By Isaac Opolot
Parliament has been discussing the disturbing report about the abuse of funds meant for recovery in Northern Uganda under the Office of the Prime Minister. It is indeed saddening to learn of such huge theft of funds meant to help northern Uganda recover.
The prime minister in his address to Parliament over this report acknowledged the theft and told Parliament so far three convictions have been secured, others have refunded the money, more files are further being investigated by the Police plus the fact that the anti-corruption court is fully back in action. It should, therefore, be everybody's prayer that the culprits are put to book.
But one particular thing about this saga that is attracting my attention is the MPs baying for the blood of Pius Bigirimana (a former permanent secretary Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) who was transferred to the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development) why would MPs not understand that Bigirimana is not a suspect in this saga but rather a witness who could help in the investigations given the fact that he several times reported the abuse of funds at OPM by some individuals but no action was taken as the individuals (thieves) were protected by some mighty people.
Infact Bigirimana should be left to perform his work at the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development where he is currently busy trying to help the youth alleviate poverty and unemployment.
He arrived at the ministry when the youth had lost focus and interest in the ministry. Then he started by organising the youth leadership which was torn apart by intrigue and bickering.
He went ahead and authored the youth livelihood project which was wonderfully approved by Parliament. This project will see the Government allocate more than sh250b to the youth across the country.
This money is in fact higher than money received by some ministries in a financial year. It shall be a revolving fund, which is interest free which youths shall directly receive in their group accounts. But the exciting features about this project are:
• It is interest free
• No collateral shall be required for a group to acquire these funds. This favours youth who, in most cases, lack collateral.
• It shall also not come back to the ministry or the treasury.
• It shall be sent direct to the beneficiaries account to avoid being corrupted.
• There is transport for monitoring of this project from national (vehicles) to district (motorcycles) up to sub county (bicycle) levels. It is also demand driven so it will enable youth do what they do best.
• It is demand driven so it will enable youths do what they do best.
Training the youth about the livelihood project have already kick started and we are reliably informed that by June this year, all the districts shall have received these funds.
This project is good in that it will help scale down the rate of unemployment amongst the youth, reduce poverty levels and improve income of youths.
It is, therefore, my appeal as a youth that MPs who want to interdict Bigirimana should think about we the youth who are the majority yet many unemployed and with low income levels.
Bigirimana should be left to perform his duties normally; he is working in the interests of Ugandans. He may be one of the reasons youth will vote for NRM and President Museveni in 2016.
The writer is the NRM youth leader for Bukedea