Kasese District’s Challenges are More Than a Cabinet Position for Dr. Chrispus Kiyonga

Edwin Kamalha

By: Edwin Kamalha

The recent cabinet appointments have left much gossip and political tremors in various communities. Maj. Gen Jim Muhwezi and clique have made several threats as to what will happen to his home district, medicine following his fall.

These are similar elsewhere from North to South; West to East. Constantly, health the Western region has been cited to take the vast of the “National Cake” share in reference to cabinet. I have had trouble explaining to some friends, that the western region is, in this context, excludes districts like Kasese.

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In three decades of Museveni’s presidency, Kasese has had a one a man’s show in cabinet; Dr. Kiyonga. In contrast, other regions boast of countless figures. This treads down to other lead positions especially in Government parastatals.

Before the NRM Government, Kasese boasted of a functional railway, a sound industrial base including Kilembe Mines, a strong tourism sector, profound primary schools, a functional airfield, strong cotton and coffee sector, local markets etc. To date, all these are either dead or limping.

The national cake share has left Kasese marginalised, more than many districts can claim. It is not astonishing that the NRM was thumped down in the district, during the recent elections. I have read about many district delegations invading Museveni to lobby for cabinet posts, scholarships, jobs and other special takes.

With speculation of the recent cabinet names, many figures did find emissaries to the appointing authority to state their pleas. From Bushenyi, a delegation went to plead for Otaffire’s re-appointment.

Whether this paid off, is not an issue I can substantiate. The final cabinet list did send shock among many thought to be Museveni’s confidants. Since then, offbeat voices have alluded to some being “semi-gods” to the people they represented.

Lest we forget, but it is a fact that their constituents rejected them, before their master also waned off. This should send a message about their usefulness, rather than rattle around as though cabinet is their lifetime belonging.

To observers, these persons sound useful only where they benefit, rather than serving the people they represent. In normal cases, it would be prudent that the president appoints people who have a popular mandate. For instance, appointing Kahinda Otaffire was in error, if this principle was to apply. His nemesis, Hon. Kahonda would be an ideal candidate for a cabinet post.

In my social circles, there happened a rumour, that “elders” from Kasese had organized a press conference to announce dissatisfaction with the dropping of Dr. Chrispus Kiyonga from cabinet.

I followed many debates, and found majority had no sympathies over the happening. To the ordinary, person, this is a typical selfish attempt. Some have claimed that he was the district’s pillar to development.

Then I would ask, “how?”; What does Dr. Kiyonga have to do with established structures and systems, within which he has to serve? Have we replaced systems with individuals? I then remembered how sectarianism is currently the means to the public feeding basket in Uganda.

It would not be surprising if the Prime Minister hasn’t stepped in some districts ever since he was appointed, but might have officiated on a dozen functions in his home district, in just a few months. We have been told of who sits in the High Command; influencing Government appointments over a time.

Dr. Kiyonga has been in these circles for decades. In all these years, he is pathetically the only known minister from Kasese. This is so deplorable, by standards and measure of equality compared to other regions. If he has been a pillar in the district, as alleged, then he would have had colleagues like we have seen for other regions.

The so-called Kasese elders should focus their energies to more important needs of the district, especially to the president. Kasese, like many other districts, needs revival of public primary and secondary schools. It is now a surprise to read more than ten first grade results in our public primary schools.

What happened with the advent of UPE can only be told by a few. Kasese has no public secondary school to boast of. The old known schools are dying off gradually. They lack sanitary facilities, laboratories, libraries and several essentials.

We hear of an ongoing oil exploration in the country. Kasese is in close proximity to the oil region. There was a proposed construction of an international airport; many were displaced for this operation, but the death of cannot be traced.

Museveni alluded to having sent hundreds on Statehouse scholarships to study oil and gas specialisations. We need to share these proceeds as a nation, not just a few “privileged”.

Where are vocational schools, or even higher institutions of learning in Kasese? We have been marginalised. Why should elders cry foul over Kiyonga when we have bigger needs?

Youth unemployment is at peak. Many youths are at risk of temptation into unlawful activities. As a core producer of cotton and coffee, Government is at better front attracting/directing investments in these subsectors in Kasese. We also have several National parastatals to which many people from Kasese qualify to lead.

Finally, the district is still mourning the regular murder of innocent youths, specifically attached to the Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu. These deliberate extrajudicial killings have not been investigated. The IGP has condoned these killings, purportedly a self-defence act by police and the military.

Government is creating a hostile community towards police and the military. It still stands that the bereaved families can sue Government for these heinous acts against their loved ones.

Many young families have been left behind by these departed young men. It is such atrocities that should be the focus of our so-called elders, rather than take selfish strides in pursuit of cabinet appointment for Dr. Kiyonga.

The writer is a resident of Kasese district, lecturer at Busitema University currently on PhD study in France.


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