KAMPALA – The National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED) leader Joseph Kizza Kabuleta has said the poorly drafted 1995 National Constitution which gave a lot of powers to the President is one of the reasons why majority of Ugandans have not benefitted from the country vast natural resources.
He says the President has used the powers given to him by the constitution to mismanage and enjoy Uganda’s resources with a few people close to him thus leaving citizens to languish in poverty.
“Before the constitution is amended to ensure equal distribution of wealth among Ugandans, we as NEED we shall continue to sensitize and mobilize citizens to fight for their national resources and how they can benefit from them,” Mr Kabuleta noted.
The former presidential candidate made the revelation during the NEED Symposium that took place at the movement’s headquarters in Kampala on Friday.
Running under the theme ‘The Buganda We Want’ , the conference was attended by activists and politicians from Buganda region. NEED officials such as the Chief of Staff Charles Basajja, the movement Spokesperson Moses Matovu, the National Coordinator Asuman Odaka and his deputy Joe Nakibinge were also present among other delegates.
Mr Kabuleta also asked Ugandans to wake up and fight against the exploitation of their country’s natural resources by one family in power.
He said in Uganda there is no need of forming political parties because there are already two major political parties; the exploiters and those exploited and the current task the latter have is to fight and get a proper share of what rightly belongs to them.
“People ask me, are you starting a political party? I tell them, there are only two political parties in Uganda, the exploiters and exploited. So all of us, and most of those here listening to this, are part of the political party code “exploited” and those exploiting us are just one family, relatives, friends and in-laws. So it is time for the exploited to stand up and fight for one thing that unites the country,” he said.
Mr Kabuleta further noted that being proud about something you have when somebody else is actually getting all the benefits is equivalent to having nothing.
“Every place where there is a resource now, people are living in fear yet before the discovery of those resources, the indigenous people were enjoying their life and growing a lot of maize, and so on.Their life was good until they discovered gold and oil in their land. The exploiters did not even buy the land they came and threw them off with guns,” he said.
“So we are working on awakening people to the fact that they have a right to fight for their resources. We live in a very rich country, but that worth is not being reflected in our lifestyles, in our pockets. And that is what the national economic empowerment dialogue is all about. We have to start talking about empowering people. Okay, how do people be beneficiaries of the unique resources they have in their areas?”
On the issue of his nationwide sensitization campaign, Mr Kabuleta said the assessment is very positive because NEED is touching on the subject that everybody can relate to.
“When we talk about the issues of exploitation, everybody unites, and they are so galvanized, and it’s just a start. Eventually, the message is going to grow powerful since people will start realizing that actually, we’re not poor, we are not meant to be poor.”
He added that Uganda has a lot of resources in that even if the exploiters decide to give 10 percent out of it to the local people it would be enough to help them get out of poverty.
“Time will come and every Ugandan will receive justice and have what belongs to them back.Let’s just soldier on and spread the gospel of change.”
Veteran politician and Buganda kingdom stalwart, Owek Israel Mayengo who was the keynote speaker at the Symposium, urged that Uganda’s political problems can be drastically reduced if the position of the President is replaced with the executive commission which will be headed by four members from different regions.
“We need to ammend the constitution and remove the Office of the President and opt for an Executive Commission with revolving leadership. We should eliminate the irony that this tribe is one leading other tribes because if that is still here, we shall not overcome nepotism,” Owek Mayengo asserted.
“All we need is a constitution that unites and harmonises us (different communities of Uganda) and that can only be achieved if we learn how to co-exist hence the dialogue.”
Meanwhile, despite being formed a few months ago, NEED has managed to traverse most parts of the country with an aim of sensitizing Ugandans to fight for their natural resources which in turn they could use to elleviate themselves from poverty.
Unveiling the political movement in September this year, Mr Kabuleta, a former journalist said NEED is constituted of politicians who currently hold no office but have influence in their respective sub-regions and are able to start meaningful discussions that shall see Ugandans fight for their resources.