INSIDE A WEEKEND DEBATE THAT LEFT GEN. MUSEVENI SHAKY IN KYABAZINGA’S LAND!
The song of Busoga being Uganda’s poverty giant is not about to end, if what experts from this subregion are saying is anything to go by!
According to the area’s experts, the people in the region are more interested in politics than kicking stinking poverty out of their homes.
In addition, experts suggest Basoga are a serious group when it comes to hating (constructive) advice. This and more revelation is contained in a secret WhatsApp group called Busoga Beyond Politics (BBP) which comprises senior leaders in the subregion wanting to see transformation of this area.
The platform has technical people in government agencies, NGOs, retired politicians, clerics among others.
As such, the group according to Inspectors, over the weekend held a lengthy discussion ignited by former Kigulu north MP Kafuufu Baliddawa Edward in respect of how Busoga needs a special affirmative action program and or, a ministry like the president did to other special regions including Karamoja.
In his missive to the group, the former legislator refered to a story where elders in poverty-stricken Karamoja region proposed for the scrapping of the Karamoja ministry and instead; government brings back the Karamoja Development Agency which they said was more meaningful to them than the scandal-ridden ministry.
“This is good read and to know of what the Karamojongs are thinking, but of what value is it to us (Basoga) here? In this report, they are talking of the Karamoja elders weighing in and demanding the return of an agency which they think that was doing what it was supposed to do. On the contrary, in Busoga, we have no elders or I have not heard of a recognized elders forum that would be concerned enough on matters of social economic development of Busoga” he kicked off the debate!
He said even after several years of agitating for a Busoga Affirmative Action as a symbolic response, President Museveni’s government dumped Busoga in what he referred to as an already bloated so-called Rwenzori Region which stretches from Luweero, Toro to Kasese.
“No one has ever explained to us why the Busoga sub region couldn’t qualify to a stand alone affirmative government intervention area.
If these affirmative actions are meant to address the pertaining social economic imbalance in order to enable those areas achieve at least the national average levels of poverty, then one has to wonder why Busoga which has been reported to have among the worst poverty levels figures not given her own affirmative action” he stated.
He noted that currently there is the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) for the districts in Northern Uganda but the same regions have a Ministerial cabinet docket. The same goes to Bunyoro, Teso, Luweero and Karamoja which has two ministers (never mind their transgressions)!
“On our side (Busoga), we have a Senior Presidential Advisor in charge of fighting poverty (Hon. Florence Mutyabule) but who; apart from being able to earn a monthly personal salary, she has not been empowered to actually do anything in regard to fighting poverty in Busoga. Hon. Mutyabule has no office, has no vehicle and has no budget! It becomes ironical that a person who is officially mandated to handle the most pertinent issues in a sub region of 11districts is not empowered to do the job” he said in the missive to the group.
He also blamed Busoga leaders for not forming a concerted voice in demanding that the person chosen by the President in helping the fight against poverty be fully empowered to do her job but instead, each person brings his or her own version of fighting poverty.
“One thing that still one has to ask is when Maureen Kyalya held the same docket, she was fully facilitated with a vehicle and an office. Why wasn’t this done to the new appointee (Mutyabule). Maybe if this was done, we would be having a justifiable reason to demand accountability from that office and probably we would be seeing better coordination of the ongoing efforts for the various government intervention action plans” he reasoned, adding that whereas in Karamoja, Teso and in the North, the elders play a big role, in Busoga they don’t have any elders’ fora due to infighting and disrespect among themselves.
However, in response to his outbursts, some seniors noted that Busoga doesn’t need a minister but instead, they need to get organized as a people.
“What will a Minister do?
It is the people; the Basoga who must have Mind Set Change and strive to build household income. We don’t need a minister for Busoga. Abasoga betereeze. Empwitu ninggi inho” he advised literally meaning that ‘let Basoga style up, they are pig headed’
The official (names withheld) added that; “They Basoga) can’t be advised, think they know it all and when it comes to elective politics, the level of involvement overshadows the perceived poverty everyone talks about during non political times” he said.
The expert noted that it is embarrassing to see that people in Busoga still have idle land in their backyards and yet still go hungry.
“Let those who deserve get the affirmative action. They are many out there. It should be a shame that a country like Egypt which is almost a desert has taken advantage of the waters of the Nile that comes from Uganda and has been able to transform itself into a major agricultural production hub yet, here in Busoga where we only continue to be mesmerized by the water oozing out of the stones in the middle of another water body. We keep on talking of poverty and yet the key to fighting poverty is the utilization of this water that traverses northern Busoga as it enters South Sudan” he blasted them adding that since Busoga is sorounded by waters, dry season should not be an excuse.
He gave an example of the recent Kyabazinga wedding which he said prior to it’s occurrence, many including some powerful Basoga (he didn’t mention), thought the function was going to be a total failure.
“To the surprise of every one in the country, no other ceremony has ever been this successful in a long time. Yet this function was organized by our own basoga. The potential within cannot be underestimated. We may not need external help to start off the journey of fighting poverty” he said.
The group resolved to come up with an elders committee comprising of selfless men and women of integrity from with in a geographical area with an aim to discuss and guide on issues of common Importance to that area.
“Why not identify a few to start it up for that purpose. Do we need elections for that? We just need to demand that she (SPA Florence Mutyabule) is facilitated then we can demand action and accountability from her office” they said. According to the plan, each of the 11 districts and a City will have one prominent apolitical person to kickstart the process of formulating an elders committee to come up with strategies to end poverty.
OPM TECHNOCRAT SPILLS THE BEANS
Meanwhile, we understood that as the debate heightened, one of the technocrats in the Office of the Prime Minister responded to Mutyabule’s alleged financial incapacitation in a lengthy missive as HEREUNDER but slightly edited.
Just to correct the record:
1) Maureen Kyalya’s replacement was Olga Hellen Namutamba, on the recommendation of Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga. Indeed she was given all the facilities and privileges that Maureen Kyalya had. Her contract expired and Hon. Florence Mutyabule was appointed but without those previledges. When we found and passed the Special Program for Busoga, as OPM we put it under Karamoja Affairs for three reasons;
a) Busoga was on the way to Karamoja, and it was logical for it to enjoy political supervision from Karamoja Ministers.
b) Karamoja was the only affirmative action Ministry with more than one Minister. It had the biggest budget, and Busoga with 7.5bn a year was next in budget size. Well as Luwero seemed to have a big budget, the bigger part of the budget was ring fenced for civilian war veterans as “akasimo”. Karamoja had more technical staff than any other affirmative action programs.
c) The State Minister for Karamoja Affairs had been the focal person in driving this initiative, and hence the logic in leaving for program under Karamoja until the next time Government is formed, and a Minister for Busoga Affairs is named.
All these positions were adopted and minuted by Cabinet but was frustrated by our very own high ranking official (names withheld) working with then state minister for Luweero.
When Hon. Florence Mutyabule was appointed, she was instructed to report to the Minister responsible for Busoga Affairs, for facilitation and Coordination. I believe she is still waiting for the same.
I thought I should give you those details.