President Yoweri Museveni who is also the NRM presidential candidate has once again commented on the protests that broke out in various town centres across the country after the arrest of National Unity Platform’s Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine.
The protests that happened over a week ago saw over 40 people dead and many others injured as security tried to calm the situation.
Speaking to NRM leaders from Sironko and Bulambuli districts at Masaba Secondary School grounds in Sironko, Museveni said the protests had been pre-planned.
“The other day when I was in Karamoja, I heard that some of the groups who have actually been talking about it for many months and how they are going to disturb the country and the elections started. First of all by provoking and refusing to listen to regulations on this dangerous disease and exposing people to danger,”Museveni said.
The tough-talking President who seemed incensed by the protesters for the first time mentioned Bobi Wine’s name in the same sentence with the riots.
“When the police tried to stop Bobi Wine, the planned riots started people were ringing me in Karamoja that I should stop my meeting but I said no it will be handled.”
The President said he was not bothered by the riots because he knew the country has a robust security apparatus that could handle the situation.
“I told them no, it will be handled and you will see. They were attacking people with yellow uniforms but I said very soon they will lose that appetite. I was sure we had the structure and capacity to stop any trouble in the country. We built that(capacity) because we didn’t take the other route of looking at people’s tribes and religion( while recruiting).”
Flanked by her daughter Natasha Karugire who accompanied him during the Thursday meeting, Museveni without mentioning anyone’s name blasted “some people” who bring the issue of youths whenever leading the country is mentioned.
“Some people think we talk of young biologically. Here(politics) we are not talking a laboratory of tadpoles and cockroaches and looking at young species. We are in the laboratory of management. We are in the centre for the skills of management of society. Whether you are young or old, you should have those skills. They have nothing to do with age but more with exposure and willingness to learn,” the President said.
He insisted that the post-independence government which had young people failed and was the experiment that Uganda went through with young people, a thing he said cannot be repeated.
“If you want an experiment, you had it in 1962 because all those leaders were young. There was no old leader except Nadiope. They were all young but failed and part of the problem was this thinking of sectarianism.”
At the campaign meeting, the leaders from the area asked the President to create two new districts of Elgon and Budadiri from Bulambuli and Sironko.
The Energy Minister, Mary Goretti Kitutu who spoke on behalf of other leaders asked the NRM presidential flag bearer to help in the relocation of people from the slopes of the mountains which are prone to landslides.
President Museveni told the NRM leaders that due to wise decisions, the amount of money collected as taxes has increased over the years and that there is nothing government cannot do currently.
“You should now tell people that because of these actions (wise decisions), we have achieved a lot. We now have enough money and what we need now is distributing resources well. That is why you should elect MPs who will help in well distribution,” he said.
Museveni however noted that the remaining problem is people who work for only their stomachs and forget to have something in the pockets.
“We cant only depend on rich foreigners but our own people must also wake up to become part of the rich group. Working for the stomach is a big problem. I have been challenging leaders especially MPs to go parish by parish, do census and find how many people are working for their stomachs and begin to plan for them. The first solution is waking the people to start working for pockets,” he said.
He noted government will inject more money into programs like Emyooga, Operations Wealth Creation and youth fund which are aimed at ensuring people can create wealth for themselves.
The President’s campaign meeting in Sironko was also attended by the newly enthroned leader of Bamasaba Cultural Institution, Inzu Ya Masaaba Umukukha III , Dr Mike Mudoma.