News emerged over the weekend that the Commission of Enquiry, instituted by the immediate past – and thanks for that a million many stakeholders say – Tourism Minister Kahinda Otafire has to be funded by UWA, the very body they are to investigate over allegations for misuse of donor funds. Sources within the ministry, now headed by respected Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, claim they are not allowed to speak to the press over this and in fact any issues related to the UWA enquiry, though were willing off the record to say there was no money for the commission’s work in the ministry budget and that the former minister made a mess out of things when dealing with UWA and other sectoral matters like the question of the national museum.
Sources located in Uganda Wild life Authority and former staff however pointed out to this correspondent that UWA could not legally fund such expenditure under its own terms and regulations, a statement which might need further investigation to ascertain the facts here, but the sources were adamant that it was the ministry to provide the funding as it was the minister who instituted the commission as well as prior ‘kangaroo courts’ as several of them, in addition to previous stakeholder sentiment, put it. Yet it was also confirmed that UWA had in the past yielded to political pressures from its oversight ministry and had funded various elements of expenditure for ministry officials like travel and transportation, to which – needless to say – no comments were received, itself a deafening statement. In closing it is understood also that the new Minister Prof. Kamuntu is trying to repair the damage done by his predecessor and steer UWA into calmer waters, while also attempting to obtain additional funding for the Uganda Tourist Board, which in comparison with regional promotional efforts by Rwanda and Kenya is lagging severely behind in activities due to lack of money, which caused outraged stakeholder to start complaining to several levels in government in order to find a short, medium and long term solution to the chronically financial starvation the sector’s primary marketing body has suffered.