KAYUNGA. Youth leaders have given the Minister of State for Information and Communications Technology, Ms Idah Nantaba, a one week ultimatum to handover “their property” which they say were donated to them by President Museveni in 2013.
The youth claim Ms Nantaba hijacked a soap and cooking oil factory, a tractor and the two vehicles that were donated to them by the President to create jobs and fight poverty.
They claim Ms Nantaba, who is also the Kayunga District Woman MP, was entrusted with the property but she seized them, adding that within a short time, the factory closed due to a shortage of raw materials.
The chairperson of Uganda Youth Forum, eastern region branch, Ms Ritah Namwenge, told journalists at the weekend: “I am going to make a report which I will present to the youth desk in the Office of the President. However, I ask the minister to hand over the property before we take further action.”
Ms Namwenge said they intervened in the matter after Kayunga District youth went to State House, complaining about being neglected by President Museveni only to be told that they were given Shs4b which was used to construct a factory, buy a tractor and two vehicles.
When contacted, Ms Nantaba dismissed the allegations levelled against her by the youth, saying they are being used by her political rivals.
“I have never seized their property,” Ms Nantaba said on telephone.
Recently, senior presidential press secretary Don Wanyama said State House would carry out an investigations into the alleged mismanagement of the factory, but the inquiry is yet to start.
The factory which was commissioned by President Museveni, closed one month later due to shortage of raw materials such as sunflower seeds. It is located in Bukolooto Trading Centre, Kayunga District.
Mr Ivan Kayemba, the Kayunga District youth chairperson, said the youth in the district are preparing a petition over the matter, which they will present to the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga.
The youth and local leaders in the district have asked State House to investigate the minister.
In an earlier interview, Ms Nantaba admitted that the factory hit a snag. She said initially the plan was to buy the raw materials from other areas such as Soroti, Pallisa, Kaberamaido and some parts of Busoga sub-region, where the needed raw materials are cultivated, but it was not cost-effective to do so because of the high costs involved, including transporting the raw materials to the factory .
“We are now looking at the option of assisting farmers in Kayunga and neighbouring districts to grow oil crops so that we can buy from them at a low cost,” Ms Nantaba said.