Ugandans Furious as Govt-owned Factory Shuts Down Month after Opening 

Residents in Kayunga District, Central Uganda are outraged after an Shs1 billion soap and cooking oil factory, commissioned with fanfare by President Yoweri Museveni, shut down one month after opening.

About nine years after the factory at Bukolooto Trading Centre was closed, the situation remained the same, leaving youth and women leaders in the district with no hope of reaping the fruits from the factory which was set up in the area in 2013.

In 2019, the Anti-Corruption Unit of State House was petitioned by a cross-section of leaders in Kayunga District to investigate reasons why the factory had remained redundant for so long. 

According to the government, the factory is expected to generate at least 100 jobs for the youth and increase household incomes for the peasant farmers.

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Furthermore, it was expected to provide a market for their produce, such as sunflowers and groundnuts. The factory closed, however, one month after President Museveni commissioned it.

Idah Nantaba, former State minister for information and communication technology (ICT) and member of parliament for Kayunga District, initiated the project.

It is now completely destroyed and a home for stray dogs, with the compound being used to graze cows and goats, as a result of the factory’s closure, which has resulted in a public outcry, with many residents asking the President to intervene.

Former Kayunga District youth council chairman, Ivan Kayemba, said: “We have petitioned the current senior presidential adviser for political affairs, Moses Byaruhanga, and other government officials about the state of the factory, but to date, we have received no help.”

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He added that now they are left with the option of mobilizing all supporters of the ruling National Resistance Movement in the district to demand answers.

Kayemba was one of the leaders that petitioned the Anti-Corruption Unit of State House in 2019.

The leader requested that the unit investigate Nattaba for allegedly “hijacking” the local factory for youth and women.

According to reports, the majority of the factory’s machinery has been taken by unknown people, and the location of two trucks is unknown.

Nantaba said she did her part to advocate for the project, but does not bear any responsibility for the current mess.

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