President sends aide to calm tempers amid local claims that he is avoiding the youths because they are seen as Mbabazi supporters
President Museveni over the weekend sent an aide to Kabale to cool tempers of the NRM youths, who were angry that he will not be able to meet them today (Wednesday) July 2, due to a tight schedule.
David Mafabi, the president’s private secretary on Political Affairs, travelled to Kabale last Saturday to try and explain Museveni’s absence. Sources told us that Mafabi told a few youth leaders that Museveni had been made aware of the meeting on short notice because he had not received the invitation. Later on Sunday, Mafabi was hosted on a radio talk show on Hope Radio, where he again explained Museveni’s position.
Our sources said that on the radio, Mafabi said that the NRM youth leaders in Kigezi had not formally told Museveni about the meeting and he had only learnt of it through other channels.
“The president loves the youths but he is a busy person and cannot meet them whenever they like,” Mafabi reportedly said.
But some callers to the show said the reason Museveni is avoiding meeting the Kigezi youths is because they are perceived to be sympathetic to Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who allegedly habours presidential ambitions. Indeed, Mafabi told The Observer yesterday that when Museveni asked him to go to Kabale, there was talk in Kigezi that the president had abandoned the sub-region.
“There has been a tendency by some people to organise events and announce that the president is coming even without sending him a formal invitation. When the president does not come, some people say he does not like us. That is why he sent me [to Kabale],” Mafabi said.
He added that some people with unknown motives were trying to politicize the saga. For some time, NRM youth leaders in Kigezi have been demanding to meet Museveni to address issues that they think are pertinent to the area.
One of the youth leaders, who did not want his identity revealed, said that when President Museveni met NRM youth leaders from western Uganda in May, the youths from Kigezi told him they wanted to have a separate meeting with him in July because they felt they had bigger grievances. Later, according to this youth, they wrote a letter to the president which they reportedly gave Tereza Mbire, a prominent businesswoman from Kigezi, to deliver.
But Mafabi said the president never received this letter. According to this youth, they want the president to address the issue of sectarianism along religious lines (Protestants v Catholics) in the sub-region that has divided party supporters.
He also spoke of unfulfilled pledges, such as reconstructing the Kabale municipality roads. Youths are also demanding that a steel factory be built in Kabale (and not Mbarara as government has proposed) because the district is rich in iron ore. Lastly, according to this youth, they wanted the president to assure them that there will be a smooth transition of political power in 2016.
“We have been witnesses to what happened in Libya and Egypt. Our humble request to him is to show us one cadre [that will take over].This is not a hard task,” the youth leader said.
Museveni is expected in Kanungu today to launch the reconstruction works of Mitano bridge that connects the district to Rukungiri. By press time, the youths were still pressing to have a meeting with him.
Source : The Observer