UNTOLD STORY: Why Singh Katongole, Sanjay Tanna Contested for NRM CEC

Indian community fronted Tanna and Singh to serve their interests

The story behind Singh Katongole and Sanjay Tanna’s bid for NRM Central Executive Committee (CEC) posts have been busted.

Katongole contested and won the NRM Vice chairperson, Kampala region beating the incumbent Godfrey Nyakana, while Sanjay Tanna contested and lost to the incumbent Capt Mike Mukula in the elections held on Thursday.

Intelligence reports have revealed how Katongole and Tanna’s NRM CEC bid was influenced and orchestrated by an organized group of Indian community in Uganda.

The motivation for Indian community in Uganda to front Singh and Sanjay, who are both of Indian origin, has been attributed to their long term appeal for Indians to be recognized as a tribe in Uganda.

Sources have intimated to us that by sending Singh Katongole and Sanjay Tanna to the NRM top decision making organ, it would increase their bargaining to have a tight grip of the country’s economy and thus, creating a fertile ground for them to be constitutionally recognized as a tribe.

The move by Indians to be recognized as a tribe is aimed at protecting their interests, consolidate their businesses and allow them officially own land.

It should be remembered that it was Sanjay Tanna while in the 9th Parliament who move a motion on the floor of parliament for Indians to be constitutionally recognized as a tribe.

Since then Indian community in Uganda has continued to pile pressure on government. It is not surprising that they bankrolled Sanjay Tanna and Singh Katongole for NRM CEC positions, to increase their bargaining power. Apparently, Tanna alone received up to over Shs2bn from Indian community for his campaigns.

Two years ago Indian community led by Sanjiv Patel, the Chairperson of Indian Association in Uganda met President Yoweri Museveni and requested him to consider their plea. Indeed, Museveni verbally promised to recognize them as a tribe, but it has been legally done up to date.

The Asians started to return to Uganda after 1986 when Museveni took over power after an armed struggle. Today, Indians are said to constitute about 1% of Uganda’s estimated 40 million population, but pay 65% of the taxes, according to their association.

This implies that the Indians control a big part of Uganda’s business sector. Indians are involved in a number of businesses in Uganda including hotels, banking, manufacturing and retail.

Indians have amassed a lot of wealth and dominate most powerful businesses in the county. For example, Partel alone ‘owns’ most of the land in Busoga including multimillion businesses such as GM sugar factory, Kamuli sugar factory. Other sugar factories such as Mayuge sugar and Kakira sugar are owned by Abid Alam and Madhvani family respectively.

Indian businessmen have captured huge chunks of land especially in Busoga where they are engaged in sugar production. Apparently, the people from Busoga have been lured with money to lease their land to the Indians for sugar cane production at a cost of between Shs300,000 to Shs500,000 per acre for a period of 5 years. This explains why poverty is still on the rise in Busoga sub region because the locals have leased all their land to Indians for sugar production. This is taking the same trend in some parts of Bunyoro where Indians have started growing sugar cane. Indians are now also grabbing a lot of land in Bukedea and Bulambuli where they are engaging in rice production. They have also entered into industrial parks.

Having captured the economy of the country, Indians now want a political representation to avoid a replica where Idd Amin chased all the Asians in Uganda and gave their businesses to Ugandans.

Their plan is to also have as many representatives in Parliament as possible to promote their interests.

Whereas Indians have been in Uganda for many years, they have failed to assimilate with Ugandans especially on areas of intermarriages.

In the same vein, sources have intimated to us how Indian community is rebuking Suhdir Ruparelia for refusing to bankroll Sanjay Tanna for NRM CEC slot. Sudhir is a close associate and business partner to Mike Mukula. Apparently, Indian community in Uganda had resolved to front as many Indian candidates for political positions to promote their interests at national level.

When Tanna declared his bid for NRM Vice chairperson, Eastern Uganda, he received financial support from fellow Indians except Sudhir who refused to support him.

Sudhir and Tanna’s disagreements is reportedly based on tribal differences between the two.

Leave a comment