Uganda's Deputy Ambassador to Australia, Enoch Nkuruho, has denied reports that he took leave from his official job to join President Yoweri Museveni's campaign.
Speaking at his home in Kyeitembe in Bushenyi, Nkuruho admits to holding meetings with politicians in his house. However he insists that this doesn't constitute campaigning for President Museveni or for any of the National Resistance Movement candidates in Bushenyi district.
Nkuruho says he is aware of the law barring civil servants from participating in partisan politics and he is steering clear of this controversy. He claims that the meetings he has held are not political, but are aimed at encouraging the people of his area to participate in government programs like the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS).
The rumors about the Deputy Ambassador's political involvements come in the wake of a scandal involving the distribution of 20 million shillings to Members of Parliament to monitor NAADS programs in their constituencies. Some MPs returned the money, convinced it was a bribe to sway their allegiance in the coming elections.
The importance of the Deputy Ambassador's clarification on his political involvement is important for the people of Bushenyi who are concerned about the public involvement of civil servants in the ongoing campaigns.
The district NRM office, for instance, is under fire for involving two government-paid secondary school teachers on its executive committee. The teachers – Mutesasira Kaganizo of Ruyonza School and Elly Muhwezi of Kyabugumbi Secondary School – are openly campaigning for the NRM by participating in political radio talk shows and making speeches at rallies.
Natamba Njoki, the NRM Bushenyi spokesperson, says the party office is aware of the conflict. He says it is in the process of sorting it out.
The NRM district party treasurer, Jennina Kagwa, says one of the teachers, Elly Muhwezi, informed them that he is not on the government payroll and so cannot be subjected to laws restricting his open political involvement. However information from the local government payroll indicate that Muhwezi is a government-paid Grade Five teacher.
Mutesasira Kaganizo says it is his right to work in the campaigns. He says parliament has misinterpreted the law barring civil servants from partisan politics and he intends to continue with his activity.