President Museveni has explained why he dished out ‘brown envelopes’ to persons he met and interacted with during the just concluded 195km trek.
The President made the remarks during a press conference yesterday at Birembo Technical Institute in Kakumiro District
Mr Museveni said he had decided to dish out the envelopes to the elderly because those of 70 years and above, are among other things, physically drained and cannot actively engage in the other poverty alleviation programmes initiated by his government to benefit former Bush War fighters.
“Those people you saw I was giving some little support to are mainly 70 [years old] and above. They are no longer able to participate in those programmes, yet they were part of the people who either supported us or were actively involved [in the 1980 to 1986 Bush War]. So when they come where I am, it is not correct [for me] to just pass by and go on [and] knowing that I will not come back after a long time,” Mr Museveni said.
“So that is why I said for these ones, I give something small to them. That was the rationale. The other groups have other [poverty alleviation] channels of dealing with the poverty in their homes,” he added.
The President’s explanation comes after widely shared videos on social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, showed him dishing out envelope after envelope during his 195km trek. Most of the recipients were people he met on the way in the trek.
The specific contents in the envelopes were not disclosed but they are largely believed to be containing unspecified amounts of money.
Why he didn’t walk all the way
President Museveni also said he decided to drive for a large part of the trek and only walked in the areas he called tough, like hills, because he needed to bond with his people he would take long to get back to.
“We could not walk all the way because we were a bit busy, holding meetings, meetings! It was [not like] that time when we had only to fight. Then at night, now we are walking during the day. The people are waiting for us. I am not going to pass by them and say I am just walking. Ebyo bya katemba. I cannot pass by people. People would think that I am mad,” Mr Museveni said.
The President said the walk is symbolic and purposed to help, among other things, reignite the contact he had with his Bush War comrades and relatives of those who fought.
“Yes, I am walking symbolically to educate, especially in the difficult sections [of the trek], in the hills. Fortunately, in the hills people don’t live there. So it is actually convenient. Even when in places where I stopped, I would spend a lot of time sorting out some issues,” Ms Museveni said.
About the 195km trek
This year’s trek comes 21 years after the previous one in 1999.
In the trek, President Museveni set out to retrace the National Resistance Army (NRA) guerilla bases in the Luweero Triangle, starting off from Galamba Forests in Wakiso District to Birembo in Kakumiro District.
This idea was then reawakened by senior presidential advisor in charge of National Resistance Army archives, Ms Alice Kaboyo.
The six-day long trek started last Saturday at Galamba in Masuliita in Wakiso District and was concluded on Thursday at Birembo in Kakumiro District.
Led by President Museveni, the winding walk took the trekkers through the seven districts of Wakiso, Nakaseke, Mityana, Kiboga, Kasanda, Mubende and Kakumiro.