Former Ethics minister Miria Matembe says President Yoweri Museveni has already embarked on his campaign trail for 2021 presidential elections.
Matembe was referring to what she termed as “Museveni’s stunt” pulled in Luweero district this week where he fetched water with a bicycle to irrigate his farm.
“What Museveni was doing in Luweero has nothing to do with wealth creation. He’s just seeking cheap popularity,” she said while appearing on “NBS Frontline” programme Thursday.
She added: “President Museveni is already on his 2021 campaign trail. He started in Kampala and has now moved to Luweero.”
Matembe said as usual, President Museveni is simply politicking and that what he is doing has nothing to do with wealth creation.
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo who was appearing on the same show, repeated Museveni’s words claiming that fetching water with a bicycle was equal to Jesus Christ washing his disciples’ feet.
Opondo: [parroting] “Jesus washed the feet of his disciples…”
Miria Matembe: [shouting Opondo down]“Leave Jesus out of these matters!”
Opondo: [unyielding] “…President Museveni is doing the same.”
Matembe: [almost rapping] “What President Museveni was doing in Luweero has nothing to do with wealth creation.”
Opondo: [insistent] the president’s actions were symbolic. He was telling all farmers that this is what they should do.
Matembe: [with disgust] “He is just seeking cheap popularity.”
Democratic Party President, Norbert Mao, also concurred with Matembe that President Museveni’s water fetching stunt is simply populist politics.
“Looks like he has finally found his calling. What Museveni is doing in Luweero is like peeing in the ocean and expecting the sea level to rise,” Mao pointed out.
Makerere Prof Godfrey Agea would have loved if President Museveni was demonstrating how to fly a Uganda Airlines plane, not drip irrigation.
Don Wanyama, the Senior Presidential Press Secretary, on the other hand, believes criticism of what the president did is characteristic of Uganda’s elitist analysts and their thinking.
“By demonstrating drip irrigation, this doesn’t mean the government is not embracing modern methods,” Don said.
He said the president was demonstrating that even amidst scarce resources, there is always a solution.
According to Don, the president decided to use soldiers to deliver inputs to farmers and more farmers are receiving inputs.
“Truth is, many of our farmers are still subsistence farmers. What the president demonstrated is relevant to them.”
In his defence,
President Museveni said water for irrigation is suitable for people in villages because rain agriculture is unreliable.
He accused critics of speaking out of ignorance giving an example of his farms where irrigation has been successful.
Museveni initiated Operation Wealth Creation [OWC] program in 2013 to replace Entandikwa and NAADS programmes which had failed.