Residents of Busoga have asked National Unity Platform (NUP) candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, to tackle poverty and the sugarcane crisis in the sub-region.
The locals say many people have been impoverished due to limited access to social services, and failure to unite to tackle the problem, which they blame on poor leadership.
“I wish our leaders could help address this matter, most of them are working for themselves and they have done nothing to organise us to fight this problem,” Mr Robert Musoga, a resident, told Daily Monitor yesterday during Bobi Wine’s rally in Mayuge District.
Another local, Mr Juma Bwogi, said many families cannot afford a meal because their fishing activities have been taken over by the army, the coffee prices have fallen from Shs5,000 to Shs700 a kilogramme.
“Our problems are beyond our control because even when you work hard, the politicians are always working to see us impoverished,” Mr Bwogi said.
In response, Bobi Wine pledged to economically empower the sub-region through resumption of cooperatives and creating jobs through industrialisation.
“Once upon time, this region was the most industrialised area not only in Uganda but also in Africa. These industries provided jobs and income for many families,” Bobi Wine said.
“When I become president, I will make sure these industries are revived so that people can become economically empowered, and this poverty will be no more. We need Uganda where everyone is able to provide for their families,” he added. However, Bobi Wine did not explain the strategies he would use to revitalise industrialisation.
After the expulsion of Asians from Uganda in 1972 during the Idi Amin regime, the industrial sector started collapsing because many of the factories were operated by foreigners. The Amin government later took over several foreign firms.
Residents also appealed to leaders to address the fluctuating sugarcane prices and the high cost of acquiring a licence to enable them supply raw materials to the surrounding factories. They claim one has to pay more than Shs2m to be able to be an outgrower and supplier to the factories.
“This has been left to the rich and we, who used to grow the sugarcane, cannot afford these high fees. We don’t have representation at any level,” Mr Erias Munula said.
Bobi Wine promised to ensure that farmers determine their own prices.
According to Busoga Sugarcane Growers Association, the sub-region has 26,500 registered sugarcane farmers who supply more than five million tonnes of unprocessed cane every month to five sugar companies such as GM, Mayuge Sugar, Kaliro Sugar, Kamuli Sugar and Kakira Sugar.
Bobi Wine also addressed a rally in Iganga District where he talked about the same issues. He was set to hold a rally in Bugiri District later in the evening.
Tomorrow, Bobi Wine is expected to address rallies in Butaleja, Tororo and Busia districts.