The Leader of Opposition Nathan Nandala Mafabi on Tuesday formally responded to the State of the Nation address that was delivered to the 9th parliament by President Yoweri Museveni.
The response was addressed to different sectors in the economy in line with the President’s speech and some of them were the electoral reforms, economy, unemployment, infrastructures and others.
Mafabi noted in his response that the President in his speech gave the nation flowery figures which he said that the figures will never mean anything if the President does not address himself to the problem of inequality, poverty and Unemployment.
He advised that the evidence of the state of the economy could be easily found in the markets, streets and gardens saying that this is where the vast number of Ugandans are found.
Mafabi told the house that indifference still reigns in the government’s approach to meeting Ugandans basic needs.
He demanded that government focuses on programs that address poverty rather than experimenting on poor people as if they were pigs. He warned the government that it should remember that a poverty stricken populace is very dangerous and is a recipe for generational unrest saying that white elephant programs like Entandikwa, Kulembeka, Bonabaggagawale and the money in sacks will not help Ugandans.
On energy and infrastructure, Nandala challenged the President for making inadequate proposals. He wondered of what use would a 600 megawatts Karuma dam or when the long promised railway lines would be built.
He questioned the time frame and resources that will get the above in to place. He questioned the president’s decision to hand over the $ 3 billion Karuma Project to one company without competitive bidding.
He wondered whether this is not corruption of the highest order and how the president will fight corruption when he is the same person encouraging it.
But the Minister in charge of Presidency Frank Tumwebaze said that he was surprised that the Leader Of Opposition is totally ignorant of the PPDA law when he claims that the president single handedly gave out karuma.
Tumwebaze noted that the point is that the PPDA law which was passed by Parliament provides for bilateral undertaking as a form of procurement. Commitments under bi-lateral undertakings are given first priority in any procurement process, and we have precedent set already such as the Entebbe express highway.
He added that Cabinet also made a pronouncement on the matter, adding that Mafabi is one of those people who work to cause paralysis through what they speak and blame government describing it as retrogressive politics.
On Electoral reforms Mafabi noted that the country is moving towards 2016 general elections and that the elections we have held since 1996 have been disputed and characterized by rigging and violence.
He noted that the country yearns for general elections in which all Ugandans have confidence right from the start. He appealed for a general elections held under laws acceptable to most Ugandans and conducted by Electoral Commission that enjoys the trust of the country and not seen as partisan and agents of the president or the ruling party.
On the Population Census, Mafabi said that government has failed to carry out population census which is a key determinant in proper national planning which he said is deliberate so that government has freewill to do what it pleases rather than being exposed by grim poverty demographic realities.
He demanded for an immediate population census to guide national planning.
Mafabi also addressed himself to the Agricultural sector, the Political uncertainty, Local council 1 elections, investment and business, social sector, unemployment and others.
The Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah deferred the debate on the President’s State of the Nation address to Tuesday next week and argued chief whips of different parties in parliament to list members who wish to debate on the address and submit their names.