The Third Deputy Prime Minister and Minister without Portfolio, Rt Hon. Rukia Nakadama Isanga has accused some politicians and technocrats in Busoga of frustrating development in the sub-region.
During an extraordinary meeting with the leaders of Busoga sub-region that was held in Jinja City on Wednesday, Rt Hon. Nakadama revealed that some erroneous actions like greed and corruption by leaders have contributed much to the high levels of poverty and several breakdown in service delivery especially in health,infrastructure development and governance.
“It’s our noble duty as political leaders and technocrats to meet our people’s expectations in terms of service delivery. NRM government focuses on guidelines such as cohesion, fighting corruption, patriotism, proper service delivery to the people and regional integration. However, what is happening in Busoga is rather a cultural shock. The sub-region is suffering because we the leaders and our people have deviated from the NRM guidelines,” she said.
“Busoga is ranked among the poorest sub-regions in Uganda despite being among the most endowed areas in the country.”
Mrs. Nakadama who is also the Mayuge District Woman Member of Parliament also underscored the need for a Special program for Busoga, saying that it will help to transform lives of people in the sub region.
Some of the leaders in Busoga sub region in the meeting
“Other areas like Luwero, Karamoja and Northern Uganda have special programs but Busoga which is suffering from high levels of poverty has never been considered. With such program, a good number of people living in abject poverty will be drastically reduced since they will be engaged in development programs,” she opined.
The Minister for Presidency, Hon. Babirye Milly Babalanda, said the high level meeting was premised on finding solutions to the problems affecting the people of Busoga.
“Why are our people in Busoga living in abject poverty? We are here to analyze challenges hindering service delivery, causes of high levels of poverty in Busoga and we come up with solutions to those problems.Leadership is about sharing ideas and finding solutions to the problem problems affecting our people,” Hon. Babalanda, who was the Chief convener of the meeting, said.
The Minister also disclosed that lack of teamwork amongst leaders was hindering development in the Eastern sub region of Uganda.
Minister Babalanda addressing leaders in Busoga
“As leaders, we should work towards promoting the welfare of the people of Busoga. Challenges are there but we have to move on regardless… Sensitize our people to undertake money making activities like fish farming, mushroom growing, piggery for those who are not Muslims, poultry, cassava growing among others. Such activities will help to boost our household incomes,” Hon. Babalanda added.
The Senior Presidential Advisor on poverty Alleviation in Busoga, Mrs Florence Mutyabule called for concerted efforts in the fight against destitution.
“Fighting poverty in Busoga is a process which needs time. It cannot be solved by talking once; we should always deliberate on several ways on how to overcome it.We want to now move as a team. His Excellency the President wants us to move and work as a team as far as solving this issue is concerned,”Mrs. Mutyabule noted.
On the issue of a special program for Busoga, the Presidential Advisor disclosed that the program is already in place and that it’s under the Ministry for Luwero Triangle headed by Hon. Alice Kaboyo.
“Recently we met and she gave us the highlight for the budget which is Shs7.7 billion but due to financial constraints, this financial year we got Shs4.3 billion,” she remarked.
Namutumba District Woman MP, Hon. Mariam Naigaga attributed the cause of poverty in the sub region to poor service delivery by the leaders.
“It’s leaders to blame, we are letting Busoga down.It’s high time each district sorted the issue of service delivery,” Hon. Naigaga advised.
The Namayingo Resident District Commissioner, Mrs. Mugerwa Deborah Mwesigwa said inorder to deal with the issue of poverty in the sub region, as leaders they should first work on their mindset as well as that of the people they lead.
“We should change the mindset starting from the leaders. Government has invested alot of money in Busoga but still nothing has changed. We should invest money in capacity building before we give it out for development programs,” Mrs. Mwesigwa said.
“Cultural beliefs like a man shouldn’t be with one wife have also brought trouble to us. Many men have failed to improve their standards of living due to polygamy,” she added.
Hajji Uthman Ssebaduka, the Kamuli Municipal Clerk stressed that a good number of people in Busoga have failed to embrace government development programs such as Emyooga and Parish Development Model (PDM), thus citing it as one of the reasons as to why many locals are below the poverty line.
“It’s nolonger news that when it comes to poverty, Karamoja comes first, Teso then Busoga. It’s really annoying. As leaders we should talk to our people so that we devise means to overcome this poverty,” he stated.
On the other hand, Mr. Ismail Kyeyago, an Opinion leader from Iganga District said Busoga was not poor as it was being portrayed.
He said the sub-region was earning over Sh3 billion everyday from sugarcane and that the people especially the youth were benefiting from Shs400 million from activities associated with the growing of the crop.
“We can use the cane value chain to improve our livelihoods in Busoga.Stakeholders should guide on how best we can benefit from the crop because it’s a treasure to Busoga,” Mr. Kyeyago added.
Dr. Daniel Ssekiboobo Isabirye, the Senior Presidential Advisor-Research, RDC Secretariat highlighted that bad politics was the main cause of poverty in Busoga.
“Proper leadership is the answer to do away with poverty. All national leaders should have one voice, they should not be disconnected from the local issues. Leaders should be able to communicate to the President with a single voice of the Busoga people,” he advised.
“We need a committee structure whose duty is to follow up the milestone and remind ourselves on what should be done. Food insecurity is also still a very big element in keeping Busoga in poverty.It’s not possible to make people rich when they are still buying food for survival.”
According to the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) in July this year, Busoga was ranked among the poorest sub regions in the country.
The Ubos statisticians said the MPI is the measure of the multiple deprivations that poor people face in the areas of education, health, and living standards and employment, unlike the Income Poverty Index, which only measures financial resources.
While presenting the report, Mr Vincent Ssenono, a principal statistician at Ubos, said Karamoja Sub-region topped as the poorest with 85 percent of the 1.2 million people in the area experiencing multidimensional poverty.
Karamoja is followed by Acholi (64 percent), West Nile (59 percent), Lango (57 percent) and Teso (55.6 percent).
Kigezi Sub-region is less poor than Teso, with a rate of 48 percent, followed by Bunyoro (45.7 percent), Tooro (45.5 percent), Busoga (45 percent), Ankole (42.6 percent), Bukedi (42 percent), and Elgon (40.5 percent).
The meeting was attended by MPs, RDCs/RCCs, LCV Chairpersons, Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs), DISOs, Security heads, Mayors, Town Clerks among other leaders in Busoga Sub region.
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