OP-ED

Presidential Tour: Will Museveni maintain the grip on Bukedi region?

By George Mubiru

“If the vulture fails to hover at the end of a sacrifice, then you know that something happened in the land of spirits.” This is exactly the Igbo proverb the most marveled and adored political tactician, Gen. Museveni is fulfilling. He asserts that the regulars must be around, otherwise there might be a mess.  

Bukedi region is the pure eastern part of Uganda comprising of districts like Busia, Tororo , Pallisa, Butaleja,  Kibuku and Butebo. It is one of the areas president Museveni swept with massive victory in the 2021 presidential elections humiliating his political foe, the naive and arch rival, Robert Kyagulanyi.

Like the elders say; “Let the young man in his desperation go out and hunt. If he kills the elephant, his poverty ends. If the elephant kills him, his poverty ends.” Well known for his tactical repertoire, Mr Museveni first left Bobi Wine to make his tour and after failing to kill the elephant with his reckless, revengeful and vindictive statements of tribalism and sectarianism, he is going there himself to kill it. Others can argue of small things but not Mr. Museveni. He will never ever reduce his huge ideas of Pan-Africanism, patriotism, democracy and socio-ecomic transformation over the line of religion, tribe, etc in a stark comparison to his rivals.

Ahead of the anticipated presidential tour in Bukedi region of Eastern Uganda, there are so many questions that lingers in the heads of the people in that area, specifically, the issue of wetlands which is a jewel of their survival.

Bukedi covers land area of about 845.5 Sq. Km which is interrupted with wetlands. Major soils are characterized as sandy clay loams. This clearly shows that the livelihood of the people in this area is predominantly dependent on the swamps with rice as the major crop.

 In his address to the nation on independence eve this year, the president was very clear that people had to stop caltivation in wetlands. Whether this directive will be implemented or not, we await to see. Therefore, if it’s implemented, the president would have shot at his own foot. He may never ever win in this region because it is extremely hard for them to vacate wetlands which is their gold. It’s actually a matter of life and death and NRM will be humiliated at all levels in 2026 polls and the reverse is true.

Majority of the population (91percent) in the region are predominantly subsistence farmers growing mainly cassava, millet, rice, sweet potatoes, maize and beans for food crops and Robusta coffee and sugar cane as cash crops, some livestock and fishing activities. 

Having a soft heart in this cruel world is one of the major attributes of president Museveni. I don’t think it will happen much as it’s the correct decision to protect our nature. There must be a well layed alternative for such people to leave wetlands.

Other economic activities include mining ( mostly gold in Busia), cross border and internal trade within gazetted markets, and during market days( auction).

The region has one of the best infrastructural developments in the country with well-connected roads such as the two main gateways to the Kenyan port of Mombasa (Mombasa – Malaba – Kampala road or Mombasa -Kisumu – Busia – Kampala road).

The Tororo-Soroti road has also  been rehabitated with new tarmac plus Iganga -Mbale road. This has boosted  trade in there area by easing the movement of people and their commodities to market centers. 

Dear President Museveni, I would rather you heed to Chinua Achebe’s saying; “Salute the deaf; if the heavens don’t hear, the earth will hear.” This means that do the right thing, there are those who will understand.

 Those that have a clear conscience would ultimately prevail Or  fear no accusations. When you have done the right things you are supposed to do, you have cleared yourself of any guilty feelings. Heaven and earth will see and hear you witness and even fight for you. If heaven did not see, understand and witness for you, the earth will do so.

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The writer, George Mubiru, is a Jinja based researcher and NRM mobiliser | Email: georgemubiru93@gmail.com



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