Museveni apologises for abandoning them for a very long time and promises to pay back for the lost time.
KAMPALA - President Yoweri Museveni on Friday toured city markets and the Old Taxi Park, where he met and interacted with traders and taxi park leaders.
He admitted he had 'deserted' his supporters in Kampala for the last 20 years after they elected mayors belonging to the Opposition political parties, which pushed him out of Kampala.
Museveni particularly noted that the election of Hajji Nasser Ntege Sebaggala in the early 2000s, his successor John Sebana Kizito (RIP) and Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago showed him that Kampala voters were not realistic.
He blamed them for failing to realise in advance that the leaders they elected from the Opposition would be lame ducks with no potential to serve.
The President, however apologised for abandoning them for that long and promised to pay back for the lost time by contributing to improving their household incomes.
It is not clear whether Museveni’s recent campaign of giving out cash to youth groups and traders in the city is one way of reconciling with his supporters. But earlier, during one of the tours, he said the campaign was development-focused and that it did not discriminate among the beneficiaries basing on their political parties.
"My view is that the markets should be reserved for low income earners," Museveni said.
"Rich people should not interfere in ownership of markets. Previous bad leadership in the city caused the sale of markets to rich people who have inconvenienced and driven off the poor from these facilities.
"The government is working out modalities of retrieving these market titles from the rich and hand ownership back to vendors. Kampala Capital City Authority will help oversee management of these markets," said the President.
Meanwhile, the groups he met on Friday used the chance to remind him of the old promises he had made and pleaded that he fulfills them.
At the Old Tax Park, taxi drivers reminded Museveni about the promise to act as their guarantor to a private investor to secure funds to buy buses to decongest the city.
In response, he told them that he had recently met an Indian investor who wants to start a factory to build buses in Uganda and promised to link them to him.
In the markets, such as Nakasero and St. Balikudembe (Owino), Museveni was asked to help in resolving leadership and land wrangles as he had promised.
He promised Nakasero market vendors to intervene in a court case that has for the last three years prevented them from securing a land title to develop their market.
The President moved with his finance minister, Matia Kasaija, who excited the traders whenever he was introduced, calling him the 'money bag'.
All the groups of traders Museveni met on Friday pledged loyalty to him and denounced violence as a means of seeking redress of the problems they have.
Other senior government official who moved with the President included the National Resistance Movement (NRM) deputy secretary general, Richard Todwong, Kampala minister Beti Kamya, energy minister Irene Muloni and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) executive director, Jennifer Musisi Semakula.
Prior to Museveni’s arrival for the meetings, NRM supporters in Kampala marched around the city, chanting and singing songs praising their man.
President Museveni didn’t also disappoint them when he assured them that since he is still alive, they should count their financial problems sorted.
Also related to this story
Museveni meets city traders, hears out their concerns