A group of disabled persons (PWDs) on Thursday staged a peaceful demonstration in Kabale Municipality, accusing authorities of neglecting them.
The PWDs who reside in the Culture and Community Development Building in Kikungiri, Kabale municipality accuse government of abandoning them in a structure that is in an appalling state.
The centre was built by the Milton Obote government to act as a resource centre for Ndorwa County.
It was later turned into a rehabilitation centre for lepers and PWDs who were rescued from Bwama Island on Lake Bunyonyi where they had been confined in 1994.
The PWDs at this centre train in production of crafts and carpentry to raise some income for their survival.
However, these are unhappy that in spite of the centre being used to impart vocational skills to them, it has not received any support from any government office.
Mary Tindibasa, the 58 year old chairperson of the PWDS living at the centre says she has suffered greatly with her 3 children at this place, whose condition is appalling.
“Our centre leaks; it has the worst latrines and lacks water and electricity. The state of life we have here makes us feel like we are not Ugandans,” said Tindibasa.
Tindibasa says when they first arrived at the facility, it had running water, good toilets, a kitchen and electricity supply. She says at time, trainers were hired by the Gender Ministry to empower them but the centre has now turned into a shelter for homeless PWDs.
According to Tindibasa, they have not received any training for the last ten years and they are surviving on the skills passed to them earlier.
Glorious Nagaba, another PWD at the centre described life there as complicated and dependent on God’s mercy.
She explains that during their stay at Bwama Island on Lake Bunyonyi government used to provide them with food, which is no longer the case.
“Everyone now struggles to have their only way. Most of us find it hard to have a meal a day,” she said.
Ann Kobusingye, the PWD LCV Councillor said the hall that was used for training the PWDS is now in ruins.
“We are living in danger because any time this house may collapse,” said Kobusingye.
The angry PWDS marched from their home toward the district headquarters where they hoped to deliver a petition to the Resident District Commissioner, but were intercepted by Geofrey Kaheebwa, the Kabale District Police Commander at Ahakempu along the Kabale-Katuna road.
Kaheebwa asked the demonstrators to use peaceful means to address their challenges.
“You know that according to the Public Order Management Act, you cannot organize a demonstration without seeking police clearance. Go back write to us and if you get cleared we shall avail you the necessary security during your demonstration,” he said.