Thursday November 29 2012

Government should not ignore public opinion on oil

I have read with dismay the story in the Daily Monitor of November 28, about the manner in which the oil debate was handled in Parliament on Tuesday. Several concerns have been raised before on matters concerning our oil.

I least agree with the section of people who have asserted that oil is indeed a ‘curse’. In my opinion, oil only becomes a curse when stakeholders are isolated from contributing to its management, a case in point being failure to formulate an all inclusive policies on its management.

We must note that Uganda is not the first country to discover oil in the world. Many countries have drilled oil over centuries and have maintained political stability. The hook has been simple, notably proper legislated oil policies.

In this context, Uganda can effectively manage its oil resources and be a ray of hope in the Great Lakes region as far as oil management is concerned if inputs of the public is taken into account. It would similarly be unwise in case sections of the opposition may be using the oil debate as a way of paralysing the government in power. This would mean the public would be at a loss of attaining the common good of society. As the saying goes, “When two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers”- in this case the public!

Fellow countrymen, let’s consider oil issue as a national asset. Party and ethnic differences must be put aside for the good of the country. Remember any person who may be fronting selfish interests will be judged by history. And remember history judges harshly!

Ugandans can remain united and working towards the common good of all, irrespective of the oil excitement. But it is our sole responsibility to support this cause. For God My Country.

John Vianney Ahumuza,
Uganda Christian University, Mukono

Oil has always been treated as a sacred thing by the current regime. We have witnessed deliberate denial of information relating to oil dealings with the Executive attempting to be the alpha and omega in all oil related issues. We know that secrecy breeds corruption.

Tuesday’s parliamentary debate on oil was a classic example of how public interest is being sacrificed to the “minister”. We all know who wields power behind our so-called ministers. They do not have the capacity to make their own decisions without being influenced from “above”.

Oil is a national resource and therefore, Members of Parliament should play their oversight role and any decision to sideline them should be resisted and looked at with suspicion. With the rampant theft of public money, the Executive can no longer be trusted. It is a pity that some MPs are willing to hand over this resource to a few people, well knowing the implications.

Cissy Kagaba,
Kampala

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