President Yoweri Museveni last night met Members of Parliament from Karamoja following weeks of acrimony between the legislators and the presidentâ€™s wife, Janet Museveni, who is also the minister in charge of the region.
President Yoweri Museveni last night met Members of Parliament from Karamoja following weeks of acrimony between the legislators and the president’s wife, Janet Museveni, who is also the minister in charge of the region.
The MPs have of late been complaining that Museveni’s government is sidelining the region in development as evidenced by the poor roads.
Led by the Chairman of the Karamoja Parliamentary Group, Samson Lokeris, the 17 MPs from the region arrived at Nakasero State House at about 5pm on Monday and had to wait for the president to finalise his earlier meeting with another delegation of leaders from Kanungu District, who had also brought a similar petition about their road. The meeting with the Karamoja MPs eventually started at 7pm and ended at about 10pm.
Lokeris, who is also the MP for Dodoth County East in Kaabong District, said that during the meeting, the president agreed to include the Karamoja road issue in this week’s State of the Nation address as well as the National Budget next week.
The Karamoja MPs’ Chairperson said that the president said the money would be got in phases and not once given the many other road projects that also need attention in the country.
Last month, the Karamoja MPs addressed two press conferences during which they accused the government of sidelining their region and leaving their road to waste. The MPs, who are all NRM party members, said they have been abandoned despite the support they have given President Yoweri Museveni since he came to power in 1986.
Lokeris described the general mood of the meeting as cordial and informative.
But other MPs who attended the meeting said they still doubt the President’s commitment since he over-dwelt on comparing the Karamoja roads to others in the country that also need urgent attention.
They said they would patiently wait for this Thursday’s State of the Nation address as well as next week’s reading of the budget.
The road in question is a huge stretch of 451kms from Muyenbe in Bulambuli district where the tarmac ends, through Nakapiripirit, Moroto, Kotido, Kaabong to Kidepo.
The state House meeting was also attended by the Minister for Works and Transport, Eng. Abraham Byandala.
The First Lady did not attend the meeting which the president said was only going to discuss the road issue and nothing else.
Following the accusations by the Karamoja MPs that some prominent personalities in the country were engaged in exploiting their mineral resources, Mrs. Museveni recently refused to meet the MPs during a caucus meeting in parliament, an act that angered the legislators.
Lokeris said that a meeting has now been scheduled for June 13 this year to discuss the disagreement between the First Lady and the Karamoja MPs.
Museveni told the MPs that they should fight hard to stamp out corruption because in his view the many leakages in form of financial theft are one of the problems causing shortage of money for government to implement its projects.