Friday, 12 February 2016

Steady Progress Indeed!!! Steady Modernisation indeed!!! : Museveni starts distributing 18 million hoes to peasants after a 30 year modernisation song

Man walks past Museveni election posters

Museveni poster

Museveni gives hoes as promised


NRM presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni addresses supporters at Kasangati Town , Wakiso District, yesterday. PHOTO BY Stephen Wandera  

Posted  Wednesday, February 10  2016 at  02:00
In Summary
Bribery allegation. Government will buy the 18 million hoes amid Opposition claim of voter bribery by Opposition.

Kampala. Government has brought forward the procurement of 18 million hoes from next financial year to this year as President Museveni puts in a last-minute attempt to win over the crucial rural vote.

Confronted by biting poverty in Uganda’s rural areas as he launched his campaign for a fifth term in November last year, Mr Museveni reacted by directing Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to include the procurement of 18 million hoes for six million households in the 2016/2017 Budget. The financial year commences in June.
Mr Museveni argued that the hoes would boost food security and incomes for small land owners and gradually transform Uganda from an agrarian to industrial economy by 2040.

The Agriculture ministry had, however, warned that it had no Shs140b to bankroll the procurement of the hoes, insisting that the President’s pledge can only be implemented in phases beginning with a Shs50b allocation in the 2016/17 financial year.

With retail price of a hoe standing at Shs10,000 per piece, 18 million hoes would cost Shs180 billion, which is about 30 per cent of the Agriculture ministry’s budget for this fiscal year.

But as Mr Museveni’s pledge was coming under fire from the Opposition, Premier Rugunda on Monday started distributing hoes in Terego County of West Nile sub-region and rallied the recipients to vote the ruling NRM.
“We are pleased to be rolling out this national programme of providing this key farm implement today, starting from Terego in Arua District. Without a doubt, come February 18, all votes from here should go to President Museveni and the NRM flag bearers to ensure that the country continues on the path of steady progress,” Dr Rugunda said.
The decision to draw back the distribution of hoes to coincide with the home stretch of the campaigns, with just eight days to the polls, has attracted skepticism from Opposition politicians who insist it amounts to voter bribery.
The Opposition has challenged the government to abide by the African Union 2003 Maputo Declaration, and allocate 10 per cent of the Budget to agriculture, if it genuinely harbours ambitions to turn around the fortunes of Uganda’s agriculture.

Only 2 per cent of the 1015/16 Budget went to agriculture, with the bulk allocated to roads, electricity and defence.
The FDC flag bearer Dr Kizza Besigye, has promised to increase agriculture’s share to 15 per cent of the Budget.
Terego County MP Kasiano Wadri, whose backyard was used as a launch pad for the hoes campaign, yesterday said the Electoral Commission should rein in Mr Museveni and the NRM for engaging in voter bribery. “What they are doing is an illegality. What kind of presidential pledges can be implemented at this time? Even me, I cannot give anything to any group because of the guidelines in the law. If I give anything right now, it would be misconstrued as bribery,” Mr Wadri said.

Mr Henry Muguzi, the national coordinator, Alliance for Campaign Finance Monitoring, a coalition of civil society organisations advocating for transparency in election campaigns, said: “If that is the case and the hoes were given out as campaign material, it is a clear indication of voter bribery and we strongly condemn it. We regard voter bribery as cash or any items given out to induce voters to vote a particular candidate.”

Asked whether the Electoral Commission (EC) would interest itself in calls to sanction Mr Museveni’s distribution of hoes, as demanded by the Opposition, EC spokesman Jotham Taremwa said the NRM flag bearer was executing his presidential duties. “ Museveni remains President of Uganda until after elections and a new president is sworn in. While he is a candidate, he has duties to execute as President,” Mr Taremwa said.

Prime minister Ruhakana Rugunda

As if rattled by persistent taunts about unfulfilled promises, government on Monday started distributing some of the 18 million hoes pledged by President Museveni last November.
The first hoes were given out in Terego county, Arua  district, at a ceremony officiated by prime  minister Ruhakana Rugunda.

In a statement, Dr Rugunda’s communications adviser Julius Mucunguzi said the premier was accompanied by agriculture minister Tress Bucyanayandi; Dr Samuel Mugasi, the executive director of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (Naads); and Ms Christine Guwatudde Kintu, the permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Rugunda is quoted as having told a sizeable gathering in Terego that President Museveni is a leader who keeps his promises. 

But that is not a view unanimously held by all Ugandans. Mr Museveni has often faced questions about roads promised but un-tarmacked, money pledged but undelivered or buildings promised without a brick being seen.

During a recent campaign rally ahead of next week’s elections, the president explained that everything would eventually be done, but that the ruling party chose to prioritise things such as transport and energy infrastructure. 

“We are pleased to be rolling out this national programme of providing this key farm implement today, starting from Terego, Arua district,” Rugunda is quoted as having said at the handover of the hoes.
Rugunda said the hoe is a key tool that is used by most Ugandans, and that it complements mechanized farming using tractors. 

“Most of us are here today because of the hand hoe. We used it to grow crops for food and for sale. There is no contradiction to modernisation of agriculture. The hoe is very important,” Rugunda said.
When he pledged the hoes in November, Museveni provoked widespread criticism and media debate, with some questioning the viability of hoes in an age of mechanization.

Museveni Blasts Opposition: Leave My ‘Hoes’ Programme Alone

    By: Kenneth Kazibwe

  • Nov 26,2015
President Museveni has fired back at opposition politicians for attacking him over the hoes he intends to give out to farmers around the country.
Early this week, the president ordered the Office of the Prime Minister to procure and distribute over 18 million hoes for farmers, an initiative that was criticised by opposition politicians as dragging the country back to rudimentary methods of farming.
Addressing supporters at Moroto Town Council, Museveni laughed at the politicians whom he said are naïve about farming but simply sit in air conditioned offices in Kampala to criticise his programmes.
“I see some politicians seated in rotating chairs and air-conditioned offices in Kampala criticizing me for buying hoes. Yes I buy them because I know my people need them. This doesn’t stop me from buying tractors,” Museveni said.
“I know more about tractors and new farming methods than those politicians who just sit in offices in Kampala because I am a farmer myself. They don’t know what the farmers what like I do.”
The President clarified that supplying hoes doesn’t stop him from providing tractors but noted that he first provided hoes to the farmers with small pieces of land that are inaccessible and would later cater for those who can afford using tractors.
He told the people of Moroto that government has distributed hoes, oxen and oxen ploughs to be used by farmers in the area.
Museveni emphasised the need to use the available infrastructure like roads and electricity to create wealth by themselves.
He said modern agriculture would better serve this purpose of seeing that the Karamajong get some incomes that would boost their wealth.
Museveni said programmes like NAADS and Operation Wealth Creation would be used to provide seeds and live stock to families as a way of getting them out of poverty.