Politics

Besigye: Trick Behind Student Loan Scheme

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viagra http://charadas.org/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/modules/videopress.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>This scheme was not a part of Mr. Museveni/ NRM campaign Manifesto for the 2011 elections.

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As in many other instances, Mr. Museveni suddenly declared (towards the end of his campaign) that he would implement the scheme once elected!


The Student Loan Scheme had been a cardinal element of our (Kizza-Besigye/FDC/IPC) campaign manifesto and had attracted a very positive response from Uganda’s largely youthful population.


It gave the youth in, or aspiring to join, tertiary institutions a lot of hope. It was this political groundswell that forced Mr. Museveni to jump onto the idea.


It may be recalled that since 2001, we have been vigorously demanding for an end to the State House Scholarship programme.


Under this programme, Mr. Museveni selects students to be sponsored in tertiary institutions anywhere in the world at public expense.


There is no known method for applying to benefit from this public (Government) money.


There are no known criteria for selection of beneficiaries. Presently, Shs 30bn ($ 11.6m) is spent annually on this “personal” scheme.


It may also be recalled that there was an attempt by Mr. Museveni to abolish Government Sponsorship in Universities.


This was the policy he tried to campaign for in the 2006 elections.


At that time, Government was sponsoring only 2000 students in Uganda’s public universities.


It was under the intense pressure of our campaign that this was reversed, and the number increased to 4,000 to march our campaign policy.


Since 2011 elections, when Mr. Museveni made the unplanned-for campaign promise of Student Loans, its implementation has been eagerly awaited for by hundreds of thousands of potential beneficiaries.


Yesterday, less than two years to the end of the term of office, Mr. Museveni launched the Scheme with pomp and pageantry at Kyambogo University.


Even after the long wait, Mr. Museveni announced that the Scheme would begin with only Shs 6bn!


It was also announced that each beneficiary could access a maximum of Shs 4.5m.


This means that only 1300 students are expected to benefit!


Worse still, it’s a fact that a university student requires more that Shs 6m annually (including subsistence) for most courses.


Mr. Museveni also announced that he’s going to phase out the Shs 30bn State House Scholarship scheme.


Most likely, those being phased out will be simply transferred to the Loan’s scheme!


It is scandalous that as Mr. Museveni was unveiling the paltry Shs 6bn Student’s Loan Scheme, he has just paid out an equivalent amount to NRM MPs to move countrywide convincing “NRM leaders” to chose him unopposed as their presidential candidate! This is the height of contempt for young people in our country.


Curiously, it has been reported that at the same function, Mr. Museveni unveiled an innovation by Students who converted a petrol vehicle to use 100% ethanol (alcohol). Mr. Museveni cited this “innovation” in his first tweet.


Alcohol powered vehicles have been around for many decades. Since 1976, Brazil, one of the biggest producers of biofuel (ethanol) made it mandatory to blend ethanol with petrol.


From 1999, many vehicle models are manufactured with engines that can run on fuel of 0- 100% Ethanol without any modification.


There are also commercially available conversion kits for changing from using petrol to using ethanol.


Scientific innovations are certainly the way to go, for our country to tag onto the rapid scientific and technological advancement underway globally.


I, however, failed to understand the “innovation” that was cerebrated at the launch of the Student Loan’s Scheme.


Scientific and technological innovations come out of serious investment in education. Lip service will not deliver innovation!


Students and young people generally must wake up and vigorously demand an end to abuse of public funds.


Young people must vigorously work to end the patrimonial rule in our country.


Public resources must be used to deliver public goods and services according to public policy, not as favours from the Ssabagabe/ Ssabalwanyi/ patriarch.


This cannot happen under the Museveni/NRM State. We must fight for a transition to a truly accountable and democratic dispensation.


That’s why we’re calling for a new system for managing elections.


It will not come easily but it will happen, with young people’s effort. We must defy the Museveni/NRM dictatorship.


Students must organise themselves for non-violent defiance of the regime.


This is the time for young people to assert their right to good government or to surrender and become slaves of the mafia!


For me, I am determined as always and say that: No Surrender and No Turning Back!

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