Museveni slams MPs for “forgetting” the youth

President Museveni (R) inspects some of the equipment that were donated to youth groups. PPU photo

Kampala- President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday slammed Members of Parliament who are always bent on fighting for their salaries and those of civil servants instead of allocating adequate money to priorities that can help grow the economy.

The president says that if MPs were not only thinking about their salaries and those of civil servants, the budget allocation for youth development would have been increased at least from the current Shs50 billion to about Shs300 billion.

“You the youth have been electing selfish and false leaders. They would be putting emphasis on prioritising funds that can help youth and women but when they reach Parliament they put emphasis on [their] salaries. So they disturb me,” he said. “You the youth are keeping quiet without demanding this from your MPs. You only shout Togikwatako.”

On average, a legislator gets Shs20 million per month on top of other benefits and allowances.

“Togikwatako” is a popular slogan used by politicians and activists opposed to the proposed amendment of Article 102 (b) of the Constitution that caps the age limit for presidential candidates at 75 years.

Mr Museveni, 73, would not qualify to contest in 2021 unless the article is deleted from the Constitution.

Mr Museveni was speaking at the National Museum in Kampala where he handed over equipment valued at Shs800 million to 76 Jua Kali groups benefiting from the Youth Capital Venture Fund under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

Mr Museveni said: “You are not using the power and freedom NRM gave to you to elect MPs who would lobby for you. So, use your big numbers to discipline your MPs so that they can work with me to see how to allocate funds for roads, electricity and youth projects.”

The 76 groups that received equipment for agro-processing, automobile repairing, metal fabrication brick laying and carpentry, were drawn from Kampala, Mukono, Wakiso and Mpigi districts.

Mr Museveni said that through putting to good use the donated equipment, the youth in Uganda will begin displaying enough products like clothes, shoes, artificial hair for women, wines and perfumes on the local market to save Uganda from spending $7 billion to import them annually.

“Let us start with this equipment and put them to good use to get out products that we have been buying expensively from China, India and South Africa. With time, we shall also innovate to manufacture these machines from home so that we don’t enrich the jobs markets and tax base of rich countries,” Mr Museveni said.

The Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms Janat Mukwaya said the Youth Capital Venture Fund is one of the pillars of the green job programme that was launched in 2016.

“The Jua Kali groups receiving equipment today are under the Youth capital venture one of the ten pillars of the green jobs programme. We procured this equipment after a survey that was conducted across the country where we chose the 78 groups to start with,” Ms Mukwaya said.