"I am now going to work directly with the people. The problem I had is politicians."
PIC: President Yoweri Museveni and Mbabazi. (File photo)
KAMPALA - In his renewed quest to uplift what he describes as "common people" from poverty, President Yoweri Museveni says he will be dealing directly with the poor, revealing that politicians, including former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, have let him down.
While launching saving schemes on Wednesday in Katwe, Zana and Bwebajja, Museveni said that in the past when he was busy with freedom fighting struggles in Luwero and after (fighting Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army, Allied Democratic Front and cattle rustlers in Karamoja), he had trusted politicians such as Mbabazi, to deal with people in Kampala and neighboring districts of Wakiso and Mukono but the results were not registered.
"I gave my common people to Mbabazi, and he was occupying all those big and influential ministries. I am now going to work directly with the people. The problem I had is politicians," he said.
Other politicians that Museveni singled out include past Kampala Mayors and current leaders such as Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) politician Dr. Col. Kizza Besigye.
"The Besigye you support only uses you to demonstrate in your markets. Someone cannot demonstrate in my farm in Rwakitura, I just pierce them," said Museveni.
Both Besigye (bush armed wing) and Mbabazi (external wing) were part of the National Resistance Army (NRA) guerilla warfare (1981-1986) that brought the National Resistance Movement (NRM) into power three decades ago. But the two have since parted ways with Museveni, and have even challenged his rule as presidential contenders during general elections.
Museveni says that Mbabazi, whom he beat alongside six others in February's presidential elections, let him down in efforts to lift the common person out of poverty. (Credit: Abou Kisige)
Yet despite the disappointments that came with trusting politicians, during his tour, Museveni welcomed the political gesture of Democratic Party leaders Makindye-Ssabagabo MP Ssempala Kigozi and Farouk Ali Ssekandi, the Lufula zone KCCA councilor, who put their political affiliations aside and graced his interactions with traders and welders, which aim at listening to the poor people and then devise mechanisms of saving them from the jaws of poverty.
Speaking to Zzana market traders, Museveni said: "I am happy that your MP has come. He has done well to come to this event. Initially, the opposition leaders were not bothered. We would organize events to develop our people but they would boycott."
‘I fear poverty'
Calling upon Ugandans to take advantage of the agriculture, industries, services, information communication and technology (ICT) and public service sectors to eradicate poverty, Museveni said he had noted that some had chosen to remain poor by not exploiting the opportunities at their disposal, for economic empowerment.
"Government wants to financially uplift every Ugandan, not a selected few. I don't want to see any Ugandan who is still energetic not taking advantage of the five sectors," Museveni said, warning SACCO administrators not to charge high interests.
Describing himself as someone who hates poverty, the president said he had decided to fund Katwe, Zzana and Bwebajja SACCOs because as a person who stays at State House, Entebbe, he considers these people as neighbors whom he wants to uplift from poverty.
"I don't want neighbors who are poor people. I pass here every day, so why should you be poor? Even in Rwakitura, I have fought poverty. I fear poverty because when I go to heaven, God might deny me entrance saying I didn't help his people out of poverty," he added.
The President also injected sh100m into the newly formed Katwe Welders' Association saving scheme. He, however, warned thieves of dire consequences if they dip their hands into the till of SACCOs. Market traders in Zzana and Bwebajja were also given sh100m separately for their saving schemes.
During campaigns, Museveni pledged sh180b for village saving schemes under the microfinance projects. He urged Ugandans to form saving schemes so that Government can inject in money.