KITGUM- Presidential candidate Kizza Besigye yesterday ended the first leg of his campaign in Acholi, emphasising earlier commitments to pay special attention to this sub-region that was devastated by two decades of civil war if he is elected president in February.
Dr Besigye, the Forum for Democratic Change frontman, has throughout his four-day tour laid the blame for the devastation suffered by Acholi sub-region at the feet of the ruling NRM government. He has told large crowds that because of corruption and mismanagement in government Acholi and other parts of the country have been left behind in development.
He drew from the sad experiences of the northern Uganda war, which left more than two million people barely surviving in harsh conditions without proper housing, healthcare or food in Internally Displaced Persons camps to hammer his point home.
Dr Besigye promised to give the region which lost thousands of people in those camps “priority”. This, he said, would help it catch up with the other parts of the country that didn’t experience the war.
Through various interventions such as the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) and the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF), the NRM government with the support of donors, has made post-conflict recovery efforts in the region but these have been plagued by reports of corruption and mismanagement that Dr Besigye says his government will end once in office.
He used the example of the debilitating “nodding disease” to show how the NRM’s mismanagement of the health sector has had dire consequences for the people.
“In Kitgum, there is even now an NRM disease. Nodding disease is an NRM disease, it had never been heard of. It is a result of the breakdown of health services and it has taken so long to know what is causing it and how to stop it,” Dr Besigye said about the condition which President Museveni recently told a rally in the very Acholi has been contained.
A medical doctor by profession, Dr Besigye, also accused the government of not doing enough to support people affected by the condition mainly in Kitgum District.
In Lagoro Sub-county, the FDC candidate told his audience that the government abandoned the people and instead left Europeans and Americans to find a solution to nodding disease. “Our own people are completely absent because we have destroyed the health care system,”
On all his rallies in the sub-region, after thanking the people for supporting him over time, Dr Besigye would go ahead and tell them not to give up at a time when the rest of the country is saying no to what he termed was President Museveni’s dictatorship.
At several of his rallies, Dr Besigye told people that President Museveni was now seeking political refugee in their region after the rest of the country rejected him.
Anywar fights for podium
Kitgum Woman MP Beatrice Anywar who is contesting to become the Kitgum Municipality MP on an Independent ticket had to fight her way up to Dr Besigye’s campaign podium after some FDC supporters attempted to block her from accessing it.
It took the intervention of Dr Besigye for Ms Anywar to get a chance to speak but with protest from some of the supporters.
Ms Anywar has been at loggerheads with the FDC leadership since she openly defied the party position and backed Independent presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi.
Attempts to get the FDC leadership to reconsider her on the FDC ticket for the municipality were futile and it was instead given to Mr Denis Onekalit who was Dr Besigye’s interpreter at yesterday’s rally.
SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR