Former Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Customs Commissioner Dicksons Kateshumbwa aka Katesh has announced his intentions to contest for Sheema Municipality Parliamentary seat come 2021-26. Below is the option of who Katesh is!!
By Mesharch Katusiimeh
I have been compelled to come out and write this article because of the negative mudslinging especially targeting Mr. Dickson Kateshumbwa one of the leaders of our generation. For starters, negative mudslinging is the process of deliberate spreading negative information about someone to worsen his public image. Of late in Sheema Municipality, negative mudsling is referred to as “spraying sadoline”. They say: Kateshumbwa is a corrupt man; Kateshumbwa was chased from URA; Kateshumbwa has never done anything good for Sheema, Kateshumbwa has no leadership experience to mention but a few etc. I have been through such mudslinging before for those who follow Sheema politics and I wouldn’t like anyone I know to be unfairly treated and hence the inspiration of this article.
For us, who have studied and worked closely with Dickson Kateshumbwa on development projects and closely observed his career rising in ranks up to the prestigious level as Chairman World Customs Organization Council, it is only right and proper to respond to such accusations formally and straighten out his record. When someone speaks bad about another and especially to a person you know well it can only be proper to come out and put the record straight to his face so people realize he is a liar. Among the 10 commandments God gave to Moses, there is one “thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”. It is the ninth commandment which politicians abuse yet they parade themselves as upright Christians. Politics is not a dirty game. It is the dirty politicians that we elect that make politics dirty.
Politics is the highest form of public service
Kateshumbwa resigned his position in URA and his resignation was gladly accepted. In human resource terms, employees are entitled by law to terminate their employment at any time, so long as they give notice in accordance with statute and with any terms regarding notice contained within their contracts of employment. Provided such notice is properly given, an employer cannot lawfully refuse to accept an employee’s resignation. This is what happened with Dickson Kateshumbwa. In Uganda, if one wants to join politics and he or she is a public servant, he has to resign. Resigning and joining politics immediately is a good thing because it means you will want to serve the public directly. Politics is the highest form of public service. Probably Kateshumbwa having had worked in senior positions at URA for more than 15 years including as Commissioner Customs for five years and having been part of the team that transformed URA, this was the time to give way and try his talents elsewhere. Many have done it before. I was Vice Chancellor Ankole Western University and resigned to join politics in 2018. Just recently Rosemary Nyakikongoro resigned her prestigious position as Judicial Service Commissioner to try her luck in politics once again, the same thing with Mr. Mutabwire who was Ag Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government and many others.
Corruption is punishable by law
It is laughable for those who say Kateshumbwa is corrupt. Corruption is punishable by law and many have been prosecuted. And if Kateshumbwa had issues with URA they would not have accepted his resignation. He would have been arraigned in court. Some people even quote President Museveni speaking in general times how he is cleaning up public organizations with corrupt people. This is what the president has been saying for some time and may not even be related to Kateshumbwa’s resignation. In the era of social media, some unscrupulous people will even accuse you of owning heaven and earth like I see those accusing the likes Diana Atwine Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Minister Molly Kamukama Former Principal Private Secretary and now Dickson Kateshumbwa.
What is Kateshumbwa’s record in supporting development projects?
The same liars say that Kateshumbwa has never done anything for Sheema. Well, at least since 2001 I have been involved in almost all development projects in Sheema. I can only talk about what I know. As former VC Ankole Western University, I know Kateshumbwa as among the top 10 biggest donors of Ankole Western University – the treasured project in Sheema. Records are there. Mr Kateshumbwa has been a major pillar involved in planning for the revival of our schools especially Nganwa High School and Masheruka Secondary School. Due to past governance and management failures, most schools virtually collapsed and it has been very painfully in trying to get them back to normal. Dickson Kateshumbwa in his strategic position in URA, has helped not only Nganwa High School but almost all other public schools in Sheema in trying to negotiate with URA in dealing with tax arrears. 2 years ago, he repainted the whole of Nganwa Junior School – one of the leading public primary schools in Sheema District. There is almost no church project that Kateshumbwa has not contributed to if he was invited. Ask the Chairperson Sheema Development Agency and he will tell about the fundraising projects organized and supported by Dickson Kateshumbwa to the benefit of the local person in Sheema.
Why he has not been publicizing such giving?
He knows why but the bible tell us in Mathew 6: 2-3 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”….. “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hands know what your right hand is doing”.
His experience in politics and leadership
His experience in leadership started way back at Nganwa Junior School. He was a Deputy Head prefect at Nganwa High School and at A –Level, Deputy Head boy at Ntare School. In India, where he did his graduate and undergraduate studies, he was the Chair Uganda India Students Association. It is therefore not surprising that he has risen through the ranks to head national, regional, continental and global bodies even at a relatively young age.
Message to the young people
What is disheartening, are the youth who may not know some of these facts and without doing research, they post on social media what has been told them by politicians who don’t mind much about the legacy they leave behind. It would be more useful for young people to study closely the career of some people and try to be close to people like Kateshumbwa and many others to be inspired and be like them in future instead of engaging in negativity. In reality, negative campaigning can work, but then again so does cheating on a test. You might win the office, but you will unfortunately be causing more harm than good.We need to protect our youthful politicians especially those beginning to make inroads into formal politics in Uganda.
To the youth, avoid being used in spreading falsehoods. Let those who want to use you negatively build your capacity instead of pushing you to confront people that can be of use to you and the next generation. The leadership is afraid of young people like Kateshumbwa. They feel he is a danger and not an opportunity. A wave of young politicians and activists are challenging incumbents across much of Sheema district, reflecting seismic shifts that are poised to dramatically change the lives of hundreds of people in Sheema and beyond. The new progressive generations of politicians are in their mid-30s and early 40s. Often educated and focused, they are at the intersection of massive changes that will strengthen development initiatives in Sheema in decades to come. Beware that this new generation faces significant resistance from incumbents, who are older and have entrenched systems of patronage that have captured massive resources. It is important that those standing at lower levels either as councilors or as Mayors of different divisions align themselves with the new thinking not the old thinking of politicians who are bent on using old tactics of dividing people to benefit themselves at the people they purportedly serve.
What are the advantages to Kateshumbwa’s candidature?
There are many advantages to Dickson Kateshumbwa’s candidature. He is more exposed with global networks and he is very experienced in leadership and management. People tend to think Kateshembwa has amassed wealth which is not true. But instead Kateshumbwa has amassed friends in different corporate organizations. His career has produced innumerable memorable moments, and anyone with whom he has served has a favorite. Of recent his many friends, have donated to him so many items including food to donate to the suffering people in Sheema affected by COVID-19. This is the category of friends that may be useful to lobby for jobs and other opportunities for the unemployed youth and development projects for Sheema Municipality.
What are the attributes that make Kateshumbwa stand out?
1. He believes in unity in diversity. He stands above any specific religious or political views. I believe he will work with the intention of good-for-all.
2. He doesn’t seek fame and attention: He is not egoistic and does not have that primitive need for power, attention, or establishing his personal agendas like the politicians we see nowadays.
3. He is flexible and a very good listener.
4. Humility. He will not make idealistic promises but realistic ones and is a man of his words.
5. He is confident in himself as well his ability to lead. He has the quality to inspire others.
6. Compassionate. Due to his humble background, he has the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something to alleviate that suffering. At Nganwa Junior School, he was selling pancakes to his fellow pupils including myself to get school fees. He truly understands what it means to be poor and how one can uplift himself from poverty.
7. Accessibility. He is accessible. Even when he has been extremely busy as Commissioner URA and whether in the country or abroad and has difficulties in responding to calls and messages to him, Dickson Kateshumbwa could always try to call back in case of missed calls or respond to a message by SMS or whatsapp.
8. Does not make himself look good by assaulting others. He does not take others down for himself to go up. He is more of a collaborator than a competitor. He tries to build bridges rather than destroy them. He is a natural mediator rather than one that creates conflict, tension, and separation.