12 August 2016

LoP challenges Museveni on democracy

Leader of the Opposition Winfred Kiiza says President Museveni’s May 31 State of the Nation Address was a catalogue of the happenings here since 1986.

She said the President glossed over Uganda’s democracy, economy, service delivery, national defence and security, and standing in regional and global politics and diplomacy.

“I found the President’s reduction of democracy to having different groups represented in Parliament not only astounding but also a profound misunderstanding of the concept,” said Ms Kiiza.

“And for a country to have a president understand the meaning of democracy in that narrow sense should be frightening to all of us.”

During the May 31 address, Mr Museveni claimed Uganda’s ‘democratic structure is comprehensive, thorough, and massive; it is not easily rivaled’.

He also claimed that Uganda has already carried out the most advanced political reforms.

Contacted on Thursday, August 11 to respond to Ms Kiiza’s response to Mr Museveni’s May 31 address, the Senior Presidential Press Secretary, Mr Don Wanyama, said Ms Kiiza’s response is the ‘usual Opposition grandstanding devoid of real issues’.

“On state of democracy; Winnie Kiiza comes from Kasese District where President Museveni and the ruling NRM [National Resistance Movement] lost all the parliamentary seats, including an influential minister losing to an upstart opposition MP,” Mr Wanyama said.

“What better demonstration of democracy than the fact that the people’s will carries the day even when that will doesn’t favour the sitting president and the ruling party?”

On the economy, Ms Kiiza said now that the total public debt is over $8 billion (Shs27 trillion), every Ugandan, including children, is indebted to the tune of close to Shs100 million.

Mr Wanyama said Ms Kiiza should revise her Mathematics.

“The President has clearly indicated that the foundations are now in place and Uganda is destined for a middle income status. The push now is to attract as much investment, support tourism, eliminate corruption, make the environment for doing business more conducive (industrial parks, rail system, tax incentives, reduce red tape, bring down cost of power), which will see more industries, jobs and better living standards…” Mr Wanyama said.

Uganda’s population, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics 2016, is 34.8 million, which would mean were each living Uganda to pay the debt, he or she would have to part with Shs774, 785.


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