Last weekend I went to Rushenyi County where I had gone to attend a cultural function for my best friend. Hon Mwesigwa Rukutana has been a Member of Parliament for this County for the last 24 years. He was elected MP for Rushenyi County since 1996.
Particularly, the function was at Nyakitabire LCI but later I toured other parts that included Omugyenyi, Kashanda, Kamahuri among others.
To begin with, I set off from Kampala on Friday around 9:00pm with my friends and we reached Omungyei town along Ntungamo-Kabale Road at around 4:00am. When I called my relatives from Nyakitabire asking them the route I should use, they told me I should use the route that goes to Hon Rukutana’s home because the one that connects to his mother’s home was impassable.
I later used the road that connects to Rukutana’s home as I passed Kashanda trading Center, which is Rukutana’s hometown, it was total darkness and the road was slippery and I thought power had gone. As I branched, off heading to Nyakitabire just like 200 meters, the road became impassable so we had to leave the vehicle behind.
We moved on foot for close to 10kms to reach Nyakitabire. During the night move, the road was muddy and slippery and there was no power but our surprise we only saw electricity at Rukutana’s home. We reached at Nyakitabire at around 7:00am and we went with our function and went normally up to 6:00pm.
Before the function ended, the weather threatened to rain and the visitors were told to vacate before rain could start. “When the rain finds you here, you will have to sleep and move in the morning because you have nowhere to pass as roads would be impassable,” said one of the local leaders. The visitors left the function premature.
On Sunday, I decided to move in the areas I mentioned above trying to find out what value has Rukutana added to Rushenyi for the last 24 years he has been in Parliament and in particular a Minister. To my surprise, over 80% of the people I interviewed were cursing him for poor service delivery. The interview was done randomly.
“My brother I want to tell you that Hon Rukutana is an enemy of Rushenyi, Ntungamo District and Uganda at large. He does not even fit to be LC1 Chairman of any village in Uganda,” says one of local residents of Kashanda trading center that is next to Rukutana’s home.
He says Rukutana is a selfish and greedy man who does not want any development to his area. “When a neighbor puts up a good home around his areas, he gets annoyed and harasses that person because he knows that person will be his competitor,” says another local resident.
He added that to show that Rukutana is every selfish and greedy man he refused to bring electricity through Kashanda trading to his home but instead passed electricity from his farm to his house. “If he had used Kashanda town, all the people around would have benefited but because of his selfishness and greed, he refused,” says another woman who owns a small shop in Kashanda town.
Other residents of Kamahuri said Rukutana has done nothing to Rushenyi apart from telling them how he is connected to President Museveni and he can never be dropped as a minister and how he will always buy our votes.
All roads in Rushenyi are impassable and this has made us poor because we cannot access market during rainy seasons. “You can not transport matooke, milk, ghee, beans among others from Nyakitabire to Kakyerere or Rubare markets during rainy seasons because road net work is very poor,” says another old woman who cursed Rukutana for life.
More people I interviewed said Rukutana has failed to lift up school standards in Rushenyi because they do not have any good school. “If you go to Kajara, they have Kitunga, Kagamba in Ruhaama there is Rwera, Ntugamo Municipality there is Standard High School, Ntugamo high school, Kyamate but in Rushenyi we have zero,” another voter says.
Even in Primary education, Rushenyi is the worst in Ntungamo District. We always have few candidates in grade one compared to Ruhaama and Kajara.
On health issues, voters say Rukutana has not done any improvement because most of the health centers are drugless, no ambulances, no workers and people end up using private clinics that are expensive.
Voters ended up say Rukutana has always rigged their votes. “We last voted Rukutana genuinely in 2011 but for the last two terms, he has been using a gun to win,” says another voter.