President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Friday graced Kitgum Municipality MP, Beatrice Anywar’s thanksgiving prayers at Boma Grounds, Kitgum District.
Speaking at the event, Museveni tackled the issue of criminality in Kitgum blaming police for failing to handle criminals who “come to steal and kill people”.
“The problem is the corruption in police,” Museveni said, adding that government can end corruption if it gets information from the public.
“You can also report irresponsible police, health officials and teachers to elected leaders,” he told the gathering.
Museveni said NRM emphasises three main points; peace and security, infrastructure development and wealth creation.
The president said he was very happy to celebrate with “my sister Beatrice Anywar” especially after she survived three accidents.
“We are happy she survived these accidents. Politics should not be part of such issues.”
He added: “Even if you don’t agree politically, you can’t wish her dead. Instead work to win her to your side.”
The president said for about 10 years, Anywar’s attitude has been changing positively, asking NRM to what Jesus told his people, to become fishers of men.
“Am here to see if I can fish Anywar and all the other fish in the lake. NRM had recruit more,” Museveni joked in his usual humorous manner.
As for dealing with politicians, Museveni says you talk to hostile ones, talk to neutral ones, talk to indifferent ones so that we keep increasing numbers, of course also look for quality.
Museveni also shared a light moment with opposition bigwigs at Boma grounds before proceeding to commission the new technical wing at Irene Gleeson Foundation campus in Kitgum.
He further fulfilled his pledge handing over a tractor to Kitgum women’s SACCO to help them in agro-production.
Alleged NRM links
In July 2016, reports made rounds that mama Mabira was on her way to join the ruling party.
“In politics, we don’t have permanent friends and enemies. Somebody appointing you a minister does not mean that he has taken your brain away,” Anywar is quoted telling press.
“Betty Amongi put it better when she said that if you are heading to Kampala and your vehicle broke down, you can jump in any so long as you reach Kampala,” she quoted Amongi, a UPC member and MP for Oyam South, who was named a minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development in Museveni’s cabinet.
In the eighth and ninth parliaments, Anywar was the Kitgum Woman MP on the FDC ticket. In the run-up to the 2016 elections, she became critical of some officials in FDC and then nominated former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, for the presidency.
Later, with the political tide moving against her in Kitgum, she made a U-turn and backed FDC’s flag bearer, Dr Kizza Besigye.
She defeated Denis Onekalit, the FDC flag bearer after running as an independent. She is now free to work with any party, including the NRM.
“I am no longer bound by ties to any political party. So, I am going to see where there is opportunity for my people. My campaign agents belong to different political parties UPC, FDC, NRM,” she said.
Anywar was later made deputy chair on the parliamentary committee on gender, labour and social development with NRM chief whip, Ruth Nankabirwa, reading out her name.
Who is Anywar?
Beatrice Atim Anywar, also known as Mama Mabira, born 1964 in Kitgum, is an Ugandan politician and member of Parliament for the opposition party FDC, and minister of the Environment in the Shadow Cabinet.
She was chosen to the parliament in 2006 by defeating the NRM candidate Santa Okot.
She became well known for her work to save the Mabira Forest in Uganda.
The president Yoweri Museveni, and the government, had prior to her work decided to sell the forest to the sugar company Scoul to cut it down and convert it into a sugar cane plantation for ethanol production.
Atim fought along with for example National Association of Professional Environmentalists to stop the felling, and organized a boycott of Scoul’s sugar.
Her work has led to several environmental prizes.
In 2007, about 100,000 Ugandans demonstrated in a demonstration called the “Save Mabira Crusade” against the president and military to save the forest.
Three people died and many were hurt.
Atim Anywar’s house was besieged by military and police, and she was imprisoned for terrorism.
However, the demonstration united different people, and a certain cooperation arose.