9/24/08

Intrigue Failing Muganda President, Says Otafiire
The Monitor (Kampala)
 

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Evelyn Lirri

Intrigue and rivalry is costing Buganda a chance to lead this country, local government minister Kahinda Otafiire has said. "You (Baganda) are supposed to be leading this country. You have the numbers, you are educated, strategically located, but you squander these opportunities."

"How are you going to get a Muganda president when you keep pulling each other down and undermine your own candidates? When someone in Buagnda is becoming a leading Ugandan, they hit him," Maj. Gen. Otafiire said.

Gen. Otafiire said this on Friday while opening a capacity building workshop for local councillors and political leaders from Mayuge, Mukono, Tororo and Nakasongola districts.

The workshop that took place in Seeta was organised by the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI). Gen. Otafiire said while no one has monopoly of leadership and that the constitution of Uganda does not say that a Muganda cannot be president, Buganda has failed to take advantage of their central position to lead the country.

"How is a Muganda going to compete with me when you have tied his legs? Leaders from Buganda have to fight these tendencies if they are to get a chance to lead this country, Baganda are Ugandans and central to Uganda,"' he said.

Gen. Otafiire revealed that because of his open mindedness, the Baganda call him namwatulira, a Luganda word to mean a frank person. "I would rather tell you what is wrong with you than praise you. Leadership is about the ability to stand up and tell you what is wrong with you," he explained.

The comments appear to have surprised participants since Gen. Otafiire reportedly referred to the Buganda government as an NGO, which remarks angered the Baganda. Although he did not specifically refer to any individual press reports have indicated that Vice President Gilbert Bukenya is harbouring presidential ambitions. But Prof. Bukenya has publicly stated that he will support a fourth term for President Museveni.

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The Executive Director of FHRI, Mr Livingstone Ssewanyana said engaging local council leaders in the planning and budgeting processes will ensure better service delivery to the people.

Most councillors at the meeting raised concerns over delayed release of funds which they say is responsible for the delay in the implementation of most activities in their respective districts.

However, the chairperson of the budget committee in parliament, Mr William Oketcho urged all district leaders to plan for funds on activities that relate to the peoples' needs. Mr Oketcho said parliament will ensure that funds are released timely to the districts with a quarterly monitoring so that districts are able to do their work.






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