When the president's son is under custody

As we are emerging out of the US polls and the post-election vibes, Africa is once again attracting attention on the global media arena.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni’s government has spent $2.3 million to purchase two armoured limousines for the Head of State.

The custom-built Germany-made Mercedes Benz S500 Pullman Guard, took the authorities more than a year to procure in a delicate top-secret process.

The money is enough to build at least 25 medical centres, like that of St Faustina in Lwowo Village, eastern Uganda.

The village, like many in the country, does not have the basic necessities of clean water or electricity, while its people live in mud huts with little in the form of clothing or bedding.

Before this clinic was built by the Global Children Fund in 2009, the people of Lwowo did not have access to a local medical facility.

This scenario in Uganda is the norm rather than the exception with African leaders and their families who have chosen to live a life not befitting a king in today’s standards at the expense of the extremely poor people whom they use to legitimise their being in power by way of democracy.

However, the exception to this rule happened in the tiny Central African Republic where President Francois Bozize ordered police to detain his son for several days for not paying $15,000 hotel bill.

Captain Kevin Bozize is reported to have spent a few days at the five-star hotel which, among other things, has two saunas, two steam baths as well as massage parlours.

His bill, according to police sources, accumulated from accommodation, meals and other services.

AFP reported that when he was asked to pay, Kevin refused and the matter landed at his father’s desk, who in turn ordered that he be detained.

This is one of the pure cases of embezzlement by African leaders and their families regardless of resources being public or private.

Interestingly, however, is how the whole matter has been handled.

Picturing the bureaucracy involved in meeting heads of states, lots of questions arise as to how the bill issue was able to land at the president’s desk and for him to personally take it on by ordering his son detained.

Secondly, how could Kevin be of so much confidence to go to a hotel, spend all that amount of money, and be certain that he could leave without paying a single cent if it was not to his knowledge that his family had most to do with the hotel’s existence?

Much as I commend what President Bozize did, it could have appeared to be a genuine case of a fight against impunity if Kevin could have been subjected to the country’s criminal procedures, just like anybody else who could have consumed services and refused to pay.

As it stands, Kevin’s treatment by his father over a clear matter of trust based theft is a continuation and validation of embezzlement of funds and running of African states as own backyards.

Despite its significant mineral resources; uranium reserves in Bakouma, crude oil, gold, diamonds, lumber, hydropower and its arable land, CAR remains one of the poorest in the world.

Ranked 6th poorest country globally, CAR is reputed to be among the most corrupt. No wonder; President Bozize did not have problems with his son spending $15,000 in  a few days, but not paying the bill.

Email: rnaluyaga@ke.nationmedia.com

Twitter: @RayNaluyaga

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