By Jolly Gwari
President Yoweri Museveni has said that the journey to develop and transform Uganda has taken longer than it should have due to lack of a common consensus among all players, mostly those in leadership, on what should be prioritized if the country is to realize its much-desired transformation agenda.
Addressing leaders of Greater Masaka in Masaka Municipality in his on-going countrywide poverty eradication campaign, President Museveni said the divergence in opinions and approach as well as failure by leaders to understand that household wealth was very important for societal transformation than development infrastructure, has made it difficult for the country to develop and transform quickly.
“What is important in developing the Ugandan society in particular and the African continent as a whole is educating the population to shift from the traditional way of life that was largely subsistence and live a modern way where people produce for food but also for income,” he said.
“Subsistence means of production cannot fit in modern life because modern life has new unique demands and so you must engage in modern commercial agriculture to meet the new big modern demands; failure of which you will plunge your families into irreversible poverty,” he added.
Greater Masaka Sub-Region comprises the districts of Kalungu, Kalangala, Sembabule, Kyotera, Lyantonde, Rakai, Bukomansimbi, Lwengo, and Masaka.
The President said that on top of doing commercial agriculture, the population must make sure that production activities are profit-oriented. He revealed that the Government has put in place several relevant intervening Funds and Programmes to help everyone access funding and fully engage in the wealth and job creation drive so that wananchi are empowered to produce in the modern way that that is profit-driven.
Mr. Museveni also used the occasion to caution the population on serious danger posed by continued fragmentation of land on the basis of primitive inheritance rites. He noted that the practice has made the country lose most of her valuable agricultural land.
Commenting on the continued price fluctuation of agricultural produce, the President reiterated that the government will not engage in fixing prices of agricultural products because prices are always determined by international market forces prices forces of demand and supply. He, however, gave assurances that the government will help add value to agricultural products to make them durable and access international markets. He appealed to farmers to mind about the quality of their produce by ensuring better quality at all stages starting from gardens, harvesting, and storage to root for easy market accessibility.
During the meeting, leaders of Greater Masaka, in a memorandum read by Retired Captain Mulindwa Birimumaso resolved to support and embrace the Chobe Safari Lodge NRM’s Central Executive Committee and the Ngoma NRM Parliamentary Caucus resolution to support the endorsement of President Museveni as the NRM National Chairman in the 2020 delegates’ conference and as a sole candidate of NRM in the 2021 Presidential elections.
Later, as he addressed the media fraternity at Masaka State lodge, President Museveni warned landlords over their continued eviction of bibanja holders by cunningly taking advantage of the bibanja holders’ ignorance of the law.
“The 1998 Land Law is very clear on the status of bibanja holders and they are not supposed to be evicted. I don’t know why RDCs are not protecting the population from these illegal evictions,” he said.
“Mailo land had been scraped by Amin in his 1975 Land Decree but we thought it was unfair and reinstated it in 1986 and thought that they needed to harmoniously live with bibanja holders where bibanja holders stay on the land and give reasonable busulu to the landlords,” he added.
“I call for patience from the landlords as the government has plans to compensate them using the Land Fund but currently, the Fund is not enough but this will certainly happen. We shall, however, not tolerate the suffering of the bibanja holders because they are historical allies of the National Resistance Movement,” he said.