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AllAfrica.com

July 10, 2011

by George Kanyeihamba

In my book, Kanyeihamba’s Commentaries on Law, Politics and Governance, there is a chapter on the weaknesses of African bureaucrats in negotiating international agreements on trade and commerce. I have copied the whole of that chapter and sent it to the Editor of this newspaper and advised that it be published, in instalments, if need be, to enlighten the uninitiated how we are often cheated in international agreements affecting our rights and interests even when we are fully represented by teams in fora and meetings that determine the terms and conditions of those agreements. The relevant authorities should make similar materials compulsory reading for bureaucrats and trade officers. My own contribution is not based on theory but the practical experience I gained while Minister, Attorney General and Senior Presidential Adviser. I later encountered many of the same phenomena as a judge of the Supreme Court.

Presently, as Commission of Inquiry into the mismanagement of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) – Protected Areas Management and Sustainable Use (PAMSU) Project evidence is beginning to surface, of gross negligence and apparent incompetence of the officials who participated in the negotiations that established the project and those who managed, monitored and supervised its activities. Recalling my spell in government, I was often criticised or disliked by beneficiaries of the indifference, incompetence and corruption which influenced some of Uganda‘s weaknesses in international deals and contracts…The worst examples were those signed by Ugandan negotiating teams while I was Minister of Justice and Attorney General. In one such contract approved by a Ugandan lawyer who was a member of the team, a clause in the contract for Uganda to acquire a very expensive machine costing millions of US dollars prohibited the buyer, that is the Uganda Government, from inspecting the machine before payment and delivery to Kampala. The machine turned out to be a useless and abandoned junkRead more.