A storm is brewing in Rukungiri District, western Uganda, after an NRM mobiliser diddled thousands of people promising them financial support from President Museveni.
The people of Rukungiri say Peace Rugambwa, a senior NRM mobiliser in the District, obtained Shs 12,000 from each person as “registration fees” for joining an organisation which the President would fund.
This money was picked from the elderly, underprivileged, widows and youth in the several sub-counties including Bwambara and Bugangari, Rukungiri district.
As the 2021 elections come closer, the people of Rukungiri now want President Museveni to take action against Rugambwa.
“It’s sad that despite raising our issue of being cheated by Rugambwa, the authorities have never taken action,” said Didas Muhumuza, 71, a resident of Bwambara.
“It’s now payback time. Either Rugambwa refunds our money or NRM will pay a huge price in these elections.”
On her part, Rugambwa said the money was used as “registration” and “membership” fee.
She said she would continue to mobilise votes for NRM irrespective of the accusations of diddling the public.
However, some residents of Nyakanengo where Rugambwa picked over Shs 20m, said they would deal with her if she visited their area during this election period.
“Peace Rugambwa should not dare stepping in this area under the guise of mobilization unless she returns our money. The sick and old are grieving,” said Nickson Turyahumura, 67, a resident of the area.
It is understood Rugambwa mobilised some people from Rukungiri whom she took to Rwakitura to meet President Museveni.
She, however, escaped from Rwakitura before the group saw the President, angering the entourage. Many were stranded due to lack of transport.
Muhwezi speaks out
It is said Hon Jim Muhwezi mobilised a bus that picked the people from Rwakitura and returned them to Rukungiri.
Responding to this situation, Muhwezi said he had been briefed about the accusations against Rugambwa.
“It’s true, people have been telling me about this issue of being defrauded by Rugambwa. I didn’t know her until the president introducer her to us in when we were in Nyakagyeme. The president said he was involved in onion farming,” said Muhwezi.
“However, I didn’t hear the President instructing her to pick Shs12, 000 from the elderly for the onion project. I was hoping this matter would be resolved if we met the President because the disadvantaged who lost their money want their issue resolved,” emphasised Muhwezi.
He said taking people’s money under the guise of membership fee was unfair.
“That’s not NRM’s modus operandi. Because our job is to help the vulnerable not to take money from them. Even membership cards are free of charge,” said Muhwezi, the District NRM chairman.
Muhwezi also warned Rugambwa against blackmail, saying she should explain to the people why she took their money and reasons for not delivering on her promise.
The development comes at a time NRM is fighting to reclaim Rujumbura MP seat from FDC during 2021 elections.