Friday, November 26, 2010

Besigye: Bunyoro will get oil money

As as the campaign trail gets hotter, the voters have their ears flapped to capture how each of the presidential candidates will handle oil after winning the election. In this Daily Monitor article, Francis Mugerwa and Gerald Bareebe write that IPC flag bearer Dr. Kizza Besigye has promised Bunyoro a share of the oil revenues.

Dr Kizza Besigye yesterday promised oil-rich Bunyoro region a share of revenues from the resource if elected president. Dr Besigye, the IPC opposition coalition candidate, told a rally at Masindi’s Boma Grounds that Bunyoro, one of the poorest regions of the country, would directly benefit from oil sales.

The proposal is a policy departure from the ruling NRM party, which considers the oil as a national resource and offers no affirmative action for Bunyoro. NRM officials said the IPC proposal was untenable.

Divide and rule?
Attributing local ethnic tensions between indigenous Banyoro and immigrant populations (loosely referred to as Bafuruki) to State machinations, Dr Besigye warned the people against what he called President Museveni’s “divide and rule policy”.

“The NRM government is dividing you so as to steal the newly-discovered oil without your attention … you might be aware that the oil blocks were recently sold at a cost of over $1.5 billion,” Dr Besigye said. “The FDC government will manage the oil resources transparently and efficiently. Bunyoro will have its due share of oil revenues.” But the spokesperson of President Museveni’s campaign, Mr Ofwono Opondo, yesterday said Dr Besigye’s ideas were not viable.

“Revenue collected by this government has been used very well though we have had some hitches here and there,” Mr Opondo said. “Let Dr Besigye give us a formula of how he will distribute oil proceeds. What if other regions like Kasese and Kanungu that produce copper and wolfram also demand their share? What will he do?”

Dr Besigye observed that as tribal unrest simmered, a company that was contracted to explore for oil sold its concession to another company for $1.5 billion after spending about $300 million. This company made a profit of $1.2b without the people of Bunyoro asking questions because, according to him, they were busy fighting each other with each seeking favour with Mr Museveni. However, President Museveni’s spokesman, Tamale Mirundi, accused the opposition politician of playing dirty.

“Dr Besigye is trying to incite the public against the President. The Banyoro will benefit just like other tribes in Uganda and they will not be given any special status because oil is Uganda’s asset though found in Bunyoro,” he said yesterday.

Dr Besigye’s comments follow last week’s report released by Global Witness, an international organisation that investigates the role of natural resources in funding conflict and corruption worldwide.

Voiced concern
The organisation voiced concern over the role of the army Special Forces Group, commanded by First Son Lt. Col. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, and Saracen, a private security firm owned by the President’s brother, Gen. Salim Saleh, in guarding the country’s oil wells in the Albertine area.

Although Dr Besigye did not say what percentage of oil proceeds his government would devote to Bunyoro, he insisted that under the current administration it is likely that oil revenue will be used to entrench President Museveni and “the corrupt NRM system”. It is up to the people of Bunyoro, the IPC candidate said, to save the country from the looming ‘oil curse’ by voting out President Museveni.

In Bujenje County, Dr Besigye said one of his first assignments as Head of State will be to tarmac the Masindi-Hoima-Fort Portal road and to set up affirmative action for Bunyoro and Busoga sub-regions.

No comments:

Post a Comment