Leaders in Bugisu have laid down several demands that they will present to President Museveni ahead of his scheduled campaign visit to the sub-region today.
These include creation of a ministry responsible for Elgon affairs, a regional disaster management centre, development of tourism centres, more district hospitals and ministerial posts, and tarmacking more roads, among others.
The demands were drawn during a meeting organised by the Energy minister, Ms Mary Goretti Kitutu, in Mbale District at the weekend. Ms Kitutu is also the NRM flag bearer for Manafwa Woman MP seat.
Mr Micheal Werikhe Kafabusa, the State Minister for Trade, and Ms Lydia Wanyoto, NRM chairperson of the Women's League, also attended.
Ms Kitutu told Daily Monitor the demands have been compiled in a joint memorandum of understanding, which will be presented to the President.
"The issues rotate around various sectors, including education, disaster management, transport infrastructure, rural water and sanitation, among others," she said. Ms Kitutu said they still have a poor road network, difficulty in access to healthcare and high levels of poverty.
"We need support from the government to address the issue of bad roads. We are asking for about 300 kilometres of tarmacked roads and more district hospitals because we only have Bududa," she said.
Ms Wanyoto said the government should allocate funds to the development of tourism sites to create jobs for youth.
"We have mountains with caves and waterfalls, our Imbalu and food delicacies such as malewa (smoked bamboo shoots) and our international brand of coffee, which is very marketable and only found in Bugisu," she said.
Ms Wanyoto said the government should expedite the upgrading of Uganda Technical College, Elgon to a University of Science and Technology.
Mr John Musila, the Manafwa District chairperson, requested the President for a permanent resettlement plan for people living in areas prone to mudslides. Mudslides have killed more than 1,000 people in Bugisu over the past decade.
Ms Connie Nakayenze Galiwango, the incumbent Mbale Woman MP, said the poor roads had affected economic development. "The roads are in a very terrible condition and yet our people depend majorly on agriculture. They have challenges transporting their goods to the market," she said.