President Yoweri Museveni has visited Bulusaba village in Bufupa Parish, Sironko district in Eastern Uganda’s Bugisu Sub-Region, where landslides claimed seven lives of Ugandans 3 months ago.
The President who was in the area, expressed his condolences, on behalf of the Government of Uganda, to the relatives, friends and families who lost their loved ones.
He later distributed relief items to some of the victims that were affected by the 28th August tragedy.
Addressing a rally at Masaba Senior Secondary playgrounds in Budadiri West Constituency, Masaba Sub-county, the President strongly warned on the dangers of residing on top of mountain cliffs and cultivating below the mountainous areas, saying that these activities have largely caused massive soil erosion leading to landslides.
“This Masaba Mountain looks after you like a mother but it is a taboo to see your mother naked lest you can get cursed. God gave clothes to our mother Masaba which are the forests and grass. When you come, your mother might give some of her clothes to you but if you go far and want to see her nakedness, then you will get in trouble and this is what is happening. Let’s agree to look after our mother just as she has looked after you for centuries,” the President said.
Mr. Museveni said that he has mobilized funds to assist the people who had settled in the mountainous areas so that they can be relocated to safer places.
“We must do everything possible to persuade these people to get out of those areas. This is not the issue of the mountain anymore but a matter of avoiding death,” he stressed.
The President advised the people to be cognizant of the fact that the high and low areas of the cliffs should only be used for economic rather than residential purposes. He proposed that wananchi should build houses 500 metres away from the bottom of the mountain adding that government is ready to assist those that were planning to build organized houses following the demarcated distance.
“You can cultivate perennial crops like coffee and avocado which don’t disturb the soil so much. Even when you cultivate, use contours because it is a sloppy areas that can easily be eroded,” he advised.
President Museveni informed the people that he had directed the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja to return to their area and implement Government programme of enlightened commercial farming in their mountainous environment. He also advised the people of Bufupa to utilize the rocks there and construct strong roads.
“Bufupa has a big rock just waiting to kill people, why don’t you blast it and make strong roads. In Rome, roads are made of stone. They could have been made during the time of Jesus. These rocks here too, can be made to make tiles and long-lasting roads which will promote tourism,” he observed.
President Museveni encouraged wananchi to practice social mobility as opposed to social stagnancy, noting that this would avert problems of over-crowding in villages.
“You don’t have to all physically stay home because of the property. You can choose a managing director and come once a year to see how things are fairing” he said.
The Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Engineer Hillary Onek commended President Museveni for going to Sironko district to share with the people their grief following the loss of life due to the landslides. He said that such disasters were not only confined Sironko district but have also happened in other areas of the country as a result of climatic pattern changes and environmental degradation by some people.
Sironko LC5 Chairperson, Mr. Herbert Mulekwa said the President’s visit was a clear testimony of his ability as a strong leader to empathize with the people in their grief not only for Sironko but also other areas of the country.