President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has stated that the government will implement a comprehensive package of wealth development and poverty alleviation for the people of the Karamoja sub-region.
“I don’t want Karamoja to remain a vulnerable place, whether from hunger or other causes. “It is not correct,” he replied, according to a press release from his office.
On Saturday, Museveni delivered an opportunity lecture to Karamoja leaders at the Oliver Reginald Tambo School of Leadership and Pan-African Centre of Excellence, Kaweweta, in Nakaseke District.
“Karamoja lacks food, we must defeat hunger, and we have agreed with the leaders that we are going to bring tractors in that area and make sure that you grow enough food collectively but also help them do it individually,” he went on to say.
“Water is another issue, but we plan to build more dams to catch more water.” After dealing with food and water, I want something [from which] homes can swiftly obtain funds, so that it becomes our plan.”
The president also advised Karamoja residents to be patriotic in order to make room for prosperity.
He counseled the leaders to abandon identity politics that stress tribes and religions in favor of patriotism, stating it was critical to lifting their people out of poverty.
“In order to create space for prosperity, we must emphasize Uganda’s patriotism.”
“If, for example, you take one of the groups who live here, like the Banyankole, how can you get them out of poverty and into prosperity?” Museveni continued. They can achieve it by producing milk and beef and selling them.
“They also produce bananas in Ankole, but the problem is that this Munyankole has milk, and the neighbor also has milk.” So the neighbor cannot buy from him, and he cannot buy from the other since they make comparable items; then who buys the Banyankole’s milk? It is the Kampala people.”
The President went on to say that as the people of Karamoja move away from disorder, such as cattle rustling, and start selling beef in an organized manner, they would discover that more of their cows are being purchased by Kampala residents than by natives in their area.
“That is why we said that you people are talking about tribes and religion, but Uganda is the one who can help you get out of trouble.”
“Uganda will help you more than concentrating on your tribes and analyzing area by area.” Where does the Baganda’s success originate from, if you look at them? When you arrive to Kampala, all of you Ugandans buy from Baganda businesses; that is how they make money.”
President Museveni further emphasized that if people become serious and begin to produce money, they would understand that the Ugandan market is insufficient and that they require the East African and African markets.
“When the Banyankore awoke and began producing milk, milk production increased from 200 million litres per year to now 5.4 billion litres per year.” That is what Uganda is currently producing.
“Nowadays, Ugandans consume only 800 million litres of milk per year, so there is a surplus of four billion litres of milk; the question is, where do you sell this remaining milk?” And what applies to milk also applies to corn and other goods.
“That is why the NRM has long told you that after loving Uganda, you must also love East Africa and Africa.” Why? Because you require them in order to prosper. If you wake up, you will realize that the Ugandan market is insufficient; you need the African market, which is why we stated that our second premise is pan-Africanism.
“We are not here to look for jobs in politics!” “We are here to show you how to move forward and solve your problems,” Museveni added.
He also instructed Karamoja’s leaders to propagate the gospel of wealth creation to their people so that they might improve their livelihoods.
“Your disease is poverty, and you suffer from it because you only work for your stomach.” If you want to live a good life, you must be able to solve the stomach and non-stomach needs problem.”
Museveni asked the leaders to assist their people in social and economic transformation.
“You cannot take advantage of the Ugandan or African markets if you continue to operate in the traditional manner.” And what are the transformational channels? There are two channels: education, which is why we introduced UPE so long ago, but your people have been resisting it; and the second channel, in which you will change and become a new person even if you are not educated and switch from working only for the stomach to working for the stomach and pocket.
“There are four sectors where you can go and become socially and economically transformed.” Commercial agriculture, industries/factories, services, and ICT are examples.
“The fourth principle is democracy, but I think that one is clear now,” the President stated.
According to Defence Minister Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, the ideological orientation course, which began on September 25, has been running for three weeks with the goal of building community resilience and empowering local leaders in the Karamoja region to play a more productive role in fostering community peace and development.
“This programme was not only tailored to enhance your ideological outlook, but also to reinforce your individual and group tool set to help you to mobilize our people whom you are leading in being part and parcel of the historical mission of transforming our motherland into a prosperous nation,” said the minister in a statement.
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, also stated that transformational leadership training for Karamoja leaders was launched at the request of the 3rd Division Commander, Maj. Gen. Don William, as part of the operation strategy to pacify Karamoja.
“In our discussions on the operation strategy of pacifying Karamoja, one of the areas we indicated was focused on civil military co-operation because we thought that military operations will not go far unless we were doing it with the leadership out there, especially when we started getting some of them in these criminal acts of stealing cows or even rustling,” Mbadi went on to say.
“We decided that we needed to engage them in a more serious manner, not in a manner we used to meet in Moroto, shout and point fingers at each other and then it ended there without any solution thereafter.”
The Coalition for Democracy (CDF) stated that “colonial marginalization contributed to the current challenges that our government is solving in Karamoja and no wonder with your foresightedness, this Karamoja issue was point number 8 in the original 10 point programme which highlights the need to end errors of the past.”
Maj Gen. Henry Matsiko, the UPDF Chief Political Commissar, stated that as the Commissariat and Chieftaincy of Civil Military Co-operation, they are tasked with handling the ideological cell of “Usalama Kwa wote,” and thus the idea of training regional leaders, including youth leaders from Karamoja, is a big step towards strengthening this cell’s activities.