Former president of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete yesterday commended President Museveni for his leadership that has brought unity and steady progress in the country and his role in mentoring leaders in Africa.
Mr Kikwete was speaking at the 34th National Resistance Movement (NRM)/National Resistance Army (NRA) victory celebrations in Ibanda Municipality yesterday. The celebrations were held under the theme ‘Celebrating NRM/NRA’s patriotic struggle that ushered in national unity and social economic transformation.’
“NRM/NRA made a victory that has taken Uganda to a very different path from the one that people used to know. Uganda is at peace within itself, Uganda is unified and Uganda is making steady progress,” Mr Kikwete said.
He said Mr Museveni’s revolutionary works inspired him and others into leadership.
“I knew Museveni when I was still in high school, he was very militant. At University of Dar es Salaam, he led University Students Revolutionary Front. I was in high school then. We have always looked at you as a mentor. When you left university of Dar e Salaam in 1971, I joined in 1972. We listened to the good stories of what you had been doing,” Mr Kikwete said.
He added: “Thank you for being a mentor to some of us that were growing up and you continue to be a mentor to many leaders of the African continent, please continue to do that work for the people of East Africa, Africa and beyond.”
Mr Museveni implored Ugandans to move from subsistence agriculture and produce food for money.
“If you work only for the stomach, you get food but your need is not only food, you need money to have clothes for your family, you need a better house, you need a better means of transport, you need money for electricity and water and you need money to buy food that you cannot grow yourself,” Mr Museveni said.
The MP for Ibanda South, Mr John Byabagambi, told the gathering that 40 per cent of the population in the district are still in subsistence farming. However, his Ibanda North counterpart, Maj David Guma, differed from this view and said in his constituency’s subsistence farmers’ account for about 75 per cent.
Mr Museveni further said three approaches will be used to address the issue of market for the produce and products such as milk, maize, sugar and cement. He said these are market integration in Africa, promoting internal consumption and ensuring production of quality products, especially for external market.
Mr Museveni said Uganda produces five million bags of coffee annually, five million tonnes of maize and 2.5 billion litres of milk.
On internal consumption, the President said while World Health Organisation recommends that one should drink 210 litres of milk annually to support bones, the milk consumption per capita in Uganda is 60 litres.
Mr Museveni also said the whole country cannot depend on agriculture and that government has been promoting industrialisation, services sector and ICT for job creation. He said currently, 700,000 are employed in the 4,920 factories in the country and 1.3 million people are employed in the 8,400 companies in the services sector while 4,000 ICT companies are employing 15,000 people.
“Uganda has more than two million people employed in non-agriculture activities. This is the beginning of transformation, we need to attract more factories,” Mr Museveni said.
He said this is being enabled by tarmacked roads and abundant electricity, among others. Mr Museveni, however, said some corrupt officials are delaying investments.
“The problem we have with establishing factories is corrupt public servants who delay decision making. I have asked investors to whisper to their ambassadors and we lay a trap and send them to Luzira,” he said.
A total of 96 people were awarded medals in the categories of Golden Jubilee, Nalubale, Luweero Triangle, Long Serving Silver, and Honorary.