Tuesday April 23 2013

Activists attack Museveni over cash donation

By SOLOMON ARINAITWE

KAMPALA

Anti-corruption activists and opposition parties have criticised President Museveni over the Shs250 million donated to youth in Busoga.

They said it was a “horrible, awful and primitive campaign gimmick ahead of the 2016 elections”.
Mr Museveni was also faulted for not following the set-out procedures of fulfilling presidential pledges when he dished out the money, stacked in a sack, to the Busoga Youth Forum chairman, Mr Sanoni Bwire at Kaliro District headquarters on Saturday.

Mr Wafula Oguttu, the spokesman of the country’s largest opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change, yesterday insinuated at a possible correlation between such donations and the ever increasing State House expenditure.

He argued that the funding should instead be budgeted for under the President’s office.
“The principle [of poverty alleviation] is fine but the government announced a scheme where the youth are supposed to get money through normal government procedures and not the president throwing money at the youth,” Mr Oguttu said.

Parliament recently received a request for an additional Shs138.1 billion in “emergency” spending for State House, a move that will push the State House budget to a record Shs204.1billion. Donations are mentioned under some of the unforeseen expenditures that the additional funding will bankroll.

Mr Museveni’s spokesman, however, made a swift rejoinder to suggestions that the donation was a campaign ploy, saying the opposition and civil society concerns are a sign of an “obsession with 2016.” Yesterday, Mr Joseph Bbosa, the UPC vice-president, referred to the donation as “a sign of impunity” “It is a sign that Museveni has reached a stage where he cannot differentiate between party money, government money and his personal money,” Mr Bbosa said.

Ms Cissy Kagaba, the executive-director of Anti-Corruption Coalition –Uganda, raised accountability questions over the donation. “If he gave out money in sacks, how is it going to be accounted for?” Ms Kagaba said.
Presidential spokesman Tamale Mirundi yesterday accused the opposition of contradictions saying they have always criticised the government for not helping the youth.

“I have a very low opinion of those people. If you buy something for a baby girl, does it mean that you want to marry her. 2016 is very far, unlike them who are obsessed with 2016, the President has many things to do than 2016,”Mr Mirundi said.

saruinaitwe@ug.nationmedia.com

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