“I look at Uganda as my family and I don’t have to do politics among them to develop them. Don’t deceive them with sweets. We have a budget which all these members of parliament and ministers are party to because it is a public document,” he warned.
“We are concentrating on three things, electricity generation, roads and security. We have set aside one trillion shillings for Karuma Dam and will add on it gradually. We will see how to handle the issue of compensation not only in Teso but also in Acholi and Lango,” he said
He added: “The problem we have is poor leaders always bent on telling esabet (lies). If we don’t spend on building Karuma Dam and instead use that money to pay compensation, what will happen? It’s true everyone will have goats and cows but not all our children will look after those animals as their jobs. We shall do the compensation according to the capacity of our economy.”
Teso Cultural leaders led by the Emorimor, papa Augustine Lemukol Osuban under their umbrella body, the Iteso Cultural Union, had raised various issues including compensation for their animals lost during the war.
The President clarified that this is not compensation but restocking.
“Who ate those cows, to compensate? It was the Karimojong and people like Omeda, why should I compensate you when I was the one fighting to get rid of the Karimojong and the rebels. It is only because of cheap popularity that people use the word compensation. Government will restock, not compensate,” he said.
Votes for money
The President was particularly irked by leaders who sell their property including houses to look for votes.
“Why sell a house for votes. We brought democracy but these people can’t handle democracy, they are so dishonest. How do you tell voters that you will pay school fees for their children etc..leaders are supposed to show the way, not carry voters on their heads,” he said.
On the issue of the citrus factory for the region, the President said the Shs5bn shillings facility is in the processes and land has already been identified in Industry Park in Soroti, adding however that the type of citrus for juice and the capacity of the available fruits was not enough to satisfy production.
The region has five million citrus trees with a tonnage of 600 capacity per annum. He said government is now working on providing the right seedlings for citrus juice as it puts the final touches on the start of construction for the facility.
The President cautioned the people on the choice of their leaders after complaints by the cultural union that a businessman one Ochen tricked families in the Parish of Gweri to sign off their land, claiming that President Museveni is going to steal it and that he needed their signatures to engage the lawyers to fight him.
After the war, however, the man claimed the land as his own saying he bought it and has threatened them with eviction.
“I will send my lawyers to come and rescue those people. That man received the land title by fraud. Please tell your people that elections are not a joke. This is the time elected leaders should help the people but they just look on when everybody is cheating the ordinary person,” he said.
He urged leaders to mobilize their people to fence off their land.
The leaders were yesterday meeting President Yoweri Museveni at his country home in Rwakitura, Kiruhura district.
They offered Agu public land in Kumi district for a prospective sugar industry, saying the region is in urgent need of industries for jobs.
‘We want to pursue joint efforts with government to fight poverty in our region. Cultural institutions are more concerned with preserving values and morals but we want to be more involved in fighting poverty,” Emorimor Osuban said.
The leaders say an industry of this magnitude will not only provide sugar production for the country and the region but will also produce electricity, carbon credit selling and offer incomes for a growing number of the young population.
Prof. Olila Deo who presented the cultural union’s development plan to the President said their union is interested in partnering with investors to develop Agu land currently used as grazing land to create jobs for their people.
They also want to hold an annual Teso Heritage Day in December to celebrate culture, language, dance and food traditions.
They also requested for support towards building the palace for their leader. The leaders hailed government for its support for a fully fledged university and for restoring peace and security in the region.
The meeting was attended by the Minister of State for Teso Affairs, Amogin Aporu.