State House officials last week met opposition youths in Jinja and assured them that they would benefit from government’s anti-poverty programmes.
The officials led by Moses Byaruhanga, the senior presidential aisor on Political Affairs, said no Ugandan should be excluded from the programmes on the basis of their political beliefs, tribe and religion.
“Being in opposition does not mean you are denied the opportunity to participate in the development process of your country. We are all Ugandans with the right to benefit from public resources,” he said at Bax conference hall on November 11.
Byaruhanga’s remarks elicited mixed reactions from the audience, with one female participant saying the NRM was trying to pull all stops to ensure that it wins the 2016 elections. More than 300 youths belonging to the Organisation to Eradicate Poverty in Communities (OTEPIC), whose members were drawn from 10 districts, attended the meeting.
Fred Kafuko, the chairman of OTEPIC, said there is a big gap between government and the grassroots people. He noted that funds meant for people with disabilities and youths do not usually trickle down to the intended beneficiaries.
NRM ready to join
Kafuko, who said they came up with the idea of the association after losing hope in their leaders, declared that they are willing to work with – and support – the NRM if it supports their poverty eradicate campaign.
“We would like to let government know the big gaps that exist in service delivery. The poor and voiceless have been neglected. Local council leaders and members of parliament have not been able to articulate our issues,” Kafuko said.
In response to Kafuko’s remarks, Byaruhanga pledged Shs 20 million towards OTEPIC. Byaruhanga said whether the group members join NRM or not, they would be supported, in line with government’s plan to empower the youth and women. He asked them to invest in profitable agri-business ventures.
Annet Nanyonjo, a member of OTEPIC, said despite belonging to the opposition, she had realised the need to work with government.
But an FDC supporter in Jinja, who asked not to be named, described the meeting as a ‘stage managed’ by NRM to ‘fool the public’ that they are gaining support in Busoga.
“Kafuko and all those people who attended that meeting are renowned supporters and mobilisers of NRM. Has Kafuko ever been of any opposition party, which one?” asked the FDC man.
The meeting took place a few days after FDC held it 9th anniversary celebrations at Kagoma county grounds in Jinja district. The FDC event was attended by the party president, Mugisha Muntu, and his predecessor Kizza Besigye.
Source : The Observer