President Yoweri Museveni has told Bugisu NRM leaders that a vote for him will mean everything will be sorted for their region.
On Tuesday, the NRM presidential candidate, begun his scientific campaigns in the Bugisu sub-region with a meeting for party leaders from Mbale district, Mbale city, Bududa, Manafwa, Namisindwa at Mbale Secondary School grounds in Mbale town.
Speaking to the leaders, Museveni assured them that their demands will be effected in the forthcoming term but said the odds will go up in case they vote him by more than 90%.
“About the jobs for the Bamasaba(people from Bugisu region), I will be looking out and whenever there are some good jobs and there are good Bamasaba, I will be putting them there. That is not a problem. If the Bamasaba vote 90%, the encouragement will be greater,” Museveni said on Tuesday.
The President said there should be an urbanization plan for the Bugisu area basing it on Elgon Mountain but also on the Mbale industrial park that he said can make the people from the region rich.
Explaining the grand plan, Museveni said the mountain and its slopes should have forests that attract tourists to the region whereas the lowland areas should have businesses feeding to the industrial park so that locals can benefit from both.
“We should have a serious urbanization plan where people are in the lowlands around these factories(Mbale industrial park) and tourism continues on the mountain and its steep slopes and the cliffs. You will be having settlements in the lowlands earning the money from the forest mountain,” he said.
The NRM presidential candidate said the same idea is being practiced in countries like Austria and Germany among others that have earned a lot of money.
He cited an example of Germany with over 90 million people that depends on forests found in the countryside whereas the population lives in the towns.
“Over 70% of Japan is a forest with a population of 127 million people and the land is about the size of Uganda or slightly bigger. If they didn’t have the forests, they would not live on those islands because of the strong wind from the Pacific Ocean. It is the trees protecting them.”
According to Museveni, the roots of the trees hold the soil in the mountains to prevent landslides.
The NRM presidential candidate told the NRM leaders from Bugisu that as part of the master plan, the locals should be engaged in activities like vegetable growing, rearing of chicken for eggs, pigs for pork, and cattle for both beef and milk that they can sell to workers in the industrial sector but also to tourists.
He noted that this way, the region would develop, but the people will also have some money in their pockets.
Speaking during a heavy downpour that pounded the Mbale SS grounds, Museveni told the NRM leaders that government can now do everything it wants because of wise decisions that they made that have enabled a number of investments in the country that have not only provided over two million jobs but also taxes.
“The foreigners have helped us create new jobs unlike before when Ugandan were used to government jobs. It is because of this wise decision that Mbale industrial park alone will employ 200,000 people here in Bugisu. We have more than 5000 factories whereas the tax we collect has increased from shs5 billion in 1986 to shs21 trillion,” he said.
Bugisu makes demands
Earlier, leaders from Bugisu sub-region had outlined a number of issues they want the NRM government to implement in the forthcoming term.
Speaking during the meeting, the leaders presented a joint memorandum of understanding to President Museveni in which they highlighted a number of issues.
“We would like government to fully operationalize the Mbale city industrial park because of the immense potential it presents for economic development of the region and beyond. We would like you to support us in the diversification of production at Bugisu Cooperative Union with a view of expanding the line of production for value addition to employ more people and expand the market,” the Mary Goretti Kitutu, the Minister for Energy who is also the NRM flag bearer for Manafwa Woman MP seat told the President.
Kitutu who spoke on behalf of other leaders from Bugisu region said this can be done through provision of farm input credit accessed from the Uganda Development Bank.
The leaders also asked Museveni to consider the expedition of the completion of Lwahkhakha border market to boost trade, adding Munamba- Buumbo- Lwakhakha loop to connect the main road to productive areas in the hill and the tourist site of Chesira cave and Tarajja ya Mungu natural bridge.
Kitutu asked Museveni to work on 300 kilometres of low cost sealed road network which she said will be sufficient to cover the entire Bugisu region.
The leaders also asked the President to work on a combined 49 kilometer road network within Mbale city, extend the Presidential initiative on banana to Bugisu.
At the end of the meeting, the NRM presidential candidate was given a symbolic gift of traditional regalia which included a stool and a spear from the elders of Bugisu sub-region.
In the previous 2016 general election, Bulambuli at 67.87% was the best district to vote for President Museveni followed by Manafwa at 62.36% and Bududa at 60.83% whereas Mbale at 47.2% , the NRM presidential candidate got the least number of votes.
According to experts, whereas the recent granting of Mbale a city status is expected to add more support to the ruling party candidate.