Africa-Press – Uganda. A woman is crying out to meet President Museveni. She claims that some people in his office have obstructed her from seeing him.
Ms Samali Bamutiire is a former partner of Andrew Lutaakome Kayiira, the leader of Uganda Freedom Movement/Army (UFM/A), and was also a fighter in UFA.
Ms Bamutiire lived with Kayiira in the guerilla camp at Bujuuko on Mityana road.
When the story of her plight was first published in Saturday Monitor on April 15, 2018, Ms Bamutiire says President Museveni expressed interest in talking to her and her sister, Ms Christine Bamutiire. They were taken to meet the President in Jinja.
Ms Bamutiire was jailed in Luzira Prison for 10 years and was only released when Justice Arthur Oder ordered her freed together with her sister and brother for lack of evidence from prosecution. But her brother died three days before their release.
“I know why he [President Museveni] insisted on seeing us alone. When we met him, he told us that some people had told him that we had died. I then told him that he was not speaking to ghosts. At that time, he authorised the staff in his office to give us money as compensation for travelling late at night to see him, but they never gave us any shilling,” Ms Bamutiire says.
Since then, she lists a number of times they have been taken to see the President but did not get the chance to talk to him.
“After talking to us in Jinja, the President promised to see us again. He tasked Ms Milly Babalanda (now minister in-charge of the Presidency) to take us to him. However, every time she took us there, we would sit for hours before being brought into his presence, when he was just about to retire for the day. Of course, he couldn’t talk to us when he was tired and ready to leave Entebbe,” she says.
Ms Bamutiire alleges she was blocked from seeing the President because of feuds between Ms Babalanda and some senior staff in the President’s office.
“Ms Babalanda would take us to the President, but [the private secretary] would keep us waiting for hours. When we were lucky enough to be ushered into the President’s office, it would always be with a group of other petitioners. Whenever he saw us, he would tell his assistants that he wanted to see us alone. One time we were ushered into his office at 11pm, yet we had been there from 7am. He told his assistants to bring us in the morning when he could talk to us alone,” Ms Bamutiire says.
Ms Molly Kamukama, the immediate former Principal Private Secretary to the President, when contacted for the story said she no longer works for the presidency and referred this reporter to her successor, Mr Kenneth Omona.
“Please, I left that office and whatever was not completed can as well be completed by the one who took over. There’s nothing to interview me about an office I no longer work for,” she said.
Ms Bamutiire says Ms Babalanda later advised her to write a letter to the President and include whatever project she wanted him to fund, but she declined to do so.
“I have written so many proposals and never received an answer. So, I got tired of writing proposals. The last time I saw him was in November 2018, at his home in Rwakitura. We were taken to see him very late. He told his assistants to give us Shs1 million each. It took us two weeks of phone calls to receive that money.”
“Recently, in October, I returned to Ms Babalanda’s office and requested her to initiate the process again. I thought that maybe this time I might get lucky to see the President.”
Ms Babalanda says she played her part and forwarded Ms Bamutiire’s request to for a meeting with President Museveni.
“Let her wait for Mzee’s response,” she said.
But Ms Bamutiire says she wants to talk to the President as the father of the nation.
“I know he will understand my problems. We have land in Ggaba, Munyonyo, Buziga, Nalubugo, Nkokonjeru and Mukono, but people have grabbed it. I do not have the power to fight back. He can help us. We are among those who shed blood for this country. Why should we suffer?” she wonders.
Ms Bamutiire’s sister, Christine is now an invalid, after being knocked down by a taxi near Namanve Industrial Park.