Uganda can never degenerate to the level of being protected by the United Nations peace missions because the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has built a strong army, President Museveni has said.
Mr Museveni, the party presidential candidate, told NRM leaders and flag bearers of Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts at the Boma Grounds in Bundibugyo Town on Thursday that they should assure the people that the NRM has totally secured the country hence the need to stay in power.
He said the country was unmanageable due to insecurity caused by the pre-colonial governance and post-independence politics that emphasised identity based on religion and tribe.
“You the people of Bundibugyo, Ntoroko and Rwenzori (Sub-region) should be witnesses to tell others about what is happening in [DR] Congo. For more than 60 years, there has been no peace. But the reason why NRM is different from other parties is that we united people and built a strong army that did not look at religion or tribe but what someone can be able to do,” Mr Museveni said.
Neighbouring DR Congo had a peaceful transition of power for the first time early last year following Joseph Kabila’s step-down but the eastern part of the country remains under the watch of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the DRC.
Mr Museveni said there are many unstable countries in Africa because they have lacked leadership that emphasises solving the general needs of the people.
The President, who was praised by the leaders of Bundibugyo for the government’s decision to build 223 kms of roads inside DR Congo, pledged to add another one to connect the border post of Busunga to Congo’s towns of Kamango and Beni.
“It is me who brought the idea to do roads in Congo. And now you have added me another one from Kamango to Beni. You have many things that need a market and you are looking for ways of reaching the market,” he said.
The Ugandan government will construct DR Congo roads of Mahagi-Bunya, Bunagana-Goma, and Kasindi-Beni this financial year.
However, some politicians have criticised the development, saying there are still more outstanding issues in the country that need funding.
Leaders also reminded Mr Museveni to fulfil several pledges he has made to the two districts.
Some of the pledges include the 2016 promise to create Bughendera District in order to end conflicts among the Bakonzo and Bamba/Babwisi in Bundibugyo.
The President was also reminded of outstanding pledges to support churches in their construction programmes.
However, Mr Museveni accused leaders of failing to follow up with the State House on the pledges to ensure they are met, saying he is always occupied by pressing national problems.
“These are small things. If we managed to work on the roads, then how can we fail to support a church? This is because of lack of communication. My people here, the leaders are the ones who do not follow up. Dr [Kenneth] Omona (principal private secretary) talked to these chairmen about these pledges, ” the President said.
Mr Ronald Mutegeki, the Bundibugyo chairperson, said the issues that were delaying the creation of the new district have been harmonised.
“When we came to the leadership in 2016, people were still killing each other and when we met in Fort Portal, you told us to first seek peace and now that there is peace, we are ready,” he said.
The State Minister for Defence, Mr Christopher Kibanzanga, outlined some of the NRM achievements in his area in the last four years, including construction of Sindila Hydro Power station, equitable distribution of services being rendered by government and, connecting Bughendera to rural electrification.
“When you were last here, four years ago, you promised the people of Bughendera that you are going to provide equal distribution. This time, Bughendera has received a power line for the first time,” Mr Kibanzanga said.
The President who has been enjoying comfortable wins in Bundibugyo and Ntoroko in the previous elections directed Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda to immediately visit the area to assess how hundreds of homes displaced by floods can be resettled. The Prime Minister was also directed to consider plans to return families that colonialists displaced from Matongo land that are currently considered to be part of Semuliki National Park.
Like it was the case of Kasese, the fate of Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere who has since not stepped in the Kingdom for four years since his arrest was not mentioned among the demands by the leaders in Bundibugyo.
The Omusinga who together over 200 people suspected to be his traditional guards are facing charges of treason, terrorism, murder and aggravated robbery among others.
Service delivery is a big challenge to the people of Bughendera county. We have bad roads, bad schools so we hope that if we get a district status it will help to extend services nearer to us and solve such challenges.
We love NRM and we’re going to vote for president Museveni but we request him to support our cultural institution and also compensate the victims of Matongo lost land.
Nothing the NRM government has done is better than our key point which is the release of the Omusinga. We are as Bakonzo are like orphans and everyone thought the President will tell us when he is coming back home.