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MPs claim systematic discrimination

By Onghwens Kisangala

Are the loss and destruction, neglect and deprivation in northern Uganda a national issue or problems created by people from the region and one that they themselves should settle? The Independent spoke to some politicians.

Banyenzaki Henry (MP Rubanda West ‘ Kabale district)

There is a problem with the whole Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ vetting committee. Those people are right but I want to look at the broader picture. Apart from just Onen, look at the refusal to support Justice Kanyeihamba for the International Court appointment. How do you deny such a man such an office when you don’t have an alternative? There is a problem.

Kassiano Wadri  (MP Terego’ Arua district)

What is being done to us is purposed social exclusion. In the army all Generals are village-mates from the west with the majority of other senior officers from the same area enjoying here in Kampala with their women when the huge bulk of the fighting force are our children from the north. It is a well-orchestrated attempt to maintain the colonial policy of keeping northern Uganda as a labour reserve.

Salaam Musumba (FDC Vice President)

For a long time we have told the rest of Uganda that it was by design that the rest of the country is marginalised, disintegrated to empower one region. But it is not just about northern Uganda; the people of Busoga, in spite of their support for President Museveni are poorer than the people of northern Uganda who have been in 20 years of encampment.

Wafula Oguttu (FDC Spokesman)

In anything where there is authority and money being distributed you don’t find people from northern Uganda. It means they have disappeared from the public service, businesses and political power. I think the NRM has had a deliberate policy to marginalise the people of the north. When they had just entered here there was that thing of the ‘Anyanyas,’ everybody from the north was called Anyanya. Although this is no longer an issue, it remains so practically.

Umar Kalinge Nyago (JEEMA Spokesman)

Not northern Uganda alone thinks they are marginalised. Many communities in this country think they are. You recall that in the last UACE results two districts, one in Karamoja another in Teso did not have a single A’Level candidate. It was well documented. This has happened for the first time since independence. So what happened? Did the people of Teso suddenly become very stupid?

Hussein Kyanjo  (MP Makindye West ‘ Kampala)

It is not merely about northern Uganda. It is general but because the MPs of northern Uganda cannot authoritatively speak for other parts of the country, they did for the north. You remember when I called for Buganda to secede. Take the idea of leaving someone who has been training for so many years in and for a particular profession, and you opt for an army officer to take charge of police.

Alice Alaso (Soroti Woman MP)

The constitution says government should ensure that resources are evenly distributed. In my district, the best we have in terms of industrial development is probably not more than a grinding mill. Yet we used to have the railway lines, meat packers, cotton ginning, but all have broken down. It goes up to Karamoja which story of Karamoja cannot even be talked about, yet other parts of the country seem to be having a good life. Coca Cola, milk-cooling plants in Mbarara, name them. The power line that brought life to the far-east through Teso to Pakwach is no more.

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