THE leader of the defunct Action Party, Nelson Ocheger, 100 party members and 60 FDC supporters yesterday joined the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM). They were received by President Yoweri Museveni, who is on a tour of Teso region.
Ocheger was introduced to the President by Bukedea Movement chairman, the Rev. Sam Ebukalin Kedi, at a rally at the district headquarters.
Ocheger was also the chairman of the Multiparty National Referendum Commitee, which supported the 2000 referendum which returned political party systems.
Cheering crowds wearing yellow T-Shirts with the words: â€œTeso supports 4th termâ€, welcomed Museveni.
Ebukalin said the district council had asked him to urge Museveni to contest in 2011.
â€œOn behalf of the people of Bukedea, I urge you to stand in 2011. You are still young,â€ Kedi said as the crowd roared the no-change slogan and waved the NRM thumbs-up sign.
A jovial Museveni, on a week-long tour of Teso, thanked the people who voted for NRM in the 2006 elections.
â€œI advise my people of Teso that in future they should not waste their votes by voting for groups that are unviable. Voting for FDC is a waste of time.â€
He said he was seeing the area MP, Oduman Okello (FDC), for the first time. â€œHe does not sit in our party caucus. Why should Teso waste these votes.â€
He listed the NRM achievements in the region as security which had been disrupted by Karimojong cattle rustlers, the universal primary and secondary education and improved health care.
Ministers from Teso, Stephen Mallinga and Musa Echweru, Dorothy Hyuha and the NRM vice-chairman for eastern, Mike Mukula, were present.
Earlier, Museveni visited a home of a former school teacher, Samson Okia, 66, in Kidongole sub-county, who invested his pension in fruit farming and poultry-keeping.
Museveni braved a downpour to inspect the two-acre farm which has 280 orange trees, 300 chicken and eucalyptus trees.
Okia said he expects to earn over sh10m by the end of the year. Museveni asked the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) to help him acquire Friesian cows, pigs and a hatchery to provide chicks to other residents.
He said NAADS, credit societies and agricultural processing plants would be strengthened to empower local farmers.
Despite these programmes, he said, poverty was still a problem because â€œpeople are sleeping and even NAADS that we sent to wake them up joined them in sleep.â€
He called on the people to monitor NAADS funds and warned officials who misuse the funds would be dealt with.
He urged Teso to take on fruit farming, bee-keeping and upland rice growing.
Echweru accused former External Security Organisation chief David Pulkol of inciting Teso against the Government, saying it wanted to grab their land.
â€œI urge you to sound a warning to all of us here. Last week David Pulkol came here purporting to educate people on land use, but started inciting people that government wanted to steal their land.
â€œHe has worked in many positions that you gave him, but he does not even own a latrine in Matheniko. Coming to teach Teso about land when he does not even own a toilet is an insult to Teso. Teso is not a place for agitation and lies but a place for preaching development,â€ he said.
Museveni donated money to six-year-old William Omeya who thrilled the crowd with his poem, â€œThe pride of the nationâ€. He also gave sh150m to build an administration block and the town council offices.
Sixty FDCs, Ocheger cross to NRM party