The Incumbent Denies Misappropriation Claim by “Political Opponents”
The Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) President which will be held on September 3rd, 2017 in Miami FL, has been marked by discord as the misappropriation claim being fronted by only opponent against Monday Atigo, the incumbent, has ticked the latter.
The claim issued by Dr Daniel Kawuma’s team, alleges that Atigo has always been involved in diverting UNAA funds to personal business on various occasions.
But Atigo says, those allegations are false. In a 12-minute video recording posted on Facebook on July 24, 2017 by his team, a tough-talking and fluent Atigo deniesany wrong-doing during his tenure in office, thus dismissing it as a gimmick by his “political opponents.”
Kawuma’s team had earlier alleged that among others, Atigo spent UNAA funds to the tune of $95 on February7th (2017) forhis personal business.
In his video, Atigo said assured “gallant” UNAA membership that their funds were intact, thus offering a detailed accountability of the association’s funds.
“It’s a campaign season, and we know tensions are high, everyone is trying to use every opportunity available and make it political.UNAA funds are intact; every penny is being accounted for no one is misusing funds,” said Atigo, reminding the association that “we ran on that precedent of being financially transparent.”
By the time Atigo assumed UNAA presidency in 2015, the members had got sick and tired of nontransparent leaderships that could not account for their funds.
“So, gallant member of UNAA, it has been brought to my attention that apparently, I spent UNAA funds specifically on February7th where my political opponent claims I spent $95 in 5 cents.” Atigo said amid explaining his expenditures.
“UNAA has been working so diligently especially with the help of the executive and other stakeholders to transition from a 3-day weekend convention to being involved in our communities and doing things beyond the convention.” Atigo said.
He explained that in so doing, they have partnered with various organizations such as the “Uganda Fistula Fund” and numerous “hospitals” back in Uganda.
“For example, last year  after the convention, UNAA managed in partnership with Coca-Cola and the Speaker of Parliament [Rebecca Kadaga] to ship medical equipment worth $1.5M [about Shs 540M],” Atigo said that all this achievement came about because of the “folks” who have been working with him to ensure that “we can secure this medical equipment.”
After explaining his February17 2016 lunch with his friend from American Hospital, Atigo revealed that the medical equipment was distributed in the remote Ugandan districts of; Kalangala, Kakuuto both in Central region and Kamuli, the eastern District where Kadaga hails from.
“These equipment were distributed by the speaker of Parliament herself…these are some of the things that we do in our communities that people never talk about.” Atigo said.
He thus justified the expense being paraded by his rivals, saying that “we incur some expenses just like the one I incurred on Febuary7th of $95 and 36 cents which could potentially yield medical equipment that could potentially go and help our people back home.”
The other expense that is being paraded online, Atigo said is for February 17th.
“Between 17th-21st February, 2017, I spent a total of $112 [Shs 403,200] of UNAA funds. It came about in buying fuel to drive myself and the executive secretary to go Texas where we were going for a fundraiser by the Uganda Fistula Fund and this is intended to build a Fistula hospital in Soroti [district]. We have a campaign going on in UNAA to buy a brick and that money goes towards fundraising for building this hospital.” Atigo added that “actually, we used secretary’s personal vehicle… and we are able to fundraise $15,000 (Shs 54M) out of $112.”
He went on another issue which related to the “withdrawal of $300 (Shs 1,080,000M) [from UNAA account]” on March 17, 2017 he said that “We have lost members from UNNA, each time we lose a member, UNAA has made it an obligation to contribute $300 [and] that is what that money went to. The one I have not seen is another $300that was withdrawn in June as part of what reported by my political opponent.”
He wondered how his opponent could chose to turn prudent causes towards addressing the plight of Ugandans “political” when they still have to conduct UNAA business.
Lastly, he touched on his recent visit to Uganda saying that “most of you have seen me in Uganda the last four weeks on UNAA in Uganda, what I have not seen being reported is saying that Atigo spent $1,400 (Shs 5,040,000) on an airline ticket to go to Uganda.”
“I have personally spent close to $4000 (Shs 14,4M) [during]] the four weeks I was in Uganda in airline ticket, my accommodation, my feeding, my transportation upcountry and you saw what UNAA was doing in communities giving out mattresses starting from Kasangati, Nakasongola, Wabwoke to Mayuge,” he said, “none of these has been expensed to UNAA [but} personal funds to do the good work of UNNA because signed up to this and this is what I love to do…”
He revealed that during this visit, he was able to meet various officials in Uganda including President Museveni, PrimeMinister Ruhakana Rugunda, ministers, permanent secretaries and others to talk issues relating the relevancy of UNAA in driving the Country’s development as other Countries’ diaspora communities have been doing.
“…How do we congregate the Diaspora desks into one and create a directorate of Diaspora affairs like Ethiopia did in 2002…” Atigo said.
He concluded by urging UNAA members to shun such baseless claims, and concentrate on putting the members, country “first” and work for “our children grand children and actually, focus on issues that really impact change.”
He vowed “never [to] use UNNA funds for personal business.”