|State House officials stand next to the claimed portrait. Mr Ndalo says he and two of his children hired a pick-up truck from Nairobi four months ago to transport the portrait.|
Uganda president Yoweri Museveni has refused to pay a Kenyan painter an equivalent of Sh 1.5 million for a portrait he had ordered.
Mr Joakim Onyango Ndalo, 61, is stranded in Kampala after State House refused to pay him, calling him a ‘con man’. Under-secretary Hope Nyakairu, who had previously received the artwork on the President’s behalf on July 12, challenged the painter to produce a Local Purchasing Order (LPO) as evidence that he was authorised to do the work.
Onyango claims that the president on a visit to Kenya in July 2009, commissioned the artwork, during a conversation at the Jaramogi museum. The painting was then incomplete, but he promised to deliver it to Kampala. Museveni offered him $500 as transport.
Four months ago, Onyango and two of his children hired a pick up truck from Nairobi, but upon arrival in Kampala, they were informed that the president was out of the country. They were housed at Mosa Courts, by State House. The next day, they were given $500 as transport refund. Four close to four months now, all attempts by Onyango to meet the president have been thwarted.
On its part, State House claims that Onyango offered the portrait as a gift, and they were surprised to learn that he wanted cash payment. “Why would we go to order for a portrait of the President in Kenya when we have many artists in Uganda who could do the work? Does he (Ndalo) have an LPO or voucher as evidence that he was commissioned? He is crafty; he’s a con man.” a senior official was quoted by Daily Monitor.
Onyango says he has no money to treat a worsening sight problem, and to add to his miseries, he missed an opportunity this month to exhibit his paintings on invitation in the Burundian capital, Bujumbura.
Additional reporting by Daily Monitor