In keeping to his tradition, President Yoweri Museveni on Monday kicked off his 2021 re-election campaigns in Luweero, the epicentre of a five-year guerrilla war that brought his National Resistance Movement (NRM) to power 35 years ago.
Owing to the COVID-19 threat, Museveni did not hold a campaign rally but invited to his farm at Kawumu village in Makulubita sub-county, a selected number of NRM flag-bearers at different levels including the incumbent MPs who lost the party primaries to ask them to mobilize support for him.
Later in a televised speech from the Nakasero State House, Museveni, using images compiled by his communications team showcased the achievements he has registered in the area over the past 35 years of his presidency. Among his much-hyped achievements are peasant farmers who have been able to construct houses – thanks to interventions by the operation wealth creation (OWC) under which the government distributed planting materials to farmers.
Other key achievements for the NRM government in Luweero is the construction and renovation of 230 primary schools and 23 secondary schools, refurbishment of Bukalasa Agricultural College which was also promoted to serve as centre of excellence.
In the health sector, the NRM government has constructed and renovated 41 health centers. Two years ago, the government also upgraded Luweero Health Center IV to a hospital.
In the water sector, the NRM government and Non-Government Organizations have dug 1,074 boreholes whereas in the road sector a total of 1527.06 kilometers were constructed among others.
Zenar Nasur the party’s vice-chairperson in Luweero says that in areas where such services never existed before, residents have reason to vote for Museveni to continue to steer the country.
She for instance cites the strides in the education sector saying that some sub-counties had no single schools and learners had to trek long distances to get education which has since been solved.
The NRM leadership in the district, working with the party secretariat has formed teams that are going to traverse the district to explain and remind the local population of the achievements registered before asking them to vote for Museveni.
However, a section of residents is not satisfied with Museveni’s leadership citing long lists of unfulfilled pledges and poor service delivery in the area.
Residents say the area would have been better compared to other districts that played a little role to bring President Museveni in power.
Emmanuel Nsubuga the Democratic Party Chairman of Luwero town says that Luwero hospital which the NRM brags for its upgrade has registered repeated drug stock-outs and residents are not proud of it.
Nsubuga also refuted NRM claims that they have dug so many boreholes insisting the majority have been constructed by Church and other NGOs.
Mariam Nansubuga a resident in Luwero town says that recently he lost a child at Luwero hospital over drug stock out. Nansubuga adds that it makes no sense to boast of several health centres yet there are no drugs and many people still opt for private health facilities.
Charles Sebyala the Parliamentary Candidate for Katikamu North Constituency says that residents are engaged in pineapple growing and Museveni promised to set up a fruit processing farm to add value but the project stalled.
Sebyala adds that Museveni is also faulted for deliberately refusing to elevate Luwero town to Municipality status but managed to create a city in Nakasongola despite its low population.
In 2008, Museveni ordered the ministry of Agriculture and Animal husbandry to inject one billion shillings into the project and in February 2009, the ministry of agriculture and animal husbandry in conjunction with the ministry of finance and economic planning issued out 115 Million Shillings for phase one.
The project stalled after the government failed to release more funds leaving the farmers’ stuck with their produce.
Delayed Compensation of veterans is one of the challenges that still haunt President Yoweri Museveni’s 34 years after assuming power.
Several families are still bitter that despite his contribution to the NRA War, Museveni has failed to ensure they get packages as he promised and they are still languishing in abject poverty.
Achileo Kiregeya a resident of Luwero town says that he lost his father in NRA and property in the war but since then they have never got any package as Museveni promised.
Captain Mubiru Muhamadi the Chairperson of Luweero district veterans association chairperson said although many have been compensated some are still unsatisfied with the delay to give them their packages.
Mubiru couldn’t explain how many have been compensated saying the lists are kept at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs.
Gaddafi Nasur the NRM MP candidate for Katikamu North Constituency says that Museveni has played his part but it’s the MPs and local leaders who have failed to tap and turn his favours into opportunities to develop the area.
Nasur says this is why many MPs were voted out in the NRM Primaries but this doesn’t mean loss of trust in Museveni’s leadership.
Museveni has continued registering a steady decline of support in Luweero District in the last three presidential elections.
In the 2006 presidential elections, Museveni got 79.2 percent of the total votes cast in Luweero district against 17.2 percent garnered by his main rival, Dr Kizza Besigye, the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party presidential candidate.
In 2011, Museveni garnered 67.83 percent as his main rival Besigye improved his performance to 27.54 percent. In 2016 presidential elections, Museveni garnered 71,382 votes representing 55.78 percent while Besigye scored 53804 votes representing 41.1 percent.