If Kasaija and Azuba tried to sell shares to anyone, the buyer would have to go to the registry to transfer the shares. The registry would tell him/her that they bought air because UNACL is registered as a public, not private, company.
So when the minister said there was a clerical error and amended the documents by adding the title of “minister” to the names of Kasaija and Azuba, it was not meant to change anything of substance but to satisfy the emotions of MPs and our chattering elites.
The MPs and the cacophony of shrill alarms they raised ignored the fact that under the Company’s Act, the registrar of companies has powers to rectify errors on documents. What if the share allotment forms had indicated any other name other than that of a person who has a relationship with the ministries of finance and works? That would have been a big error, though
not a fatal one, that cannot be rectified by the registrar. But even here, that person would not “steal” the shares (by claiming them) because he would have to explain how he got them! You cannot own some- thing you did not buy and have no sale agreement for.
The other issue was Gad Gasatura who was appointed chairman of the board but the company did not notify the registrar of companies. So the issue was: in which capacity was he signing company documents? This was later rectified. But delaying to inform the registrar does not nullify appointments; it only causes the registrar to impose penalties for the delay. The MPs reached the height of absurdity when they asked why a company registered last July could have its documents certified in March 2019. Really? I will not honor this stupidity even with a comment.
Ugandans are angry and frustrated at their government – often for the wrong reasons. This has led a large section of the punditry to always look for an opportunity to vent their spleen at those holding power. It has gotten worse because in the event of no scandals, they are beginning to invent them – like this alleged theft of UNACL shares. Yet this mistrust in government is most likely going to cause more failure rather than promote success.
The failure of a nation is sometimes (in Africa, most of the time) attributed to corruption and ineptness of leaders. Yet all too often nations fail because of the collective delusions of their societies. Uganda is in crisis because its elites, suffering from acute psychological insecurity and guilt, seek meaning through exaggerated hostility to state action, even though backed only by ignorance and emotions.
Uganda airlines will fail not because the government is corrupt and incompetent but because Ugandan elites are suspicious of the state. Our democratic institutions like parliament and the press, which are meant to give citizens opportunities to check government, actually make us hold the state hostage to our emotions and delusions.