Kitgum – As campaigns come to a close in Acholi sub-region, NRM Presidential Candidate Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni has called on NRM leaders to support investors to expedite employment.
Museveni made the stern remarks while addressing NRM leaders of East Acholi in Kitgum (representing Kitgum, Pader, Agago and Lamwo) on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.
The President commended the people of Acholi for developing the region, recollecting that Kitgum has changed tremendously as new buildings, hotels, tarmack roads, shops and other infrastructure have sprung up since he first visited the District in 1979.
“When I first came to Kitgum in 1979, there was only one small hotel called Hilltop which was government-owned plus some corrugated iron-roofed buildings belonging to Asians. Today I am happy to see a modern Kitgum Town with nice hotels belonging to private individuals, and modern shops built by locals,” Museveni said as
Museveni took a moment to narrate the history of turbulence occasioned by the past regimes including how the NRA/UPDF defeated the LRA and other rebel groups which had destabilised the region for too long.
The President, who peppered his speech with Luo dialect attracting wild cheers from the crowd, said that the NRM embarked on building a strong foundation for the country’s socio-economic transformation by restoring peace, breaking down the walls of sectarianism or identity politics, while emphasizing unity and the right ideology.
“How did the NRM manage to bring stability when there was instability for all these years? We chose to be different from the other groups by doing things differently. For us in NRM we don’t ask what tribe you are or which religion are you, but we mostly consider your usefulness. This is the message you should preach to the people,” Museveni explained.
He added: “We haven’t experienced a scenario where a UPDF officer kills another soldier because of tribe or religion as was the case in the previous regimes. Our Army has been well-established on sound ideology, we only shoot in one direction for national interest.”
Museveni, who took time to explain the fundamental role of private investors to the economy including solving the problem of scarcity of essential commodities, jobs and tax revenue, commended the people of Acholi for welcoming and supporting the Atiak Sugar Factory, which is set to transform the economic fortunes of the locals.
“The Atiak Sugar Factory is providing income to families who have been organized into out-growers, each family growing cane on five acres of land, and earning an estimated UGX24million in 18 months,” he said.
The President assured his listeners that the government’s strategy is now shifting to robustly attracting and supporting rich private investors if the economy is to rapidly grow, citing the big tax-payers in the country including MTN which this year paid Shs 701bn in tax revenue, Airtel Shs 542bn, Bank of Uganda Shs 451bn, Vivi Energy Shs 423bn, Total Uganda Shs 329bn, Nile Breweries Shs 327bn, Uganda Breweries Shs 304bn and Stanbic Bank Shs 164bn.
To drive the point home, he said that taxes from MTN alone could finance the annual budgets of Acholi, Lango and West Nile sub-regions.
The candid leader also urged Acholi leaders to engage identify subsistence farmers and support their transition to commercial agriculture so as to scale income.
“I urge you (NRM leaders, flag bearers and youths) to identify within each parish people still engaged in subsistence agric. & convert them to commercial agriculture. If we do that, even with what has been achieved already, the sky is the limit,” Museveni climaxed his address.
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Museveni has on Wednesday morning (November 18) arrived is in Karamoja sub-region where he will have his first ‘scientific’ meeting in Moroto District with NRM leaders and flag-bearers.
The presidential candidate will later in the afternoon engage the NRM youths at 3 O’clock ahead of his evening televised address that will be equally be aired on radio in Akarimojong.