A meeting between President Museveni and youth leaders of the National Youth Council (NYC) executive in Jinja District, ended on a low note after the President quelled the youth’s financial expectations.
The youth leaders gathered from across the country had invited Museveni to attend their annual sitting at Rugby grounds in Jinja District, and when asked to speak, they made all forms of demands, most of which were financial.
One of the executives invited forth by NYC chairperson Lillian Aber requested President Museveni to forwards Shs10m to each of the youth leaders to facilitate their ‘personal problems’.
‘Your Excellency, we have so many needs, as youth leaders, I request that you at least contribute to our needs by Shs10m each one,” the member noted.
Museveni while replying to a number of their suggestions dismissed this specific request, urging that he would be setting a wrong precedent as a grandfather and perennial leader of this nation.
“One of the youth made a request of Shs10m for each of the representative youth, that is not a problem, I have Shs3.4b, but ask yourselves, is this request worth? I can tell you as a perennial leader, not an annual leader, not a seasonal one- one thing you should always avoid is to put yourself first, that is a death sentence for you,” he said amidst murmurs.
“It will be a big problem for you, you will soon disappear as a leader, people will see you as a selfish person. I am not ready to participate in your failure; I am not ready to ‘kill’ you,” he added.
The youth continued to make chorus suggestions that he rescind the decision and award them a financial grant for their personal gain, but Museveni continued to tactfully divert. Until a time when he decided to go bare knuckles.
“I can avail the Shs 3.4b, not to you individually, but for youth around the country who are involved in different productive things. Instead of it being pocketed privately by you. If you don’t accept it then I am not going to be a party to misleading you, because of course it is me with the money and I can’t be the one misleading you.”
“I can’t do that, that I come here to give you money individually when there are other millions there waiting. No, I can’t do that. If I say yes because I want to please you then I will be the one at fault. You call me your grandfather and surely I can’t be the one doing that,” Museveni maintained.
There was disappointment written all over the faces of the youth, who kept murmuring amongst themselves, again Museveni called them to order.
“Sit down, I am getting late. You see there is history where youth leaders come and say give us our share when you ask them what about the others you lead, they say ah abo baveeko (Let the rest lie). Let us look at an alternative which is not as dangerous as the one u are suggesting.”
“Giving you this money becomes like a kasiimo, why do you kusiima those who are also at the sub-county, villages, etc? MPs were getting themselves into this trap and I advised them against it. If we do things without thinking, we are headed for trouble.”
He advised them to form smaller Saacos amongst themselves in order to get general funding from the government.
“Go back to your structures, form smaller Saacos for funding. This money will come to you either way but not like this. You can benefit from it even more than once. You can be in a Saaco for youth leaders, women, farmers and still the money will find you there.”
During the meeting, Museveni also urged that ‘while we must protect our cultural heritage from Western Influence we should change our mindset as citizens and choose to abandon the traditional methods of working for only ‘the stomach.