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President did not bribe MPs

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th September 2011 03:00 AM

AS follow-up of the earlier meetings between the President and the NRM Caucus over the state of the economy, which would among others, include high commodity prices, recently, the President took the initiative to invite the NRM Caucus to his country home in Rwakitura to find quick and lasting solutions to the economic impasse.

By Patrick Nakabale

AS follow-up of the earlier meetings between the President and the NRM Caucus over the state of the economy, which would among others, include high commodity prices, recently, the President took the initiative to invite the NRM Caucus to his country home in Rwakitura to find quick and lasting solutions to the economic impasse.

High on the agenda was consumer prices of sugar which has once again slid back to satanic proportions.

There are some lies and distortions emanating from this Rwakitura meeting that I would want to put clear. The most egregious of such lies, as propagated, is that Museveni cajoled us with hefty bribes to sign-up Mabira to Mehta for sugarcane growing.

It is not possible that the MPs who took Museveni’s money, as the liars would put it, are the very ones that are vehemently opposing its give-away to Mehta. Does it mean that they fleeced-off the President only for them to turn around and say nay, instead of aye?

There is also another lie, that about three weeks ago, at a night-long meeting at State House Entebbe, the NRM MPs boldly defied Museveni’s move to dole-out part of the forest to his buddy Mehta with occasional heckles and boos at the President.

This is not true. Nobody heckled at the President. It is true we have courageous members who speak their mind openly before the President.

People who are fomenting such lies would wish everybody to believe that the current NRM Caucus is proving more of a headache to the President than our predecessors.

The lie continues that the Rwakitura meeting was meant to diffuse such sentiments, as Museveni summoned the MPs in small groups of not more than 20 to brow-beat them into his hard stance of seeing the forest go. And that this was the point at which money changed hands for us to do the “needful” in Parliament!

As this and other lies continue, we must note that we haven’t thrown caution through the window in a bid to have more sugar. What forms the argument is that whereas we need the sugar, on the other hand we would also need to preserve our environment, listen to people, build tourism revenue bases and mind security. We are also asking ourselves how we could hit a balance between having both the sugar and Mabira without jeopardizing the other.

In this debate of whether we should slash down the forest to give way for sugar, in a spirit of patriotism, several Ugandans have given alternative places to Mehta to grow sugarcane. The latest offer coming from Bulambuli in Bugisu of several square miles of free land. On this offer, the President pledged to source more investors to set-up sugar factories there. This initiative, once it takes off won’t leave the people of Bugisu the same.

Again most recently, Kabaka Mutebi offered land for sugarcane growing in Kyagwe. The land is over 10 miles and is a suitable replacement to Mabira. The Omukama of Bunyoro has followed suit by offering land.

Of course, the President is not sleeping on this and other such offers of free land for investment and industrialization as this is a sure way of propelling economic growth and development in accordance with the NRM vision.

What we need is more offers of land, not just to save Mabira but to assist the Government create more employment for its citizens by attracting investors to carry out large-scale industrialization.

Finally, and most important, other than carrying out advocacy of whatever nature, including the crusade to save Mabira, through small groups, we should seek to work through organised structures to carry out our advocacies.

The writer is the Central Youth MP and General Secretary of the NRM Caucus

President did not bribe MPs

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