Uganda president son-in-law named in bribe scandal

Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:32am GMT

By Barry Malone

KAMPALA (Reuters) - A row has broken out in Uganda over claims a son-in-law of President Yoweri Museveni offered a prominent opposition politician $630,000 to pull out of national elections next month.

Francis Atugonza, a town mayor and trade spokesman for the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), says Odrek Rwabogo made the offer in a restaurant on January 5 and asked him to then appear at a Museveni rally.

Atugonza has no direct proof for his claims but has shown reporters text messages on his mobile phone from Rwabogo. The president's son-in-law has admitted meeting the opposition candidate but says he offered no bribe.

"Rwabogo offered me many things including senior positions in government, and finally, 1.5 billion Ugandan shillings," Atugonza told Reuters. "I refused to accept. Do you think that is a lot of money for that family? It is not."

Atugonza also says another son-in-law of the president, Geoffrey Kamuntu, called him three times and told him Museveni would "do anything" to persuade him to defect to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).

NRM spokesman Ofwono Opondo called the allegation "ridiculous".

"The entire Bunyoro region is an NRM stronghold," Opondo told Reuters. "There would never be any reason for an NRM member to bribe anybody there or anywhere else. The FDC are up against the wall and looking for excuses."

Corruption is rife in Uganda. Voters have identified it as a key issue for the February 18 poll and analysts say it hampers the poor nation's development.   Continued...

<p>Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni addresses the media outside Kyadondo Rugby ground in Kampala, the scene of one of two bomb blasts on Sunday July 12, 2010. REUTERS/Xavier Toya</p>
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