President Yoweri Museveni has branded the National Resistance Movement party Head of the Entrepreneurs league, Hassan Basajjabalaba, as a thief.
Museveni made the shocking remark last evening during a public lecture he conducted at Victoria Hall, Kampala Serena Hotel as part of the activities marking Uganda’s 50 Years of Independence.
“Basajja is a thief. Don’t talk about that one,” Museveni shouted in response to someone in the audience who had mentioned the tycoon’s name as the president talked about Ugandan investors and the pace of Uganda’s economy.
“We are now hot on the heels of the corrupt civil servants. That’s why the CID is hot on some people,” Museveni mused.
The business tycoon, who is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the state over a controversial compensation of 142 billion shillings, is facing various related charges in court and his actions are believed to have led to a fall out between him and the president.
Basajja owns a string of businesses which include the plush Kampala International University which boasts of a medical wing in Western Uganda.
While offering a lengthy lecture on Uganda’s history, origin and its future, Museveni said Uganda was on the forward match towards catching up with the most prosperous countries as long as it keeps focus on the strategic bottlenecks that it faced at independence.
Museveni enumerated these bottlenecks as; Ideological disorientation of the post independence Ugandan leaders, failure to reorganize state structures especially the army, the attack on the young private sector especially businesses owned by Ugandans of Asian origin, an underdeveloped human resource, inadequate infrastructure, small internal market, limited industrialization, underdeveloped agriculture and lack of democracy.
“Once we address these, and once we have our electricity, there’s no reason why Uganda will not be a first world country in the next 50 years,” Museveni said.
He added that since Uganda’s economy was growing at 6.5% per annum with out enough electricity, it would roar once electricity becomes fully available.
“In 1986, we were generating a mere 60 megawatts of electricity. Since the launching of Bujagali Dam, we are now generating 810 megawatts. This should increase to 1824 megawatts by 2014 when we start generating more power from our oil,” Museveni promised.
Uganda has discovered substantial oil deposits in the albertine graben and will soon have more electricity once a 700 megawatts dam is constructed on the Karuma falls on the river Nile.
“This century is for Ugandans and Africans. Uganda will be at par with most prosperous countries. What is good is that the strategic mistakes have been discovered,” he added.
Responding to remarks on the current debate to restore term limits in the constitution, Museveni referred to the agitation as ‘unserious.’
“This is not a serious point. In our Constitution we removed term limits but there are term limits still — one cannot rule beyond the age of 75. Take for instance a country Israel; there are no limits at all and that’s why Shimon Peres has been active in his country’s politics since the 1920s. Sometimes he is voted, while other times he is not voted. His age is in the league of my father. He’s like my uncle. Africa’s problem is not who, it is what,” he lectured. “The ‘who’ can be important if the ‘what’ is answered. If you do not answer the ‘what’, you cannot go far,” he added
He added that as the country prepares to celebrate 50 years of independence, it was important that everyone reflects on the truth about the origin of Uganda.
“It is not true that the British formed Uganda. Before colonialism, Uganda had long existed. The existing dynasties were ruled by one ruler. Even today, there are four distinct languages but they are interlinked. The British did not create these linkages. They found them here. Our links stretched right from River Congo up to the Indian Ocean,” he said as he took the audience through a lengthy chronology of the origin of Uganda.
The Full Text of the President’s speech will be uploaded shortly