PLU Baraza told a different story from Masaka being purely opposition

By Edrine Benesa

Thousands and thousands of enthusiastic Ugandans braved the scorching sunshine on Friday to witness General Muhoozi Keinrugaba’s maiden Baraza in the grasshopper City of Masaka, Central Uganda.

Variously designated the epicentre of opposition in Uganda, Masaka was brought to its foot as the decorated son and grandson of Kaguta made his way to the VIP table at Masaka recreation centre as hundreds of thousands of his supporters cheered him on.

Flanked by his wife Charlotte, Muhoozi’s appearance in the ” Grasshopper City” was a rare occurrence that everyone seemed anxious about. Brandishing a cocktail of his PLU palm wave and his father General Museveni’s flagship thumbing the air, spectators were left dying with ecstasy.

With Masaka Recreation Grounds filled to the brim by jubilant crowds as early as mid-day, one would have certainly known the city was braced for a busy day.

For obvious reasons, the occasion would certainly turn out to be a show of might between the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) which has variously been touted to be the “big bull in the kraal”. To compound it all, Twaha Kagabo, one of Bobi Bobi Wine’s NUP MPs was one of the key facilitators of the event, much to the chagrin of his opposition colleagues.

What made the event even more significant is the fact that the venue chosen this time round was not only a perceived opposition stronghold but also home turf for opposition stalwarts like immediate former LOP, Mathias Mpuuga.

The Senior Presidential Advisor in Charge of Special Operations, Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, came with his message expertly weaved to rhyme with the needs of the people of Buganda and Greater Masaka in particular. He urged against electing corrupt leaders into office, attracting wild approvals from the evidently excited crowd.

“Do not elect corrupt people

PLU encourages Ugandans to fight corruption and abuse of public office, these evils take away resources needed to develop our country. This is one of the greatest ills facing Uganda today.”

With the vice of corruption so pervasive in Uganda that misuse of public funds accounts for as much as 20% of Uganda’s government revenue, Muhoozi’swords were musical to the majority of his audience of the day.

In 2017, Transparency International, an organization that fights corruption across the globe, discovered that Ugandans encountered bribes 22% of the time, but with the police, they encountered bribery 67% of the time.

At least 75% of respondents indicated that they had received money or had heard of others receiving money from political candidates in exchange for their votes in democratic elections.
“Public office means it belongs to the country,” adding, “Anyone in public office is working for you (people).” How sweet did that sound!

Muhoozi, while addressing thousands of people, further spoke about the mandate of the PLU, saying it’s a non-partisan, non-denominational, and non-sectarian civil organization keen on protecting Uganda against foreign interference and domination, further drawing a thick line between the politics of identity based on tribes, regions and religions and his all-inclusive political approach.

“We have people from every tribe, every race, every religion, and every political party in the PLU. All we care about is whether you love Uganda. Are you willing to sacrifice for Uganda?” he added.
The decorated Army General also urged Ugandans to fight corruption and abuse of office which he said the organization also seeks “to assist vulnerable people in our community and fight wastage of resources and corruption.” He also thanked the people of Masaka for engaging in coffee farming, which is done well in Bukomansimbi, Kalungu, and Kyotera.

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“I encourage all farmers with good pieces of land to emulate those who are doing well in coffee.
“I want to thank the President very much for organizing farmers in nine villages in Kisozi, Gomba, and Sembabule. He helped them get some agricultural inputs, and they are now good commercial farmers. Farming is still a good way of getting out of poverty.” Such expertly crafted messages served as a dose of hope for the people of the sub-region.

He further said the government is soon obtaining 10 million doses of vaccines for districts affected by Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) so that the quarantine imposed in the cattle corridor is lifted.

The Ministry of Agriculture recently imposed a quarantine on 32 districts across the country following the new outbreak of FMD, triggering panic and anger in the cattle corridor, where millions of people earn a living from milk and beef production.

The affected districts include Luwero, Gomba, Isingiro, Kazo, Kiruhura, and Sembabule, among others, where the disease has been detected in many herds. The movement of livestock and livestock products into and out of these districts or through other districts is immediately banned, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

On entertainment and talent promotion, the General promised to continuously lobby for more investment in the sports and entertainment industries.
He said sports promote social cohesion.

“It brings people together and instills a sense of brotherhood and patriotism,” the former Land Forces commander observed.

Muhoozi also called on the government to provide funds to small and medium enterprises in Nyendo-Masaka to support entrepreneurship and job creation.

Muhoozi later invited his wife, Charlotte, to address the huge crowds. Neatly dressed in the traditional Buganda outfit- Gomesi, Charlotte depicted an early picture of the country’s future Fiest Lady, indicating she has keenly been following a good example of her mother-in-law, Janet Kataha Museveni. Indeed, no one comes near her rating.

And when it was her time on the mic, it was only superb, I can conclude. She said she had known Muhoozi for 27 years and that he was true to his word.

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“Whatever my husband says about PLU (fighting corruption) is true,” said Charlotte, adding, “He hates corruption and loves his country.”
Charlotte affirmed, “I’ll always be with him.”

From the eventful day in Masaka, two very salient deductions can be made. One is that the baseless allegation that Masaka is exclusively for Bobi Wine and opposition was resoundingly debunked. The mere fact that some of the leaders crossed over to PLU indicates that there was a significant shortage of message channels that has kept people blinded.

There was also an amplification of the birth of a new National leader whose reign is tipped to unite the country from border to border. This was reflected in addition to other regions such as in Busoga, Ankole, Kigezi, Bunyoro, Sebei, Teso and others he has held similar barazas.

At the end of the day, we are able to read the true political situation and demographic pointers to the effect that Masaka is swiftly jumping on the wagon for a peaceful transition.

The writer is the Deputy RCC for Soroti East Division in Soroti City.

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