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Press Release | UNAA Council of Representatives | Call To Action to Save Association

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Posted July 22, 2014 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in UNAA ~ 3,340 views

     

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Dear friends,

As a leader it’s always difficult to deliver a message of gloom to your constituents and sponsors. It’s more convenient to sing a tune of hope that all is going well and that indeed the gas tank is full to get your passengers to their destination even when you are well aware that you are driving on empty. The statement recently published by UNAA President Brian Kwesiga denouncing the UNAA Board of Trustees, UNAA founders and Council Representatives is a classic case of a leader relying on deception to confuse the public while shifting attention away from being caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Deception and lies from our leaders become powerful when people are willing to believe them with no questions asked. We encourage all those who care about UNAA to look at the facts outlined, get informed, and contribute towards the journey of rebranding the association which unites Ugandans in North America and the diaspora.

The UNAA Council which is the voice of the people  came to office with a mandate to clean UNAA of  corruption, incompetence, and mismanagement which have over the years led to the exodus of our members. We clearly understood that challenging the old guard  hiding under the umbrella of youthful leadership would not be popular since they continue to benefit financially and in kind at the expense of  UNAA.  Considering the fact that UNAA is beneficiary to an annual contribution of $20,000 in taxpayers money  from the Uganda government and more from hard working Ugandans in the Diaspora, we believe that transparency and accountability is a cause worth fighting for. This is the State of UNAA:

  • UNAA is currently being operated without a budget.
  • UNAA has a select group of unelected individuals and others posing as Directors conducting association business without oversight and accountability.
  • UNAA’s Council is being undermined by the Executive, access to leadership accounts revoked by Timothy Gaburungi and membership benefits stripped by the UNAA Executive.
  • The elected UNAA Treasurer Mr. Jude Ssempungu was dismissed from his duties without due process by the UNAA President Brian Kwesiga under the recommendation of Moses Wilson.
  • The UNAA Board of Trustees as an institution is currently under attack and all their recommendations and rulings have been ignored by Brian Kwesiga and his Executive.
  • Since the UNAA treasurer has been dismissed, numerous Debit cards linked to UNAA Bank accounts and uncertainty regarding the logging of transactions in the association financial records, it can be stated that we don’t know where each dollar that leaves the pockets of hard working Ugandans goes and who is handling it.
  • UNAA members who publicly disagree or criticize the conduct of Mr. Brian Kwesiga and his executive have been stripped of their UNAA membership benefits and dismissed from the association communication lists.
  • UNAA has been committed to numerous contracts and financial obligations without approval and required oversight mandated by the UNAA Constitution.
  • To sum this up, UNAA’s electoral process, finances and leadership organs are in shambles.

We shall take a step back and  remind members the root cause of the current crisis in UNAA. The UNAA Council filed a petition on September 18th 2013 with the Board of Trustees inquiring about the identity and legitimacy of Rahim Kabagambe as a legally elected Council member. With full knowledge of UNAA’s history of election controversies, it was a red flag to have a newly elected Council member who was not only absent at the UNAA elections in Dallas, but had also never attended or participated in any UNAA events. As a result, an investigation was conducted by the UNAA Board of Trustees and Electoral Commission.

“Summary and decision of the UNAABOT: (By Chairman UNAA BOT Dr. Muniini Mulera dated September 23,  2013)

1.   Mr. Rahim Kabagambe was not a UNAA member in good standing before the deadline for candidate registration on August 15, 2013;

2.   Mr. Rahim Kabagambe’s nomination as candidate was irregular, fraudulent and therefore not valid;

3.   Mr. Rahim Kabagambe’s election and declaration as Male Youth Representative for Canada was not valid.

Empowered by Article 5:2(e) and Article 9:9 of the UNAA Constitution, the UNAABOT finds that Mr. Rahim Kabagambe’s nomination as candidate for UNAA Council was not valid.

In a 6-1 vote, the UNAABOT nullifies Mr. Rahim Kabagambe’s election to the UNAA Council as Male Youth Representative for Canada.  Any UNAA Council action, decision or vote in which Mr. Kabagambe participated is hereby nullified.”

“Summary and statement from UNAA Electoral Commission (By Chairman of the UNAA E.C Rev Sam Mutyaba dated October 4, 2013)

2. Was Mr. Kabagambe a member in Good standing by the time of his candidacy?

Answer: As per Electoral Commission requirements he was not.

·         He was neither on the Voters list nor the UNAA members list.

·         There was no official document at all that we could look at to establish his membership.

·         We depended on a word of mouth from the UNAA secretary that he was a member in good standing.

·         Some EC members had wanted us to verify the members register but we thought it was too big a job for us in the little time we had. We hoped that the information from the secretariat would be enough.

·         It turns out that Mr. Kabagambe had sent his membership payment to the treasurer Mr. Bukenya who was not in office. The first communication about his membership payment came from Mr. Kwesiga Aug. 17, 2013 after the deadline as per our guidelines.

·         Since there is no written official communication from the secretary to the EC by Aug. 15, 2013 clearing Mr. Kabagambe as a member in good standing it was a mistake on our side clearing him for candidacy. We were wrong. Please accept our apology.”

The above findings from the UNAABOT and Electoral Commission concluded that Rahim should not be on the Council and also revealed the rot within UNAA’s Electoral process. The report also highlighted that UNAA President Brian Kwesiga and Timothy Gaburungi played a key role in  securing Rahim’s name on the ballot and UNAA membership list past the mandated deadline. As a result of being implicated in the electoral scandal to swing the Council in his favor, the UNAA President ridiculed the Electoral Commission’s report and dismissed the rulings of the UNAABOT. It is rather perplexing that Brian Kwesiga in his statement cites convention registration numbers, a history of UNAA break off groups and his age as an explanation for his involvement in election malpractice, linking unknown debit cards on UNAA’s bank account and dismissing the oversight constitutional responsibilities  of the Board of Trustees and Council.

We on the UNAA Council abide by the constitution to the letter and will not do the UNAA Executive favors until they respect and abide by the laws and regulations that govern our association. Tinkering with political offices for personal gain is something that we have seen too often and shall not condone. The Council has to be an independent organ and cannot execute our mandated role while we have unelected members recruited to rubber stamp any agenda without due process. The UNAA Council has been very transparent in our actions and for the first time in UNAA history we hosted Town hall meetings to engage, answer questions, seek guidance and directly be accountable to our constituents.We shall continue to engage with our local communities and execute mandated duties in our various regions.

The UNAA Council stands by the recommendations and constitutional responsibilities of the UNAA Board of Trustees. We did not set out to boycott our responsibilities as elected Council representatives but instead chose to work within the framework of the UNAA constitution. Petitions were filed as required to the UNAABOT who are the supreme arbiters of our association. UNAA Causes is a grassroots UNAA member’s pressure group  that emerged after the UNAA President declared that the Board of Trustees and Electoral Commission’s rulings did not apply to him and his Executive. Through UNAA Causes, members have been able to: (1) Address and fundraise for causes in the Ugandan community such as Cancer awareness (2) Organise the Uganda festival and community events that are affordable to our members (3) Create an environment free of censorship and welcoming Ugandans irrespective of their backgrounds and demographics (4)Demand financial accountability and integrity of UNAA’s organs and Constitution.

In order to move forward, we make the following recommendations:

  • The UNAA President reaffirms his commitment to respect and uphold the UNAA Constitution.
  • Rahim Kabagambe who was not elected to the Council as confirmed by Electoral Commission and UNAABOT investigation stops participating in official UNAA Council business.
  • The elected UNAA treasurer Jude Ssempungu has his powers and responsibilities restored.
  • UNAA members are offered a complete report and guidelines reaffirming where their money goes, who has access to organization bank accounts and maintains financial records.
  • The UNAA Council is allowed to operate and  independently choose its leadership team.
  • All positions of Directors are vetted and confirmed by the UNAA Council as mandated by the constitution.
  • The Council approves the association’s annual budget, policies and legally binding commitments as mandated by the UNAA constitution.

We shall continue to fight for the integrity of UNAA and would like to extend our appreciation to all members who have been able to step up and make  their voices heard as we push for  a “bigger, better and stronger”future for our  association. Looking forward to meeting you all in San Diego at the Marriott La Jolla Hotel at the UNAA festival.  To register, go to unaacauses.org.

Sincerely,

Your UNAA Council Representatives.

 

Mr. Awichu Akwanya, Council Member, South Pacific Region 2, USA

Dr. Daniel Kawuma, Council Member, Mid-Atlantic Region 2, USA

Mr. Edriss Kironde, Council Member, Rocky Mountains Region, USA

Mr. Victor Lukandwa, Council Member, Great Lakes Region, USA

Mr. Ken Ddamba, Council Member, New England Region, USA

Ms. Haira Nalugemwa, Council Membe, Youth, Canada

Mr. Andrew Ssembuusi, Council Member, Mountain Region, Canada

Ms. Becky Wamala-Brown, Council Member, South Pacific Region 1, USA

 

Contact: message@UNAACouncil.org

 

Disclaimer — The statement above is not a endorsement of any group but was a press release emailed to Ugandan Diaspora News Online. We therefore encourage community membership to read widely and make an informed decision on what convention or festivities to attend in San Diego come labor day weekend. In all fairness we shall also publish a statement from the current UNAA Executive that seeks to clarify on the above points raised for our readers. Please be also advised that Ugandan Diaspora News will attend and report on all communities events during the labor day weekend holiday in San Diego.


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.

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