The Minister for the Presidency, Hon. Babirye Milly Babalanda has handed over a speed boat to the Office of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) in Buvuma District.
During the handover event in Buvuma on Friday, Hon. Babalanda said the boat should help the Office of the RDC to monitor government programs and mobilise the masses in the Island district.
“The people of Buvuma are still backward in terms of development and in terms of access to information and the education standards are still very low. There is poor access to radio and the RDCs are not able to reach out to the lowest persons at the furthest corners of the island due to lack of easy means of transport,” she asserted.
“With the speed boat I am launching today there will be no more excuse for you not to reach out to mobilize the population. The boat should get you closer to the people and it should as well facilitate your stay in the district,” she added.
The Minister further cautioned the RDC not to use the boat to undertake personal businesses or even illegal activities on the lake.
“This is a government vessel provided to strictly do government work. I wish you the best in your work and to strictly utilize and look after this vessel very well so it can serve the district for a long period of time,” she said.
On the same day, Hon. Babalanda also joined hundreds of Buvuma women as they celebrated the International Women’s Day for the district.
In her speech as Chief Guest, the Minister emphasized that women should be treated as equal partners in development and should be empowered with voice and skills to play an increasingly significant role in society.
“When a woman is empowered with education, with a skill, with a speaking platform etc, that woman will all of a sudden be empowered and from that time she will compete very ably with her men counterparts,” she told the audience that had gathered at Busamuzi Sub-County playgrounds for the celebrations.
She further called upon area residents to collectively deal with the problem of women disempowerment and in the process address the gender inequalities that come along with it.
“The women and men of Buvuma should lead the way in this campaign.”
Hon. Babalanda also encouraged the people of Buvuma to participate in the government wealth creation programs such as Emyooga and the Parish Development Model (PDM) that are being rolled out to facilitate majority of the country’s poor people get into the money economy.
“Women should particularly be encouraged to apply for these funds.”
Being an Island population, the Minister said Buvuma is at great risk of HIV/AIDS problem. She advised residents that they need to be aware of the dangers caused by reckless sex such as sharing of women or men and failure to use protective measures such as condoms.
“The failure to test for HIV, the failure to access HIV treatments for those who are sick and habits such as prostitution are deeply dangerous to our women and men and should be campaigned against. Please note that AIDS is still with us and it is killing people every day.”
On the issue of poor fishing methods, Hon. Babalanda condemned the destructive practices, saying that they are depleting fish in Lake Victoria.
“I have however, received your complaints regarding the mistreatment by armed personnel on the Lakes which has resulted in several of you suffering grave injuries and violation of your human rights. I have instructed the RDCs to promote peaceful means of enforcing the fishing laws and to avoid torture of the fisherfolks. The NRM does not support torture of wananchi at any level,” she stressed.
On the other hand, Hon. Babalanda commended the people of Buvuma for supporting the Oil Palm Project which is aimed at developing the district.
“Kalangala now receives many tourists and there are several hotels that are coming up on the island. Yet Buvuma is equally beautiful and has a big tourism potential but there is no hotel here and developments are still minimal. We need to emulate Kalangala and also attract the developments through the palm oil projects. The women are particularly encouraged to engage in the commercial growing of palm trees.”
Hon. Babalanda also assured the area residents who gave out their land to the government for oil palm growing that the issue of compensation will be addressed.
“The RDC has briefed me about the problem of delayed compensations by the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Finance. I plan to return here with the Officials from the two Ministries to discuss and resolve this matter.”
On security, the Minister urged the residents to be vigilant, saying that being an Island, Buvuma is likely to be used as a safe haven by insurgents such as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) who may need to recruit from the district and use the water body to escape from lawful pursuits.
“Our women should as well be protected from Gender based violence and family injustices associated with inheritance,”she said.
“All children of school-going age should be in school and not at the lake fishing. Education is the only key to changing life on the island because being a secluded community on an island there are so many things that you cannot get for the reason of difficult access and connection to the mainland.I urge you to educate your children especially the girl children whose education will transform families and the lives of children.”
Hon. Babalanda also thanked the people of Buvuma for praying for President Yoweri Museveni’s recovery from the COVID-19 infection.
“He is getting to full recovery and soon he will resume his nationwide visits to the local governments,” she assured.
Earlier, the Minister visited the Buvuma Oil Palm Project where she planted an oil palm tree.
The Chairperson of the National Women’s Council, Hajjat Faridah Kibowa advised women to work hard to improve their livelihoods.
“Embrace government programs to improve your welfare. Poverty is one of the causes of domestic violence in families,” Hajjat Kibowa said.
The Buvuma District LCV Chairperson, Mr. Adrian Ddungu disclosed that his district has highly benefited in government programs and that service delivery in the area is on the progressive path.
The event was also attended by; Minister of State for Gender and Culture Hon. Peace Mutuuzo, Buvuma Constituency MP Robert Migadde, Buvuma RDC, Birungi Kobusingye Jackline and her deputy Patrick Mubiru, NRM and women leaders, among others.
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