By Max Patrick Ocaido
State House Comptroller, Lucy Nakyobe has explained President Yoweri Museveni’s recent donation to Rukungiri district that has become a public talking point.
On Sunday, Museveni donated money, trucks, mini buses and an assortment of machinery worth over Shs5billion to 110 groups of people to help them fight poverty. While handing over the equipment, Museveni said that the money was drawn from his pocket and not tax payers’ coffers.
While scrutinizing Ministerial policy statement for FY 2018/19, MP on the Presidential Affairs Committee tasked State House accounting officer, Lucy Nakyobe together with Minister of State for Economic Monitoring, Kasirivu Baltazah Atwoki to explain where they got the money to donate such assortment of machinery.
“We have seen on social media that Museveni donated over 1000 bodabodas, 100 Lorries and huge sums of money. We would like to know where State House got this money from and a tune of Shs20bn was donated to one area which is headed towards a by-election?” Suzan Amero, Vice chairperson, Committee on Presidential Affairs asked.
In her response, Nakyobe said that whereas the President has a budget for donations, the specific donation to Rukungiri district has been exaggerated and blown out of proportion.
“We toured Rukungiri on Sunday and even invited the media. They (media) counted the items and even interviewed us plus the beneficiaries, so, it is unfair to say that this donation was worth Shs20bn,” Nakyobe said.
Cognizant of the fact that Rukungiri will be holding a by-election in May, Nakyobe said that the President rushed to Rukungiri to fulfill his earlier pledges that he committed long before court annulled the election of Rukungiri District Woman MP, Winnie Masiko.
“Before returning on Sunday, we had gone to Rukungiri earlier on, where we visited Nyakagyeme Sub County even before the annulment of elections. In fact the President did not even know court would annul the election of the woman MP. He (Museveni) told the people in Nyakagyeme that he would return bigger to fulfill his pledges for other sub counties. So, we returned to Kampala, made procurements and then took them on Sunday,” Nakyobe added.
Minister Kasirivu told the Committee that Museveni’s donation should be taken in good faith because it has a healthy motive of alleviating household poverty.
“He (Museveni) gets this money from the presidential donation fund and it's in good faith. President will continue making donations whether there is by-election or not,” Kasirivu said.
Committee chairperson Jessica Ababiku said that whereas it is out of good will that Museveni makes such donations, it is only courteous to be fair.
“President is fountain of honour, we are not saying initiatives are bad but we want fairness. We want activities of state house to unite Ugandans, not dividing them.
Ababiku, also Adjumani Woman MP appealed to the State House accounting officer to assist President Museveni to plan and run model villages that now stand at 23.
“I have seen in your policy statement that you have budgeted Shs7.9bn for all presidential initiatives and only Shs1bn is for model villages. Can we have fairly realistic budget for such. Adjumani was chosen as model village but only 300 goats were taken there. We love this program but it should be managed well. We still recommend that you avail Sh4bn for model villages because it will raise us out of poverty,” Ababiku said.
State House Lists Top Priorities for FY 2018/19
In the Ministerial policy statement for FY 2018/19, Nakyobe listed top priorities that her ministry will be handling among them include; supporting President Museveni to mobilize masses towards poverty reduction, peace and development. State House will in the next financial year also support presidential initiatives, trade and investment and support the president in promotion of international relations and regional integration through foreign country visits, hosting heads of state, attending international/regional meetings and receiving credentials from foreign envoys.
Nakyobe also told the committee that as of March 30, her Vote (State House) had registered tremendous achievements that include; inspecting infrastructure works, supporting presidential initiatives such as Skilling Girl Child Programme which last year saw 661 female pioneers graduate in various skills, given startup capital while another 1,245 girls are due for graduation in May. State House’s proposed budget for FY 2018/19 stands at Shs274bn from Shs245bn approved in FY 2017/18.