HOIMA: The National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED) leader Joseph Kabuleta Kizza has said Bunyoro remains one of the poorest sub regions in Uganda despite the discovery of oil in the area over 20 years ago.
Kabuleta made the revelation on Tuesday while delivering his financial liberation message to the leaders and locals of Bunyoro.
The vocal government critic said ever since oil was discovered in the sub region, the indigenous people have gone from being poor to poorest due to government’s less interest in developing the area both socially and economically.
“Oil was first discovered in Bunyoro 20 years ago and government started selling it in crude form at the backs of Ugandans but no single person here has a small piece of land that contains oil. They came and took all your lucrative land and everything. Those people in power even refused to build for you even a single primary school, or a small health facility out of the oil money they make,” Kabuleta noted.
He added: “They only say, they have built roads but the roads are not built for you, they are built for them to transport and sell your stolen oil. So there’s a lot of poverty amidst a great deal of wealth in this area.”
The former 2021 presidential election candidate further accused government of exploitation. He said the people in power have made it a tendency to exploit Ugandans through imposing high taxes on them and stealing their natural wealth.
“The only thing this government knows is exploitation. It exploits you of your hard- earned money through imposing high taxes on commodities. Look at the current skyrocketing oil prices; every litre has been increased by Shs2,000, the high charges on electricity, corruption in every sector of the economy like health, education among others. No more free services in hospitals. It means you cannot escape exploitation when you’re in Uganda,” the former journalist turned politician asserted.
“You will never become rich because the current system in Uganda is there to exploit you economically. Your livelihood cannot be improved because there’s always something that sucks your pockets dry. That’s why we are here as NEED. We tell you that unless we fight and change that exploitative system, the hardworking people will remain poor because even if they work their lives out, they cannot have money in their pockets.”
Gloria Kabasinguzi, one of the resident who attended the symposium, said the people of Bunyoro are yet to benefit from the oil discovery and they are languishing in poverty due to government’s reluctance to develop the oil rich sub region.
“For example we have oil but our children even don’t have jobs. They bring foreigners and people from other parts of the country to enjoy the jobs. We have poor government health facilities, poor education services. Generally, we have not benefitted from the oil,” Kabasinguzi cried out.
Asiimwe Akiiki also stated, “We feel envious of this government for under developing Bunyoro. First the level of education services in the area are wanting. Government doesn’t want Bunyoro people to be Educated. It even failed to provide for us a single University yet we have taken so many years pleading for that one thing. We have knelt before them to help us develop our area using our oil but they have refused. They say that what we could get is 1 percent from our oil and what annoys most is that the beneficiary of the 1 percent is not seen or known.”
NEED under the stewardship of Kabuleta is currently on a nationwide campaign premised on protecting Uganda’s natural deposits that could be used by citizens to alleviate themselves from poverty. The political movement has so far managed to spread the economic empowerment message to Busoga, Buganda, Bugisu, Bukedi, Teso, Sebei, Lango, Acholi, West Nile,Tooro, Rwenzori, Kigezi , Ankole and Bunyoro sub regions.