Ugandans in North America under their umbrella body UNAA have confirmed they picked Shs380million ($100,000), an annual gift from President Museveni.
The money, which is an annual contribution from President Museveni to the group was applied for by the UNAA president citing that members needed support during COVID pandemic times.
The letter which expressed doubts about holding annual UNAA convention provided justification that the amount is channeled to support Ugandan Communities in the USA. Especially those negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nile Post published an article confirming that the money was received by UNAA and Shs3.7m ($1000) set aside to distribute to different communities, an amount that was rejected by some communities.
However, while many communities urged UNAA to return the money to Uganda where locals would need it more, UNAA Executive went further to insist on distributing it and further using the balance to organize a zoom convention following another rejection by members to hold a physical convention in San Francisco.
In a video released yesterday, UNAA Executive Secretary Lambert Etibot dismissed reports that UNAA received money from Uganda for Covid-19 relief efforts, but at the same time maintained the Association received $100,000 half of which should be used to organize the convention.
“We did not receive any money from Uganda, it is not true we received $100,000 (Shs380m) for COVID-19 relief, the money we got is what usually comes and $50,000 goes to communities while $50,000 goes to organizing the convention,” Etibot claimed.
While Etipot claims the money received was not for COVID-19 relief, a letter dated April 15, 2020, UNAA president Henrietta Wamala states that the Council empowered her to request that the fund from Museveni be transferred towards COVID relief to member communities
“I have been empowered by the UNAA Council to request these funds be transferred to the UNAA treasury because of various requests from the communities that approached UNAA to help their community members that had been affected in various ways because of the COVID-19 pandemic such as food needs, housing, essential supplies, etc,” Wamala noted.
Wamala also contacted Uganda’s Head of Mission of the USA, ambassador Mull Katende who agreed to the plan.
It is not clear, therefore, why Etipot continues to deny that money was picked and passed a COVID-19 relief fund, despite the evidence filed by the President and the Ambassador Katende.
Regarding the Convention, Etibot said members should be ready to participate in the first online UNAA convention.
“It depends on how you define what a convention is, there are so many ways we can socialize. This is what we discussed as an executive and this is probably what we are still going to base on to determine how to proceed. We will communicate this in a week or so,” he said.
Questions still linger on why UNAA insists on the convention, a source in Boston confirms to Nile Post that the convention is a point for accountability.
“How else will they explain what the money was used for? A convention must be somewhere and then the numbers will be easy to add up. They will say we gave 50,000 to communities to fight COVID and the 50,000 we spent on technology and paying services for the Zoom convention,” the source said preferring anonymity.