By Aisha Nameere
In the book of Proverbs 12:22 — “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy” — and in Proverbs 25:1: “Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an axe, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.”
I wish to draw the attention of every leader whose lips are very fast in telling lies with intent to discredit government achievements to the above bible quotes.
On Monday, November 29th, 2021, I was dismayed by an article as usual in the Daily Monitor newspaper quoting Hon Mathias Mpuuga, the leader of Opposition in Parliament attacking government for failing to build infrastructure such as agricultural roads.
In his wild allegations, Hon Mpuuga without little sense of embarrassment attacked government for not prioritizing the construction of agricultural roads across the country to enable farmers transport their produce to the market.
First, as a concerned Ugandan, I would like to agree with MP Mpuuga and appreciate his assertion recognizing the importance of roads in promoting agricultural productivity.
“Roads are key in improving productivity and profitability. Majority of our population derive their livelihood through agriculture, but the sector is becoming unreliable because farmers cannot access markets and farm inputs because of the poor road network,” Mr. Mpuuga said.
I have always watched Mr. Mpuuga deliberately distancing himself from government yet going by our multi-party standards, he is part of government and indeed his office is heavily funded at a tune of over shs 3billion to contribute alternative views to government.
It’s unfortunate for Mpuuga like his other opposition colleagues to opt for propaganda and malicious type of leadership where he speaks from far with clear intent to discredit government in their deliberate smear campaign.
In his wild assertion, MP Mpuuga accuses government of coming up with budgets for oil roads, tourism roads and not agricultural roads.
Again, on this one, MP Mpuuga is not only acting politically selfish but he is completely blind to the glaring government commitment to expand roads network in the country and so detached from achievements.
He makes me believe that he just utters out unjustifiable statements for media attention and smear campaign engineered by hatred.
Like all opposition activists, Mpuuga behaves like the biblical Cleopas who told Jesus that he was the only one visiting Jerusalem and did not know about the news in town about Jesus’ resurrection. Out of ignorance, Cleopas had failed to recognize Jesus.
It’s on record that as of 2019, 5500km of roads have been paved since 1986 when NRM took over power in Uganda compared to a paltry 1,000kms by 1986.
This represents 41% increase from 3,800 kilometres in 2016 of the total national paved road network. In addition, 11 inland water vessels are operational with the commissioning of the Buwama and the Sigulu Ferry services according to President Museveni during his State of Natation address in May, 2021 at Parliament.
This and various government statistics is available for public consumption at no cost including MP Mpuuga whose office as the LOP is more equipped with a team of professional researchers to help him access relevant information and enrich his submission but he seems to be more entangled on malicious politics since it’s the backbone of his National Platform Party-NUP.
It’s also a fact that for over 20 years now, government has maintained roads infrastructure as a priority and as a result, several national roads have been built.
During 2010/2011 financial year, government of Uganda with support from the World Bank, built the 60kms Dokolo-Lira highway (Lango) and the 64km Soroti – Dokolo in Teso, this highway alone caused huge markets for agriculture in the region.
Some of the notable roads that have been upgraded by the government of Uganda and her development agencies include, the Mbarara-bypass 28km (Ankole) Kampala-Ebb Express way 57km, Kampala-Munyoyo Spur 28km, Rushere-Nshwerenkye 11km, Gulu-Acholibur 78km, Acholibur-Musingo 86km, and Mpigi-Kanoni 65km.
Others are Mukono – Kyetume – Katosi/Nyenga-Njeru 74km, Musita – Lumino – Busia/Majanji Road 104km, Akisim-Moroto 50.3km, Olwiyo – Gulu 70.3km, Kashenyi-Mitooma 11.5km,Kanoni-Ssembabule-Villa Maria 110km,Soroti- Katakwi – Akisim 100km, Mbale – Bubulo – Lwakhakha Road 45km, Mubende-Kakumiro-Kagadi Rd 107km , Bulima-Kabwoya 66km,Kyenjojo-Kabwoya 100km, and Nyenga-Njeru 10km.
Some roads whose works to upgrade is still ongoing according to UNRA, include Kigumba – Bulima 69km, Tirinyi – Pallisa – Kumi 67km, Pallisa – Kamonkoli 44km at the cost of over Ugx 200BN, Masindi Park Junction and Tangi Junction-Para-Bulisa 159km at the cost of USD 218M, Hoima – Butiaba – Wanseko Road 111km at the cost of USD 179M
Others are Buhimba – Nalweyo – Bulamagi & Bulamagi – Igayaza – Kakumiro 93km at USD 138M,Masindi-Biiso, Hohwa – Nyairongo – Kyarusheesha – Butoole, And Kabaale – Kiziranfumbi (97km) 97 at UGX 504bn, Kapchorwa – Suam 73km at UGX 268bn , Kitala – Gerenge 10km at UGX 2bn,and Masaka – Bukakata 41km at UGX 165bn.
Additional roads whose works are ongoing include Rukungiri – Kihihi – Ishasha/ Kanungu 78.5km, Busega – Mpigi Expressway 23.7km, Muyembe – Nakapiripirit and Service Roads 117km, Atiak – Laropi 66km , Rwenkunye – Apac (Lot 1) 90.9km , Apac – Lira – Puranga 100.1km, Kira – Matugga road and improvement of 5 No. junctions 21km.
Recently UNRA released some of the roads whose works are undergoing procurements including, Moroto-Lokitanyala Road 42km and he Contract was signed in February 202,Kituuma – Kapeeka – Butalangu 37km, and Kitgum – Kidepo Road 115km, among others.
In addition to this undertaking, Government on the guidance of President Museveni continued to distribute roads equipment to all districts across the country to enhance their capacity to work on local roads compounded with quarterly funds often released to all local government institutions to finance roads upgrade.
I wonder how fast LOP Mpuuga as an MP who is aware about how much parliament had appropriated for roads projects this financial year can easily forget and instead embraced lies.
The total budget for the Works and Transport Sector in FY 2021/22 is UGX 3.9 trillion to finance the upgrade of 400km-equivalent of national roads from gravel to tarmac; rehabilitation of 200km equivalent of national roads and 470km of DUCAR and Construction of 37 bridges on national roads among others.
This financial year alone, UNRA is currently upgrading 26 road development projects (new construction and upgrading from paved bituminous standards) covering a total distance 1764.4 Km
So for MP Mpuuga, a known senior leader with fairly exposed legislative experience to blatantly lie to Uganda is more appalling, and politically sickening.
I advise our opposition leaders including my colleagues from the National Unity Platform party to embrace the practice of clean democratic politics grounded on development and effective service deliveries to our people instead of malicious politicking always.
In conclusion, Hon Mpuuga’s utterances was an abuse to the community in Kabale and Uganda in general meaning that the people are too green to identify the government achievements. This is common for the leadership of the National Unity Platform when regularly telling Ugandans that the country is moving backwards under NRM despite the remarkable progress.
The author is a social and political commentator