Bush-war hero Gen Elly Tumwiine has lashed out at Ugandans including politicians and key decision making technocrats who sideline people with disabilities (PWDs) thus holding them back from realizing their full potential and dreams.
Gen Tumwiine noted with concern on Tuesday that many disabled persons continue to be stigmatized and locked outside various government development programs.
Presiding over the first International Inclusive Micro finance Conference in Kampala, Tumwiine advised all Ugandans to bear in mind that every person is a potential PWD.
“In any case, we are all disabled in a way or another. Each human being has a limitation in life: temporary or permanent, physical or mental. No one is perfect and we are not equal. We have no reason to treat our brothers differently because of their defects,” stressed Tumwiine.
Speaking at the conference, Chairman National Union of Disabled Persons (NUDIP) Mr Henry Nyombi enlisted a number of areas in which government had left PWDs to the wolves.
Nyombi noted that most politicians and key decision makers in government still held a generic negative attitude toward PWDs, and kept them out of policies and development programs like NAADS.
Gen Tumwiine, a UPDF representative in parliament told the conference that a number of people, despite their disabilities held remarkable talents and potential that ought not to be left untapped.
He narrated to the participants how he got injured in the first year of the guerrilla war that ushered in the current NRM government, but still remained relevant and rose to greater heights in the army ranks to this date.
Tumwiine was shot and lost his right eye in November 1981 as the Gen Museveni commanded NRA in the Luweero triangle.
He narrated: “I took a serious risk getting treatment at Mulago Hospital under the nose of the government we were fighting. When I got back to the bush, my colleagues held a meeting and suggested that I fly out for more treatment. But I had relatively recovered.”
He went on, “I told our commander (Museveni) that we herdsmen, when you get injured and you don’t have any one to hand the cows to, you don’t leave them. You have to stay until you get someone to leave the animals with.
With that I was able to stay in the bush and participate with everyone else and later become the commander of the Forces.”
The two-day conference was organized to chart ways of enhancing inclusion of PWDs in access to Micro finance services in the country.