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KABULETA SHREDS M7’S ECONOMICS, ACCUSES PRESIDENT OF IMPOVERISHING UGANDANS

L-R Moses Matovu – Spokesperson,Asuma Odaka – NEED National CoordinatorJoseph Kabuleta – Principal NEED, Fred Semakula,Charles Basajja the chief of staff NEED AND Omulangira Joe JJuuko Nakibinge the Deputy National Coordinator NEED.

By Mulengera Reporters

Former presidential candidate Joseph Kiiza Kabuleta has shredded Gen Museveni’s economic model, accusing the president of making Ugandans poorer and of relying on a communist-like style of management to divide groups of government employees, among other damning allegations.

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Omulangira Joe JJuuko Nakibinge the Deputy National Coordinator NEED.

Speaking during the National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED) weekly presser in Bugolobi, Kampala on July 04, Kabuleta sounded vindicated that the World Bank had come out to clarify that Uganda was far from the middle income status contrary to what Gen Museveni’s claim that Kampala had already achieved the status. Kabuleta argued that Museveni’s Uganda was not even an economy, much less a middle income economy but rather ‘a family business.’ He went on to say that Uganda would have achieved the middle income status sometime in 2005 if those who rule the country cared for citizens as opposed, according to him, to grabbing the nation’s resources.

Kabuleta claimed that Museveni has for the past 36 years run the make-them-poor scheme to ensure that there is steady retrogression instead of steady progress. In the first part of his exposé on this alleged scheme, Kabuleta, the NEED principal, trained his guns on the Buganda sub-region’s rural and urban economics and how he thinks Museveni has made the people poor.

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Charles Basajja the chief of staff NEED.

The politician from Bunyoro accused the president of destroying the fishing business, chasing hundreds of thousands of people who had previously earned their living from water bodies such as Lakes Wamala and Victoria from these lakes, and consequently impoverishing former local fish tycoons such as Lwakataka. That even when Uganda exports close to €200m worth of fish to the EU every year, very few Ugandans are benefitting. He went on to note that by the time the government started chasing people from the lakes, Uganda was number five among the leading exporters of fish to the EU, with China standing at number four. Kabuleta alleges that Beijing has since made Ugandan fish China’s since Chinese investors are dominating the poor East African country’s fish business due to “poor leadership.” In Kabuleta’s view, China killed its competition with Uganda regarding fish export to the EU at the source. Kabuleta is also disappointed that even when Uganda currently earns more from fish than it was bagging a decade ago, fewer Ugandans are benefiting from this business.

Kabuleta further faulted government for ‘killing’ the coffee business by driving poor Ugandans out of the business. He noted that by 1986 when Museveni and his group came to power, coffee was fetching the country $194m – which money was looking after hundreds of thousands of people, helping parents take their children to top schools, and making many farmers rich.  But he was unhappy that while Uganda now earns as much as $700m from the cash crop, there are a few rich Ugandans in the coffee business and that the trade and value chain has been dominated by foreigners. He also criticized the executive and the legislature for pushing through pieces of legislation that place the coffee business in the hands of a few well-connected Ugandans and a number of foreign firms at whose mercy the wananchi have been left. That coffee farmers in areas such as Bukomansimbi are now disillusioned because they are being forced to sell their coffee to big men, such as a certain president’s brother, who have licenses that give them monopoly over the crop’s trade, locking out other traders. That the new coffee laws even bar farmers from cutting down coffee trees in protest of low and exploitative prices.

Moses Matovu the Spokesperson NEED.

The NEED boss went on to claim that the president caused land problems in Buganda by pushing through a law that pitted bibanja holders against landlords. He says this is the same manner in which the man from Rwakitura has divided arts teachers and science teachers by handing the latter group a huge salary increment and nothing to the former group. “Every time he sees unity, he [looks for ways of dividing] these people. Then he makes you fight the other group and for him he sits and enjoys himself. That’s his classic style of management. He has done it for 36 years,” added Kabuleta.

On matooke, Kabuleta argued that Museveni’s government made the people food secure and vulnerable by failing to fight pests and diseases such as the banana weevil and by introducing varieties that have contaminated soils and made them less fertile.

The NEED boss also faulted Museveni for ‘killing’ the vanilla business from which people in areas such as Mukono and Kayunga would have minted a lot of money, by creating a law that requires all farmers and traders to have licenses. To Kabuleta this move demoralized people who abandoned farming in this cash crop even when it grows well in Uganda’s soils and fetches as much as $200 per kilogram. That from lucrative businesses such as coffee and vanilla, government began mobilizing people to engage in ventures such as silk and rabbit farming.

The former presidential candidate also argued that Museveni ‘killed’ the cooperative movement, the backbone of the rural economy, so as to keep the number of peasants at about 70 per cent, and many more out of the money economy, living from hand to mouth, not paying a number of taxes and ready to vote him in elections. It is this model of ‘Musevenomics’ that Kabuleta thinks is responsible for the high taxes on the small portion of the population in the money economy, which in turn sink over 90 per cent of new businesses every year. He also complained of tax exemptions for well-connected and wealthy businessmen and monopolists dealing in gold, fish and coffee, costing URA several billions of Shillings in taxes.

Kabuleta’s need also touched on the woes in the bodaboda industry. Fred Ssemakula, a bodaboda rider working in Kampala Central Division, who attended Kabuleta’s briefing in Bugolobi narrated the troubles motorcyclists endure to fend for their families. Ssemakula cursed security officers for harassing commercial motorcyclists, making their lives on the city roads so difficult by confiscating their motorcycles and demanding between Shs150,000 and Shs300,000, failure of which they lose their motorcycles.

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The bodaboda man also told reporters that many desperate youths are subjected to tough conditions to secure motorcycles on loans. That for each loan facility, one pays Shs1m to get a motorcycle for which he pays Shs85,000 every week for 20 months. He revealed that failure to clear the weekly payments means that the motorycle ‘loan sharks’ will take back their motorcycle until one clears the debt as well as the money one was supposed to pay during the days the vehicle was held. Those who fail to pay lose the motorcycles as well as the Shs1m down payment. According to Ssemakula, about 17 people may fail to meet the terms of the same motorcycle loan even when all may pay the Shs1m down payment and meet the weekly obligations for some time, meaning that the company can earn between Shs17m and Shs30m from these youths and still keep its motorcycle.

He also complained of a medical checkup order by government. According to Kabuleta, the checkup which is meant to assess riders’ mental health, sight and other issues, could herald the scheme to chase several bodaboda men from the city. Ssemakula also complained that although the riders are made to pay Shs75,000 for the checkup and registration, the riders are just ordered to fill forms and no checkup is conducted. (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at mulengeranews@gmail.com).

 

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