council members infamously known as the C8 are promoting a rival convention is not only treasonous but it is staggering that the BOT has not said a thing. The BOT’s silence on this matter is deafening.

    d). The biggest abusers of the constitution are sadly to say the very framers of the sacred document. Instead of interpreting the Articles as it is written, judgments are made at the whim of political objectives of the day.

    In simple English instead of basing a decision on what the constitution says, decisions are made on what they say it should have said. The question then begs, why is all this selective interpretation of the constitution going on?

    Is it possible that none of the framers really believed in what they were doing in the first place?

    Do they really care about the well-being of our vaunted organization when making decisions in such an unprincipled manner?

    The BOT has made decisions that have no substantive basis in law or in practice.

    e). I can attest to the fact that contrary to the narrative out there, Brian Kwesiga and his Executive made a concerted effort to establish a working relationship with the BOT.

    That hand of friendship was slapped away by very senior members of the BOT, who made matters worse by trying to take over the authority of the Executive which is strictly prohibited by the constitution.

    f). The BOT as a body in carrying out its constitutional duties has done almost nothing since Dallas. Part of its duty requires it to review the constitution, carry out audits of UNAA’s finances and produce the Financial reports for the year 2013.

    To date the BOT has done nothing in that regard as promised. The above duties do not require or if they do, need very little input from the Executive or the Council.

    So how does it explain away the inaction on the part of the BOT?

    As pointed out the BOT’s failure to do its job is being unfairly placed on President Brian Kwesiga. How that makes logical sense only my fellow members on the BOT can explain.

    g). Finances; this a huge area of concern for all and rightly so, the problem is that the BOT is selective in how it plays it’s oversight role.

    At the moment members are clamoring for the 2013 Finances and rightly so. However; are those the only finances missing? There is a huge mystery as to what happened to the 2012 Finances after the BOT promised all the members it would be produced.

    Could the answer to that question lie in the now released 2012 tax filing. Why was there no mention at all in the 7 pages of rambling by the BOT about this tax filing?

    h) Why is there no concern at all on the part of the BOT as to why UNAA’s taxes were not only filed erroneously but illegally? Who authorized their filing and why are members of the BOT shown as the UNAA President, Vice President and Secretary?

    i). Who is Jude Mtungo and when did he become UNAA’s Treasurer? Is he a signatory to any one of UNAA’s accessible bank accounts?

    Furthermore; does Jude Mtungo really exist?

    j). Much has been made to the fact that Brian Kwesiga, is the only signatory of UNAA’s accounts. We all know that that is not true because the Secretary is still a signatory per the Constitution and was never removed.

    What the BOT does not want you to know but was brought to our attention is that Jude Ssempungu is the only signatory to 6 UNAA accounts; access to which he has denied his fellow Executive Committee members.

    The question again is why?????

    The BOT in its infinite wisdoms either chose to skip this fact or did not deem it important enough to tell UNAA’s members yesterday.

    If we passed a new constitution in order to start the organization afresh, it would be unrealistic to expect many of the old leaders who dominant the BOT and the C8 to adhere to new principles that would take the organization to the next level.

    The Young generation should be given a chance to make their mark in which direction the organization should go. After all they are the leaders of today and tomorrow.

    The BOT duty should be one of steady guidance through consultation and not one of interference.

    It is not a crime to reject advice, so the BOT should stop treating President Kwesiga as a criminal just because he did not take their counsel.

    I would like to end by thanking President Kwesiga and his team for keeping the organization together during these challenging times and for leading the local San Deigo committee in organizing the 2014 convention.

    See you all in San Deigo.

    Rosette Serwanga

    UNAA BOT Member

    UNAA President (2003-2005)




  8.  
    Godfrey Kayongo

    Mr Kwesiga shld resign immediately as a matter of urgency. This is a bad précédent he has set in disrespecting the legal arm of the UNAA. We wld like the B.o.D of UNAA to show the kind of leadership they wld hv loved to see shown by the Parliament of Uganda. Show the difference for the young to follow on as an example.




  9.  
    Godfrey Kayongo

    Mr Kwesiga shld resign immediately as a matter of urgency. This is a bad précédent he has set in disrespecting the legal arm of the UNAA. We wld like the B.o.D of UNAA to show the kind of leadership they wld hv loved to see shown by the Parliament of Uganda. Show the difference for the young to follow on as an example.Finally, the B.o.D shld use this incident to put in place robust laws & regulations that shld not allow this to happen agsin in the future. Failure to do this will show an unwillingness for the UNAA to develop. Mistakes can only be appreciated if they used as a lesson for the future. In summary the B.o.D shld ask itself ‘ wht shld we do, wht shld we put in place to ensure this does not happen agsin tommorrow or five yrs frm now’? But first, there’s has to be some resignations to send the msg home.




  10.  
    Barbara Kisakye

    Thank you Rosette for your thought-provoking post. I will never forget the day my husband questioned the UNAA constitution and some of seemingly dictatorial and sneaky ways of the so-called BoT. He was dismissed with such disrespect just because he dared to ask a question. I actually feel sorry for a lot of these struggling souls.




  11.  
    Barbara Kisakye

    Thank you Rosette for your thought-provoking post. I will never forget the day my husband questioned the UNAA constitution and some of the seemingly dictatorial and sneaky ways of the so-called BoT. He was dismissed with such disrespect just because he dared to ask a question. I actually feel sorry for a lot of these struggling souls.




  12.  
    Teresa Swett

    Wonderful! So simple. You touched on a topical issue. I would appreciate if you’d written about how to fill a form online. I am sure at least once in your life you had to fill out a form. I use a simple service http://goo.gl/YXDuya for forms filling. It definitely makes my life easier!





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