By Kagenyi Lukka
The World Bank has spoken out on the unfortunate remarks attributed to Anne Kabagambe, the executive director of the global bank for Africa Group, siding with Ugandan businessman, Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia.
According to David Theis, the spokesperson for the president of the World, the bank has distanced itself, saying board members report to their central or finance ministries.
In his reply to Sudhir, which we have seen, Theis said: “To be clear, as you can see below this board member did tweet out that her account has been hacked and she denied her association with any of the comments. Our board members report to their central banks/ or finance ministries. Management does not have any purview over Executive Directors, as they are not staff.”
A statement attributed to Kabagambe, where she accuses Sudhir of engineering the exit of former deputy governor of Bank of Uganda, has caused a storm within the financial sector and social media, with some actors calling for her resignation over racism undertones.
“The Indian Sudhir lobbied him out of office,” Anne Kabagambe, the Executive Director at the World Bank for Africa Group, said her in a tweet, which many have not only described as “ridiculous” and “below the belt” for a lady high in the top brass of the Bretton Woods institution.
One of the think tanks on economics and finance replied Kabagambe , calling her coments “unfortunate”.
“Very unfortunate of you Kabagambe, a high level World Bank official, using such clearly racist comments against Sudhir. Does World Bank condone such?” The think tank officials said in their commentary about Kabagambe’s remarks.
For starters, by virtue of her World Bank job, Kabagambe, directly supervises works in constituency countries such as Botswana, Burundi, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In his modest response on twitter, Sudhir said: “What a racists? Yet working as director at the World Bank. Feather of the same bird.”
These unfortunate remarks by Kabagambe beg a question as to why a lady of such repute can stoop so low and accuse a citizen, who is remotely connected to the daily affairs of Bank of Uganda, of influencing the departure of someone whose contract had clearly come to an end!
Worse still, she fails to respect her World Bank stature, and goes native by invoking a racial card, describing Sudhir, a Ugandan of respected commercial prowess and immense contribution to the economic development as an “Indian”, forgetting the historical perspective of how Ugandans of Asian origin became citizens of this great Pearl of Africa, Uganda!
Why play a racial card? Is Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia part of the appointing authority echelons in this country?
What drives your unfounded claims, madam Kabagambe?
In fact one Ugandan, responding to her rabid and unfortunate commentary, said: “This mortification, I didn’t expect you at your high ranking position to sniff your nose in Bank of Uganda dirty games, May be you are part of the game. Employ him at the World Bank. Why involve Sudhir? Why don’t you ask President Yoweri Museveni?”
It is clear that Dr. Kasekende’s contract had expired? And if it was not renewed, it is up to the appointing authority, who in his considered wisdom, felt it wise not to do so?
So, why blame the development on Sudhir?
In fact, in his farewell to staff at the Central Bank, Kasekende expressed gratitude to Bank of Uganda employees and also thanked the appointing authority for according him what he described as “an enabling environment to serve” the country in the capacity of deputy guvnor.
“As you already know, my contract as Deputy Governor of Bank of Uganda came to an end on January 14, 2020. I express my profound gratitude to the appointing authority, H.E President Museveni, for according me the opportunity to represent the country in various continental and international assignments,” he said in an internally shared email that he authored on January 17, 2020.
He added: “As I reflect upon my time at the bank, I am deeply grateful for all I have met. Serving our country is a worthwhile experience for all of us. We have jointly achieved a lot and should be proud of the tremendous progress for the future of our bank and our country.”
Clearly, where is Sudhir’s hand in all this as Kabagambe wants to the world to believe?
It is an old adage that even the best dancer leaves the stage to give room for other.
What Kabagambe, with all her wasted energies and times, should struggle to understand is the fact that there is a difference between a contract ending and being lobbied out of office?
In fact, for the Kasekende and group at the Central Bank, in my view, the writing was already on the wall and the score card had given the right indicators as to the verdict of the appointing authority in regard to her contract.
Already, the head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, has launched an investigation into the operations of Kasekende, basing on the Auditor General’s findings.
In his forensic audit report on Bank of Uganda, John Muwanga, discovered that over sh200b remains unexplained following the controversial and illegal sale of the defunct Crane Bank to Dfcu bank, which was conducted under the supervision of Kasekende.
The alleged payment of sh20b legal fees to city lawyers, David Mpanga of A.F. Mpanga Bowmans and Timothy Masembe Kanyerezi of MMAKS Advocates for advice of Crane Bank sale, is the other questionable payment that the Kasekende group ‘donated’ to these lawyers for ‘no’ work.
It has also been revealed that five other directors, who belong to the Kasekende group, who majorly superintended the closure of Crane Bank, will exit the Central Bank in May, after the appointing authority declined to renew their contracts.
So, madam Kabagambe, is this malaise also attributed to Dr. Sudhir?
It is their prudent that you eat a humble pie and retract the racist attacks on Sudhir and use your somewhat lengthy CV to help the World Bank deal with the emerging financial problems affecting the Third World rather than poking your nose in affairs of people, whose internal problems, you might not understand.
The author is a current affairs analyst and aspiring MP Ikiiki county in Budaka district.