Despite the natural and mineral resources at hand, Uganda is still ranked among the top 10 poorest countries of the world.
In the first half of 2021, the Finance ministry reported that 28 percent of Ugandans were poor, a state that was made worse when 4.3 million people working in the informal sector slid into poverty due the impacts of Covid 19 as it had been predicted by the UNDP.
Former Presidential candidate, journalist, sports analyst and pastor Joseph Kabuleeta has remarked that the government is deliberately keeping Ugandans poor, aiming at keeping its entrenchment in power.
He made the statements during The Brunch Talk Show on RX Radio where he stated that despite the natural and mineral resources Uganda is blessed with, the government is strategically keeping people uninformed about their own wealth, while foreigners scoop it.
He gave reference to the gold mines in Busia, where people work in gold mines that produce over 1000 kgs but locals who get employed in the mines are paid only 5000 shillings per day which translates into 55 million dollars going by the gold price rate yet people in the locality are extremely poor, given only small handouts in addition to having impassable roads and hospitals that lack beds and drugs.
According to Kabuleta, projects such as the Bonna Bagaggawale, Emyooga and Parish Development Model are all politically motivated to serve the interests of a few individuals while keeping the rest in extreme poverty because they can not gain from the resources around them.
“There’s nothing that Museveni does that can be aimed at getting people out of poverty because he is the master of creating it. Everything he has done since he came to power is to put people in poverty and that works perfectly well for him,”Kabuleta said.
Kabuleeta said that the number of mineral resources the country has are enormous but are being divided between a small family which does so through dis empowering the population that is aimed at creating a noble and peasant class of people.
“NRM has built a system and it's so deliberately crafted that money is put in one pocket as it gets taken out in two others behind their trousers and it has been entrenched at every level. For example they said that fuel prices went up because trucks were stuck at the borders, now they were let in and fuel prices remained up,” he explained.
He went on to say that as a third world country, Uganda pays the equal amount of electricity bills as Sweden and is the second country paying the highest electricity bills after Turkey according to some estimates.
This, according to him, puts Uganda on the blacklist of Investors and industrialists who operate based on power, fuel and taxes.
“How are investors going to come here when we have a very unrealistic double or even triple taxation?” Sometimes, the interest rates are also aimed at impoverishing people.”
He also mentioned that education has been rendered redundant today. He explained that attaining a bachelor's degree is no longer of profound value. Despite the high costs in acquiring a degree, there are no jobs at the end of the day unlike his time when education was highly valued by the government and people were assured of jobs after leaving school.
“This whole system has been put from the beginning, even corruption is a means of making sure that money doesn't get to certain people. So it stays up there. In the villages for example, they have used land wrangles to keep people away from production and accumulating wealth,” he said.
Kabuleta asserted that unlike other countries, In Uganda, people work for survival because of the many holes in their pockets and as such it becomes hard for one to earn a living without being connected or belonging to a certain region, a system the President cannot undo because it's against his system.
To dismantle the system, Kabuleta says that people have to be sensitized about their rights, how they can benefit from natural and mineral resources and ultimately a change in leadership.
Kabuleta is the founder of the National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED) that aims at eradicating poverty through economic empowerment and enlightening citizens about how they can benefit and accumulate wealth through utilizing their resources in their areas.
Brunch Talk is hosted by Olive Najjuma Monica every Saturday from Midday to 1pm on RX Radio.