POVERTY, SURGING POPULATION, IMPUNITY FUELING LAND CONFLICT
The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) would like to once again caution Mr. Museveni against employing populist measures to resolve land conflicts in the country. His latest aggressive and unrelenting attack on the country’s land tenure system is causing unnecessary tension and insecurity. He should forthwith stop politicizing land problems in the country.
The content of his recent statement to the NRM leaders in which he attacked mailo land tenure system and declared Buganda Land Board illegal, should be ignored because it is a recipe for violence and will drive the population into breaking the law.
The first time, Uganda carried out a population census was 1969 and we were 9.5 million people. We became 12.6 million in 1980 and 16.6 million in 1991, six years after Museveni had seized power. The 2014 census put our population at 34.6 million people and with an annual growth rate of 3percent, we are projected to be 44 million people today.
Population numbers and growth is therefore the main source of pressure on land. That is what a sane leader and government must be dealing with. Even if you confiscate land from the Kabaka of Buganda and all mailo land owners like the Church and redistributed it, tension and conflicts will remain because of the sheer size of the population. The country’s fertility rate at 5.8% (number of births per woman) remains one of the highest in the world.
And according to latest UBOS figures, poverty levels grew to 21% percent (8 million people).
With a growing population, a big percentage of it poor and with impunity of well-connected people, evictions and land conflicts can only increase. Museveni alone occupies eight villages in Gomba for his Kisozi ranch, miles of land he didn’t have 30 years ago.
Museveni should act as an example of his land policy by subdividing his Kisozi and Rwakitura miles of land and distribute it to the landless.
The solution to our land problems is partly industrialization and growth of service and other sectors. Museveni should be embarrassed to rule a country for 35 years and 68% of its population remain in subsistence farming.
REGIONAL CONFLICTS AND VIOLENCE
At least five neighbouring countries (regional); DRC Congo , South Sudan, Sudan (Khartoum), Ethiopia and Somalia are experiencing violence resulting from unresolved governance issues.
The common denominator is that all these countries were once ruled by life presidents; Gen. Al-Bashir in Sudan (30 years), Mobutu Sese Seko of Congo (25 years), Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia (17 years), Siad Barre of Somalia (21 years).
All these leaders were removed from power creating a vacuum because the removal affected institutions of the state that had been affected by the life presidency.
The FDC would like to advise Museveni once again to begin a dialogue that should result into peaceful transfer of power if Uganda is to avoid the Congo, Sudan and Somalia situations.
As a party, we will be willing to participate in an honest genuine dialogue that will save our country from violent change of government, the only realistic option remaining to end Museveni’s rule.
It is possible to avoid violence if Museveni tames his appetite for power. The population is desperate and no amount of handouts through Myoga, Parish model will stop a pending explosion. Only dialogue and a peaceful transfer of power will.
MANAGEMENT OF COVID VACCINATION
The FDC is concerned with continued lack of clarity on vaccine procurement and manufacturing. Museveni has maintained throughout the pandemic period that his government is working on manufacturing Covid vaccines. Yet at the same time, the same Museveni is requisitioning for money to buy vaccines.
The Minister for Science and Technology, a presidential advisor on Covid is running a Presidential Initiate on Vaccine Manufacturing and already she has been given Shs 31 billion to manufacture a vaccine.
The same Minister Dr. Musenero wants an additional Shs 50 billion through a supplementary for vaccine manufacturing. And by end of December the projection is that the country will have received vaccines for 11 million people.
Also about Shs 560 billion is budgeted for to buy vaccines. The FDC is concerned Covid is being turned into an enterprise to make money by Museveni and his agents.
We therefore welcome a parliamentary inquiry into the use of billions for vaccine manufacturing under Veterinary Doctor Musenero. And if the vet is clean, let her run to the select committee of Parliament and not State House.
And if Museveni didn’t partake of this money, let him not yell at Parliament. He should if it is in his interest ask to appear before the committee to explain his participation.
The relationship between Dr. Musenero and the health sector is also a point concern. Museveni said, the health sector refused to employ his veterinary doctor. May be it is the reason he took her to State House. How with that history revealed, the two ministers work in order to produce a vaccine.
Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda