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UNAA Presidential candidate, Natoolo protests “illegal return” of shs177m for CDF to Kla

(Last Updated On: 27 July 2021)

There is no available proof to show that US$50,000.00 has been returned to Kampala.

Kampala—27, July 2021: TND News continues to receive key information regarding Uganda North America Association (UNAA) current predicament and her preparation ahead of 33rd Convention in Cincinnati, United States of America.

The latest document this publication has received is what looks and sounds like a “protest note” from the current UNAA Vice president, Lydia Natoolo. She’s also in the race to oust her boss, Henrietta Wamala from the presidency.

“On July 11, 2021 while on a Joint leadership zoom call with other leaders of UNAA, it was announced by the UNAA President and CEO Henrietta Nairuba Wamala that she had learnt from the Accountant at the Embassy of Uganda in Washington DC that the FY 2020 Community Development Funds ($50,000) had been returned to Kampala,” she said, in her letter dated 27, July 2021.

She added: “When I contacted HE Amb. Mull Katende to establish exactly what happened, and why the funds would have been returned to Kampala, when he had personally assured me (just days before the June 30, 2021 deadline) that those funds will remain at the embassy, he promised to investigate the matter and update me.”

Yesterday, sadly, Natoolo says she “got the definitive word from Amb. Katende that these community development funds, (about UGX 177,005,498.15) had indeed been returned to Kampala.”

“Community leaders, and members of UNAA this action was purely political, and intended to make me look bad. Every time, I inched close to distributing this money, they would throw a wrench in those plans. From abruptly cancelled meetings, to outright refusal by some leaders to forward me basic information like members lists – you name it, I have faced it.”

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“As Vice President, when I was (finally) allowed to work on modalities to distribute these funds, I worked very hard to make sure that our communities receive the money. First, I worked closely with the UNAA Council and Amb. Katende, to agree on new accountable and transparent guidelines; and then, I held two zoom meetings (and several phone conversations) with community leaders. Even in the Executive, we held several meetings on his matter, and I always briefed all the leaders in the other UNAA organs.”

Initially, she says she had proposed to use the current UNAA members list to determine the number of community organizations’ members who were also UNAA members (per the UNAA Council-approved new guidelines), but community members were having a hard time registering their members. In the midst of that, the majority on the Executive Committee reasoned that since the money was for 2020, we should use the 2020 UNAA members list. But, that year UNAA had very few members, and that proved to be a challenge too. I really tried very hard. And all that couldn’t have been for show. I am not that kind of leader.

“Even though, I had in past publicly expressed my reservations about UNAA receiving funds from Uganda, that is not my call to make as the UNAA Vice President, or even President (if I am fortunate to be entrusted with that responsibility) – especially, when some community leaders had gone to great lengths to explain how these funds are important to sustain some of their community programs. The call to refuse or return the community development funds ought to be a decision that is made by UNAA members at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), my objections notwithstanding.”

“Therefore, the lies being told out there are just that, lies – and will be exposed. I did not send your funds back to Uganda. If I had failed as the Vice President, or collectively as the Executive Committee to agree on criteria to use to distribute these funds, we could have used the list of organizations that received award letters in 2019. That was not an option that my fellow UNAA leaders or the current UNAA leadership environment availed to me. Remember, I am just one vote on the current Executive Committee, and many times, I have found myself the lone voice/vote,” Wamala’s contender reveals.

“Community Leaders, now I have offered myself in this year’s election. I pledge to make your communities whole, one way or another. If these funds are not returned, and we are in leadership, my team will ask UNAA leaders in the Council to approve the $50,000 (earmarked to support the annual convention) to be redirected back to the community development fund.”

Furthermore, we will also recommend a reimbursement of the balance of the 2019 community development funds which were used by the Executive towards the Chicago convention. Those funds ($33,500) will be distributed among the community organizations that received award letters that year.

“And throughout this process, UNAA members and community leaders will be kept abreast of each and every development.”

Some UNAA senior leaders say it’s “a game” Henrietta and the Board of Trustees, and those who are in support of their bad leadership are playing.

They are now asking for a proof to show the transfer was indeed made.

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