This year has begun on a high note with the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party winning the Busia District by-election for LC5 by over 60 per cent of the votes, on the recommendation of the IGG,threw out the former LC5 chairman Ouma Adea.
The by-election was won won by the NRM flag-bearer, Stephen Wanyama Oundo Osiepuna, commonly known as ‘Osiepu’ who beat the IPC candidate Deo Hasubi Njoki.
We commend the people of Samia for supporting and loving NRM and rejecting the Opposition. We also commend Opposition leaders most especially my brothers Nobert Mao (DP president) and Wafula Phillip Oguttu (Leader of Opposition in Parliament) for honourably conceding defeat.
The Opposition had gone into this by-election with swords ablaze: that this was yet another “Luwero” or “Amuru” scenario where they had hoped to embarrass the NRM and President Yoweri Museveni.
The people of Busia couldn’t afford to gamble their votes and support on the Opposition given the fact that the NRM government has delivered on the key priority services in the District. For the record, the district budget has increased from Shs 2.5billion in 1997 (when Busia became a district) to Shs 11.6billion in 2006/07 and now stands at Shs 24.2billion this financial year, an increase of Shs 21.7billion (868 per cent).
This money has enhanced service delivery in the District in key priority sectors of education, health, water and sanitation, roads, etc. For instance, in the education sector, the number of pupils enrolled for the Universal Primary Education Programme has increased from 27,031 pupils in 1997 to 84,872 pupils in 117 rural primary schools.
The increased budget has enabled the District under the NRM government to construct 958 classrooms, 1,399 latrine stances, 20, 655 desks and recruit 1,320 teachers.
Coming to health, there has been steady increase in the number of children reached for immunisation in the district with a percentage coverage increasing from 76.2 per cent in 2008 to 95.2 per cent by close of 2013.
By 1997, the District had only 6 Health Centre IIIs i.eMasafu, Lumino, Bulumbi, Masaba (Mbehenyi) and Busitemaand one NGO Hospital (Dabani). However, currently there are 29 functional health facilities in the District.
The District safe water coverage has increased from 17 per cent in 1997 to 74 per cent in 2014 and latrine coverage is now 81 per cent. The District has 368 functional boreholes, 99 shallow wells and 207 protected springs.
One can go on and on about the benefits of Busia as a district from the NRM government, including the district feeder road network which has increased from 43.6km in 1998 to the current network of 740.3km.
With the above solid achievements in service delivery, the Opposition were left with no more lies to tell the voters. They had mounted propaganda about the much-talked about Musita-Lumino-Majanji-Busia Road, however, the good news is that this year this road is set to be tarmacked.
The Opposition failed to coalesce support on real issues but, rather, went overdrive into senseless propaganda against the NRM Candidate and President Museveni. For instance, they went petty and personal telling voters not to vote the NRM Candidate Mzee ‘Osiepu’ on account that the latter”didn’t have a home as hehad sold his house in Busia town to Aggrey Awori”!
Unfortunately for the Opposition, the people have opened their eyes and are able to discern what works and what doesn’t work for them after realising that the Opposition’s aim is to keep them backward in poverty and ignorance by persuading them into rejecting programmes that are designed to empower them economically and socially.
Most importantly, the NRM has had a double score in this by-election: winning the election and uniting the various leaders/camps. Busia is predominantly NRM, and the recent reconciliation of the different leaders and factions (who are all NRM) make the party much stronger.
The writer works at NRM Secretariat/Office of President-Dept for political mobilisation