The government has set its sights on an estimated 100 acres of land, including the piece housing the controversial J&M Hotel in Bwebajja, Entebbe road.

The Observer has reliably learnt that President Museveni recently urged government to consider buying it to house some ministries.  But Mr Museveni also believes that buying the hotel would be a good thing as it would help a supporter of the National Resistance Movement, who owns the facility.

The Observer has seen a letter in which Museveni directs Presidency Minister Frank Tumwebaze, to follow up the matter with Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, Attorney General Peter Nyombi and the ministries of Public Service and Finance. The president’s suggestion follows an appeal by Mary Goodra Behakanira, the widow of Joseph Behakanira, who owned the property.

“The widow of the late Behakanira has appealed to me to buy their hotel at Bwebajja so that government can use the properties they have built there to turn them into offices for government, a university, a hospital or whatever else we may want to utilize them for,” reads Museveni’s letter to Tumwebaze dated November 5, 2012.

The president believes this could be a good deal.

"If you take the mere question of the money the government spends on rent per annum, you will see the wisdom of slowly getting out of that trap. The government spends approximately Shs100bn per annum on rent. In five (5 years), this would amount to approximately Shs 500bn".

The president also believes that buying the land would be one way of helping Goodra Behakanira, whom he describes as "our supporter".

The president's letter is copied to the vice president, prime minister, third deputy prime minister, Finance minister and Attorney General. Mrs Behakanira admitted to The Observer that the property has been on sale for some time to help her clear bank loans left behind by her late husband, but she was non committal on whether she had urged the government to buy it.

Presidential Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi was unaware of the project when we contacted him yesterday. He instead referred us to Tumwebaze whose phones were unavailable by press time.


J&M Hotel came to prominence when it was first listed as one of the hotels lined up to host delegates for the 2007 Commonwealth summit.

Its proprietor, Joseph Behakanira, was controversially given Shs 2.4bn to complete 200 rooms, three days to the start of the summit. He died in 2010, a day after being grilled by Parliamentís Public Accounts Committee over the deal.

The Busiro South MP, Joseph Balikuddembe, in whose constituency the land is located, welcomed the idea of government acquiring the property, saying it would decongest the city. However, he said the process shouldn't be handled by political leaders but rather technical staff in the ministry of Lands.

Some of the government ministries and agencies now renting office space include the Judiciary, the ministries of Justice, Local Government, Gender, DPP, Uganda Road Fund and the DPP. Several of these bodies have complained of inadequate space and high rental costs in their 2012/2013 ministerial policy statements.

The ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs says in its statement:

"The Judiciary has no suitable headquarters for its operations. It rents nearly half of the court premises countrywide. Such reliance on the private sector (for rent) does not augur well with the level of integrity and independence expected of the Judiciary".

Parliament recently approved a request by the ministry to build a complex for the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) at a cost of Shs 55bn, to be provided in phases of Shs 10bn every year. Parliament also asked the government to give the Electoral Commission money to construct its own offices/stores.

"The commission headquarters continues to be housed in an unplanned and dilapidated structure. Similarly, the commission lacks its own storage facilities both at the headquarters and at the districts", the statement said.

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-16 #1 dick 2013-01-10 23:44
I do not like m7 at all !!!! But this is a very good idea ! Govt ministries
+6 #2 Betty Long Cap 2013-01-11 00:16
The DICTATOR'S real estate acquisition days are coming to an end.
+16 #3 Tsaile 2013-01-11 00:17
That Bwebajja Hotel received from Uganda government over $2 million a couple of days before CHOGAM. The hotel was not ready and no guest slept there. Has the owner refunded tax payers money?

People know who owns the hotel. That person rushed to the site after the walls collapsed during construction. Botanical Beach was taken from Mukasa's family and now Behakanira's family is losing all they toiled for. Both men died very young.
+37 #4 Steven Nsubuga 2013-01-11 00:18
Smell the coffee guys. The Hotel's name is
j& M... Get it???
+2 #5 Empayippayi 2013-01-11 00:33
Setaaga afululai!
+9 #6 Miss UGanda 2013-01-11 00:39
And of what value will this be to our ailing economy?
+3 #7 kabayekka 2013-01-11 01:12
What of the ancient dual carriage road to the international airport. That dodgy structure must be destroyed at once so that the Entebbe airport highway can be joined up at Entebbe town council.

Stop this confusion about a new Entebbe road from Natete or from Luzira.
+3 #8 John M. Kyakulagira 2013-01-11 01:21
There is no news here. This is an already existing scandal now gaining pace, perpetrated by the same players, only this time unabated because all resenting voices have either been muzzled or eliminated.

We're only left with "fools and idiots" or sycophants for that matter, who will offer no resistance whatsoever. "Eno gyetulina yakumenya mu jjenje kkalu."
+5 #9 Bingi 2013-01-11 03:46
Taking bits by bits is time wasting...........Uganda is a small country that can be mortgaged once for the obvious buyer(i know who he is) to take.
-16 #10 Kalimbwe Mwanyi 2013-01-11 06:08
Quoting Steven Nsubuga:
Smell the coffee guys. The Hotel's name is
j& M... Get it???

The man was called Joseph and his wife is MAry. So J & M stood for Joseph and Mary not Janet and Museveni as you are insinuating! Get a life
+7 #11 David 2013-01-11 07:51
Can Museveni now denie to be a property master?
+5 #12 Baale 2013-01-11 07:59
The man built a hotel in the Road reserve, who on earth would spentb a night in the road reserve???? Karamajongo who have just landed from Karamoja.

Why is she selling before they settle tax payers money.
+5 #13 Bongomin Morris 2013-01-11 10:12
There is nothing new under the sun really. M7 sold off most govt. assets, and now he wants people to believe that he is the one thinking rightly.

That is anyway the right thing to do as he moved negative on the integer the moved positive the same steps so he is back where Uganda govt was. Unfortunately for him his actions and thinking does not make him a great thinker as he stagnated the country all these 27 years.
+9 #14 Robert 2013-01-11 10:29
I thought it was his all along. Am I mistaken?
+8 #15 Kamya 2013-01-11 10:40
Bailing out a supporter is such a good idea. Question is whether the structures will not need demolition to convert them into offices; another bottomless pit in the making
+24 #16 Aaron Kakande 2013-01-11 11:20
Mr. President, why did the widow of the late Behakanira appeal to you to buy the hotel? Doesn't such an appeal bring the office of the presidency into disrepute? Doesn't your involvement in such a deal (that is directing Frank Tumwebaze, Amama Mbabazi and the Attoney General) risk your name being associated with dodgy deals, Mr. President?

Couldn't any other person deal with such an issue, as is normal with any other business transactions? Where are your advisers here, Mr. President? Considering the rampant corruption engulfing our country and several major donors cutting off their aid to our country, I would have thought that you would have stayed clear of such deals?

With respect, Mr. President, your advisers are doing a very poor job and if not dismissed with immediate effect , your presidency risks being dragged to the gutters of the abattoir.
+11 #17 Obahura 2013-01-11 11:26
And the Nyarwino a.k.a Ssabagabe has directed, he is law. Concluded deal. What is remaining is the hyenas and vultures to claim their pound of the flesh. This country!!!
+7 #18 Twakoladda 2013-01-11 12:33
People how can bailing out an NRM supporter using tax payers money be a good practice?

Hello, that's corruption. If it was a sound venture for government then the 'supporter' thingy shouldn't be a qualifier.
+8 #19 Tibakyeenga Maziima 2013-01-11 13:16
Do we need rocket scientists to cipher out whose hotel/property that one is?? I hope some critical minds would recollect the statements late Joseph Behakanira made when he was under pressure from PAc?

And as one commentator above said, who was the first visitor to go to the structure when it collapsed and killed some construction workers? We Ugandans, really should try to use our brains instead of our hearts... when most of our MPs rightly are IDIOTS and MORONS.
+8 #20 Charles D Opwonya 2013-01-11 14:51


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