State Minister for Finance in charge of Investments and Privatization, Evelyn Anite
Junior Finance Minister in Charge of Investment and Privatization Hon Evelyn Anite on Saturday stopped short of naming what she says is the head of a clandestine group of people in government that has been fighting her over her involvement in the administration of the troubled Uganda Telecom Ltd.
This mafia group, as the minister calls it, she says entails a number of individuals with powerful positions in government, who are working hard and boldly to run the government owned telecom into the ground, and position themselves to acquire its vast assets which include large chunks of land.
In her efforts to save the company, Anite recently claimed that the mafia group had put a target on her head.
“These mafias are not jokers,” she told press on August 19th. “Go and ask Abiriga. I will die while shouting that the mafias are coming until they take me down. They follow me and they are tapping my phone. You know the mafias, those who have been trying to block the audit.”
Speaking today on the Capital Gang talk show, Minister Anite said the group operates like a cartel, as it is “seriously organized and recruits.”
While she has restrained herself for weeks from naming any names, Anite during the talk show appeared to drop hints about members of this group.
One such, who she described as the “chief mafia,” she said has multiple wives.
“I don’t blame (this man),” she said. “When you have so many wives, you have to feed them. And it is not wrong to feed them but it is very wrong to want to feed them with tax payers money.”
According to the minister, members of this group are not only at the Finance Ministry where she works, but also in cabinet and have been wielding their official powers to block her moves.
At one point, she says, she confronted some of them in front of the president during cabinet, as they tried to block a report from the Financial Intelligence Agency (which came out against Taleology Holdings Ltd, a Nigerian firm that the group were fronting as the strategic partner to buy into the company)
“When I arrived in cabinet, the forces started mobilizing, and I told the president, that ‘so and so is a member of cabinet he is conflicted, he cannot participate in this debate.’
The group, she says also put up a spirited fight to stop an internal audit that was directed by the president.
“The number one senior mafia in the ministry, started intimidating the auditor that I appointed, saying he must resign or allow him to choose who would sit on the audit team.”
“In the meantime, the chief mafia started mobilizing other government agencies to go to court to block the audit. He went to URA, NSSF and Post Bank but they all refused and he zeroed on UBC.”
UBC’s petition at the High Court was able to stop the internal audit, which has been running for a week.
The court however, ordered the government Auditor General to commence his own audit into UTL, which is still running.
Minister Anite says President Yoweri Museveni is aware of her troubles and she believes he will eventually prevail over her enemies.
“I went to the President of Uganda and even cried out loud in front of him; I told him how they had ganged up against me and how they wanted to finish me.”
“He told me, ‘are you a Christian? Go and read Matthew 5:10,’ which says happy are those who fight for the righteous for the Kingdom of God is theirs”.
“He therefore gave me the energy which helped me to come out and start fighting the mafia.”
Meanwhile, during the talk show, Minister Anite sought to clarified on the controversial comments she made back in 2017 during the Presidential Amendment debate in which she bragged to her opposition colleagues about having the support of the military.
“You cannot intimidate a ruling party. For them they are looking for support, but we are not. We are the party in government; we have the support of the majje (military),” she said in September 2017.
In hindsight, the minister says the opposition and media could have read too much into her remarks
“You need to forget about that statement and try to understand why I said it,” she said.
“What I said was, you cannot tell us that we must not debate and yet we are elected leaders. These people were saying ‘if you touch the constitution we will kill you.’ There were death threats sent to our phones, and I said if that is going to be the case, we will have the support of the Majje, once we come under attack. I didn’t mean that the army would come and beat them. Now if you saw the army beating, it was not Anite who said they should beat.”