"We are doing everything possible to see that people are supported and helped to return home."
Prof Tarsis Kabwegyere, the Minister of General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister has called on the people of Rwenzori region to uphold peace and avoid further displacements which have led to the suffering of people in camps.
Kabwegyere, who was on Wednesday in Bundibugyo district, revealed that such incidents retard development and therefore should be avoided at all cost.
“We are tired of displacements by unrests in Uganda. I was displaced running away from Uganda in the 1970’s.
“I have witnessed displacement by [Joseph] Kony in northern Uganda and Kenyans running to Uganda. It is a painful thing, we need to uphold our peace which will foster development,” said the minister on a radio talk show.
The unrest in Rwenzori region has left over 40 people dead and a total of 17,000 displaced and currently living in camps.
“It is unfortunate that people are suffering in camps. We are doing everything possible to see that people are supported and helped to return home. I have seen children who are supposed to be in school along the road, people’s businesses not running well, which is really bad,” he said.
When asked on what kind of support the government is likely to give to the people whose houses were burnt, Kabwegyere revealed they are yet to decide.
“I’m here to ensure that we have correct information and we have correct assessment on what we can do as a minimum to have life restarted for those who are displaced,” Kabwegyere said.
A total of 370 houses were burnt during the unrest while crops were destroyed and animals killed.
“We cannot promise heaven on earth; the support is within the current budget which is completing the last quarter. I have had to write to the Ministry of Finance to ensure that the last quarter of Bundibugyo is expedited.”
The minister appeared on one of the local radio stations where, together with Geoffrey Mucunguzi, the Bundibugyo Resident District Commissioner (RDC), he sensitized the locals on peace.
“We are talking of carefully identifying those who can be helped and those who if not helped cannot restart. Do not go and break your house and expect government to assist you,” warned Kabwegyere.
On his part, Mucunguzi challenged the locals and leaders to embrace peace and co-existence.
“We want to see everybody home, we want all children back in school and business booming as usual. This suffering and displacement is uncalled for.”
The RDC assured the area people that the government is ready to ensure there is security and provide assistance to those in need.
“All those behind the destabilizing of people’s peace will be handled. I want to call upon leaders not hide these criminals, because some are doing so. Why should a small group of people disturb the majority.”
The local leader also asked parents to immediately send their children to school back to school.
So far the government has provided 50,000 kg of maize flour and 30,000 kg of beans to displaced persons in Bundibugyo district.