Museveni’s Shs 5bn Rukungiri donation causes social media storm

On Sunday, President Yoweri Museveni drove to Rukungiri district loaded with tractors, Lorry trucks, mini-buses, motorcycles, an assortment of carpentry equipment and cash that he left in the district.

The donations worth about Shs 5bn were given to 110 groups of people ostensibly to help them fight poverty in the home district of opposition icon, Dr Kizza Besigye.

His package had 1,000 motorcycles, 25 Fuso lorries, 7 tractors and 20 mini-buses plus carpentry machinery worth Shs 193m and cash for Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs).

While Museveni has previously made similar gestures in Kampala, the timing for the Rukungiri donations is suspect.

The district is preparing for a by-election for the Woman MP seat after the Court of Appeal on March 22 annulled Winnie Matsiko’s election.

The NRM politician was found culpable for voter bribery pushing her back to an election that she may lose to FDC’s Betty Muzanira.

Nominations of candidates for the by-election are set for May 2-3.
Museveni’s gesture elicited wide spread criticism on social media with many accusing him of “bribing” the Rukungiri voters ahead of the forthcoming by-elections.

In his speech at Rukungiri stadium where he handed the donations, Museveni said that he was prompted to undertake the engagement after meeting a group of youths in Kampala selling matooke by the roadside.

The youths, Museveni said, informed him that they transport the Matooke to Kampala from Nyakagyeme in Rukungiri.

” After sharing their challenges, I promised to meet them in their home district and offer support,” Museveni said.

He did not however hide his political interest in the district that, according to the 2016 election results, showed a shift in support of the NRM to the opposition FDC.

For instance, NRM historical, Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi suffered a shock defeat by FDC’s Fred Turyamuhweza in Rujumbura County.

Social media critics and FDC diehards have criticised such donations claiming Museveni is using tax payers money to bribe voters in Rukungiri.

The opposition party also dominates the local government positions in Rukungiri Municipality.
Museveni told his rally that he chose to take the donations himself because the district leadership is not working.

“Whereas the leadership of the district should monitor these funds which are allocated every financial year, this is not [being] done. It partly explains my trip here to show the leaders what they ought to be doing,” Museveni said.

“Funds are available but leaders need to monitor and discuss this in district councils. Government allocates about Shs500b for anti-poverty programmes like OWC. The leaders here should not just focus on abusing Museveni, they should transform their communities as well,” he added.