Tuesday January 26 2010

Government wasting tax payers’ money to celebrate day - opposition

LEAN TIMES: President Museveni swearing in

LEAN TIMES: President Museveni swearing in 1986. FILE PHOTO  

By Flavia Nalubega & Anna-Maria Penu


Members of the opposition have shunned the NRM Liberation Day, saying the government has done more harm than good in the last 24 years and that there is nothing worth celebrating.

Opposition leaders whom Daily Monitor talked to claimed that NRM has done only about five per cent of what they promised Ugandans 24 years ago. They claimed this is a clear pointer to failure of this government.

“If they have done a lot, may be it’s five per cent. But is that what the country deserves after 24 years in power?” Mr Toterebuka Bamwenda, the Forum for Democratic Change deputy National Secretary for Publicity and Information, said yesterday, “What do we have to be proud of? Let’s not celebrate for the sake of a few individuals who have benefited from this government yet majority of Ugandans are beggars.”

Uganda People’s Congress as well had no kind words for the ruling government. The National Chairman, Mr Yonasani Kanyomozi, dismissed the theme of the day “24 years: A lot has been done, more to be done,” saying there is nothing to celebrate because very little has been achieved.

“A lot has not been achieved. We are the only country in this region that has not stabilised financially; we still depend on donors’ money. More over 60 per cent of the country’s income is in the hands of only 10 percent of our population while the 90 per cent live in sheer poverty,” he said.

The opposition further criticised the government for ‘misusing’ public funds to facilitate NRM party activities instead of investing in fields like education, health and infrastructure that benefit all Ugandans.

“Government should not waste taxpayers’ money to celebrate this day; instead they should invest more in health, education and infrastructural development which are totally in poor shape. The present leadership received grants and loans worth $22billion to particularly develop these areas but little has been achieved.” Mr Toterebuka said.

The Democratic Party (DP) picked on what NRM considers its prime programme of Universal Education saying it has not only been mismanaged but has seen billions wasted as the entire education has “gone to the dogs”.

DP’s deputy spokesperson Fred Mwesigwa said too much money has been misused in the UPE project, money that could have helped in development of other sectors.

“UPE has been a try-and- error method for government and a lot of money has been lost.” Mr Mwesigwa said, adding that the monthly allocation of Shs850 per child is not sent in time and sometimes disappears along the way.

“To make matters worse, students are not provided with lunch in schools which automatically destructs their concentration hence poor grades.”

Democracy snatchers
Mr Mwesigwa further blamed government for denying Ugandans democracy, promoting corruption, unemployment and contributing highly to the decline in the agricultural sector which employs over 80 per cent of Ugandans yet only four per cent of the country’s total income is dedicated to this field.

These, they said should first be put in shape before celebrations.

Today, 24 years ago (1986), the National Resistance Army (NRA) led by Yoweri Museveni captured power from Tito Okello Lutwa after a five-year guerilla war.

This day celebrated as Uganda’s liberation day. The official ceremony is being held in Maluku village in Mbale District.
However, many opposition members have urged their supporters not to waste time in the celebrations but concentrate on their work and to reflect on the misdeeds of the current government and find solutions in preparation for the forthcoming 2011 general elections.