Allegations of extortion and misconduct shake Team MK in Zombo

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FILE PHOTO: General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the son of Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni looks on during his 48th birthday party in Entebbe, Uganda May 7, 2022. REUTERS/Abubaker Lubowa

Zombo, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | A crisis has emerged within the “Team MK Project” in Zombo district, raising doubts about their operational methods.

The project, initiated earlier this year for the peaceful transition of power from Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to his first son Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, faces allegations of extortion for membership enrollment in Zombo district.

The trouble stems from complaints of extortion to enroll members into the Team MK project in Zombo district. Some of the suspects were arrested, cautioned, and subsequently released. This crisis and controversy came to the public this week when Ambassador Steven Okwaimungu, overseeing the Team MK project in the West Nile region, announced the dismissal of Henry Uwinji, the head of mobilization for Team MK in Zombo district.

In an interview with our reporter, Steven Okwaimungu revealed that Henry Uwinji had been utilizing his connection with the Team MK project to extort, intimidate, and harass local citizens, claiming association with the MK army.

Okwaimungu further added that earlier this year, Uwinji, under his supervision, permitted a group to extort money from the local populace under the pretense of registering them into Team MK in sub-counties like Jangokoro, Zeu, Akaa, Athuma, and Padea town council.

The Resident District Commissioner of Zombo, Rt Lt Col. Pius Alitema, acknowledged receiving instructions from the Team MK project to prevent Uwinji from promoting MK.

Uwinji countered the accusations made against him by Okwaimungu, dismissing them as baseless and untrue. He claimed not to have received any letter from the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the MK project instructing him to cease mobilization efforts in Zombo district.

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“When they were electing us as interim leaders Okwaimungu was not there and I have not received a letter from CEC stopping me,” he said. Uwinji urged the CEC to intervene promptly to resolve the differences between him and Okwaimungu.

He asserted that he would continue his role as the interim Chairman of the Mobilization Team for the MK project and encouraged people to visit the office located in Paidha town council. Alur Audio, one victim, speaking anonymously to this publication, disclosed being detained by a team of CMI operatives and subsequently released from the regional office in Arua City.

Still traumatized, the individual refrained from discussing the circumstances surrounding the military’s involvement. Our attempts to contact CEC members of the Team MK project, including Toyota Kaguta, Lilian Aber, and David Kabanda, yielded no results by the time of publishing this story.