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Kenyan peasant analyses Uganda's political arena

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th May 2001 03:00 AM

HE moved from Kenya to settle in Uganda 40 years ago, but to Mzee Welikhe Omasete who has witnessed all the regimes in Uganda since independence, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni's reign has emerged the best of them all.

HE moved from Kenya to settle in Uganda 40 years ago, but to Mzee Welikhe Omasete who has witnessed all the regimes in Uganda since independence, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni's reign has emerged the best of them all.

Mzee Welikhe Omasete, a Kenyan has lived in Uganda through its eight presidents. Our correspondent in Nairobi Reuben Olita met him while he sought a traditional healer's expertise in Kenya. Omasete professes that Museveni is the best president Uganda has ever had. HE moved from Kenya to settle in Uganda 40 years ago, but to Mzee Welikhe Omasete who has witnessed all the regimes in Uganda since independence, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni's reign has emerged the best of them all. Mzee Omasete, 71, could not hide his liking for Museveni who was sworn in last Saturday when The New Vision found him at his brother's home in Kekalet village, Angurai Division, Teso District, Kenya where he had sought treatment. "Unlike previous regimes, the current one has surpassed them all. I am one of the leading farmers back home but at no single time since 1986 when Museveni took over have I witnessed thieves steal our cattle," he said. He said it has become a common practice for people in Uganda to leave their homes unlocked and "nobody will come to empty it". You also ride your bicycle at will without somebody helping you into it for good at gunpoint". Mzee Omasete said goats and cattle sleep outside without any reported cases of theft. "For the few isolated cases, culprits were given instant punishment but not before disclosing all their accomplices," he said. Milton Obote's regime, he said, was good initially but it degenerated into a bad one owing to his askaris who started snatching people's bicycles and invading people's houses at night. That of Idi Amin, he said was the most brutal. "Amin had employed soldiers whose salaries were their weapons (guns). At the month's end he would deny them salaries, saying he had given their stick (guns) to eat (earn from) but not salaries. Recalling Amin's reign of terror, Mzee Omasete said he is still traumatised when one mentioned that name. "I tell you Museveni is the man we would like to associate with, however long he will take to lead us in Uganda." Born in 1930 to the late Khumasoti Omasete and Kharobo Khamekele, Omasete grew up in Kenya where he circumcised and got married to Arinji Naliaka who however, died less than a year later and had not been blessed with any child. "With my parents also having died earlier I became lonely and had no option other than cross over to Uganda where I bought land at Kitoja sub-location, Bugiri district. On his farm which he could not remember its acreage, Omasete said he had planted coffee and kept 30 exotic cattle which have been reduced to six owing to disease outbreak. Omasete said he came to Kenya to seek traditional treatment. "My legs are paralysed and despite seeking treatment at Bugiri and St. Anthony, Tororo, there was no improvement, thus my decision to come to Kenya." Omasete also credits President Daniel Arap Moi for the peace prevailing in the country saying that Kenya will not see a leader of Moi's calibre when he leaves office next year. Married to two wives with 14 children, Omasete said Museveni had revamped agriculture in the country with no reported cases of any areas in the country experiencing hunger. "Uganda is blessed with fertile land with hardly any fertiliser needed. It is through this blessing that Kenyans benefit from foodstuffs from Uganda," Omasete said. "I am contented with the hospitality I have been accorded by the people of Uganda." "In Kenya if you don't have a job you are the most disadvantaged lot. You cannot approach anybody and you are assisted, unlike in Uganda where people are mindful of other people's welfare," he said. Ends

Kenyan peasant analyses Uganda's political arena

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