You only come to Lamwo for votes, Onek tells Museveni

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Minister Hilary Onek [photo by Michael O'Hagan]

Hon Hillary Onek the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, on Wednesday told President Museveni that his people were disappointed in him for neglecting them.

He was speaking at the 38th Tarehe Sita Anniversary held at Core Primary Teachers’ College grounds in Kitgum district.

Onek said he was among residents who volunteered and accelerated the defeat of Lord’s Resistance Army [LRA] rebels in the region.

While urging them to support all Government programmes against poverty, Onek asked the President to visit them so he can listen to their problems.

Onek, also the elected Member of Parliament (MP) representing Lamwo County, Lamwo District, said Museveni only goes to the area during campaigns.

“My people are disappointed. You only come to Lamwo for votes and nothing else. We only see you during campaigns,” Onek told the president.

Onek is the second born to Samson Okello Otto, son of Rwot Damwoy of Pakala Clan in Palabek Gem and Mrs. Jera Ayoo, daughter of Rwot Onyanga, the Paramount Chief of Palabek, one of the six chieftaincies of Lamwo County.

Minister Onek with UPDF cleaning Lamwo

The Pakala Clan are largely found in Gem, Lokung and a few in parts of South Sudan, along the border with Palabek and Lokung. Mze Samson Okello Otto is a veteran of King’s African Rifles (KAR) in Kenya.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Onek told the president that he was among volunteers who helped UPDF defeat warlord Joseph Kony.

He further told the president that South Sudan rebels often sneak into Lamwo and terrorise the locals, but the president never gets to know about it since he doesn’t listen to the people’s concerns.

Citing the poverty in the area, Onek hailed Atiak sugar factory owner Ms Amina Hersi Moghe, for transforming lives of the locals and asked the president to help.

“Mrs Hersi has the biggest sugar cane plantation in the area. She is providing jobs and a livelihood to the locals,” Onek said.

Museveni responds

“What will help you to get out of poverty is patriotism within Uganda and Africa,” Museveni said.

He commended the People of Acholi Sub-Region for fighting alongside UPDF in the liberation of Uganda and encouraged them to invest in commercial agriculture, industrialization, service sector and Information Communication Technology to accumulate wealth and create jobs.

Museveni with Anywar

“I told the people of Nwoya and Oyam to give us big area where we can put big industrial park because there will be too much electricity in Karuma and surrounding area. This will also solve issues of unemployment,” he said.

“Surely I cannot come to your house to deal with can(poverty). You must deal with it yourself. That is why we brought Wealth Creation. Next time I want to go to homes to see how you’re dealing with lonyo (wealth),” he explained.

Museveni said he was happy with his daughter Beatrice Anywar [Kitgum municipality MP], saying nowadays she knows how to buy good clothes.

He pledged to give Gulu market women whose merchandise were burnt, Shs50m.

He advised farmers to concentrate on coffee, fruits, dairy farming, piggery, poultry, vegetables and fish farming for those near water to improve their welfare, saying these are high value projects.

He advised that sugarcane growing, cotton, tobacco and maize should be left for medium or large scale farmers.

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