The President of Ugandans in North America Association (UNAA), Mr Monday Atigo insists that the associations Board of Trustees (BOT) which is chaired by Dr Joseph Buwembo is illegally constituted.
Mr Atigo last week disbanded Mr Buwembo’s board claiming they were undermining the confidence in the organisation and “causing more harm than good.”
However, Mr Buwembo in reply said Mr Atigo has no authority to disband the UNAA board because he is not constitutionally recognised as the association’s president.
In a January 19 letter to Mr Atigo shortly after he announced that he had disbanded the board, Mr Buwembo said: “The current UNAABOT members’ term of office expires in April 2018. A UNAA president has no constitutional powers or right to summarily disband the BOT. I also need to remind you, Mr Atigo, that constitutionally you are not the President and CEO of UNAA at this time, instead you are a presidential candidate.”
“UNAA recognizes Mr John Julius Muwulya as the interim president until the by-election occurs, at which time the elected individual will be sworn in as the president of UNAA,” Buwembo added.
In a reply later, Mr Atigo further hit back at the board claiming they lacked an understanding of the constitution they quote. He then threatened to have then withdrawn from the Association as well.
“They are not fit to have been BOT members to begin with. They have demonstrated a lack of understanding of the Organisation’s secret document, organisational operations. They have also exercised poor judgment and interpretation of the very constitution that they are supposed to interpret.”
“They have created confusion among our members and sponsors thereby causing potential financial loss to the organisation. This behaviour calls for revoking their membership to UNAA as well,” he added.
Mr David Musinguzi, the Board Secretary would later confirm that Mr Atigo has been stripped of all UNAA effects including UNAA records, bank accounts, even the credit cards were canceled.
He said the authority now shifts to Julius Muwulya who was initially Atigo’s deputy.
On whether the current board is illegal as Atigo claims, Mr Musinguzi said that the BOT can not be illegal since it was nominated by Mr Atigo in his prior capacity as Vice President.
“The current BoT was selected and appointed when Atigo was Vice President. He endorsed and vetted each and every member of the BoT. And as President he attended our meetings, and reported to us without fail … until we dropped that fateful resolution. You can clearly see how hypocritical and childish his claim is,” Mr Musinguzi said.
“If the BOT is illegal as Atigo claims, why did he not kick them out earlier before this fracas?” he added.
However, Mr Atigo claims that the BOT members were nominated by then President of the association, Mr Brian Kwesiga.
“I did not nominate them. The then President who happens to be Kwesiga cunningly brought them in through the back door. We trusted that he had done his due diligence as President but we were fooled,” Mr Atigo said.
“It’s illegal because as we all now know, not all of them met the requirement of having been UNAA members in good standing for 5 consecutive years preceding their appointment. It should also be noted that he (Brian the then President) had orchestrated the firing of the then treasurer (Mr. Jude Ssempungu) and therefore he was the only one with access to check whether these individuals were indeed members in good standing for the required period,” Atigo added.
However, when contacted Mr Kwesiga said said Atigo participated in the nomination process.
“Mr. Atigo was the Vice President at the time (2013-15) and participated in the nomination – so really this is the height of hypocrisy on his part. Then another member of the board, was actually nominated and appointed by Mr. Atigo after he was already President,” Mr Kwesiga said.
Mr Kwesiga however conceded that members that were nominated on the board did not meet the requirements hence illegal.
“Technically Yes they are illegal, but it’s more complicated than this…The constitution says that at least two of the five trustees have to be from Canada, and that all trustees must have been members for five consecutive years. The problem with Canada is we don’t have UNAA Members who meet those strict requirements – since most of the UNAA Membership is in the USA. That is how illegal members come in,” he said.
UNAA is the oldest Ugandan diaspora association and they have earned recognition and sponsorship from government to the tune of $100,000 (380m) annually. However, the group has failed to operate amicably as with each year passing, they disagree over one matter or another.