Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has explained that the purpose of the 2020 Great Trek from Galamba in Wakiso District to Birembo in Kakumiro District was not to show stamina but rather to educate the young generation about the history of their country, appreciate the veterans who fough for its liberation and do what they need to do to make sure that their country survives.
“I want you to look at the history of the ones who were before you who had a deeper understanding of what Africa needs but also had the discipline to fight for it. I also wanted to expose you to your country so that you see the potential in agriculture and tourism industry. When I was looking at the hills of Kanzira, Butoloogo, I was thinking of the idea of supporting you with health tourism facilities,” he explained.
Different from indoor exercises where one would be distracted and not finish his routine, President Museveni said, the Trek had been beneficial because it made one finish what they had started even if they felt tired.
The President was speaking during a press briefing today in the morning at Bireembo Technical Institute in Kakumiro District, the last stop and camping site of the 2020 ‘Afrika Kwetu’ Trek that started on 4th January 2020 at Galamba in Wakiso District.
Regarding the reasons why they had to use vehicles on some sections of the Trek route, President Museveni said that it was not wise to walk with civilians in the night and that he could not just bypass the big crowds that awaited him along the routes which took time for the Trekkers.
Explaining the rationale behind giving out some little money to the elderly that he met along the route of the just concluded 195 Km Galamba – Bireembo Trek, he observed most of those people are too old to be fully involved in government development programmes and as such he extended to them a small token for their support during the war.
“This is emotional but also rational. We have programmes for social economic transformation like distribution of coffee, pigs. We also have programmes of savings. These people can no longer participate in these programmes because they are 70 and above. Some of them participated in the war so I could not just bypass them without giving them something,” he said.
Mr. Museveni clarified that while the country had put up a fund for the elderly to cater for the welfare of the old people, the programme was still in its premature stages and is not yet sustainable. He reiterated that the country had other crucial priorities, such as the development of infrastructure, which would benefit the entire country.
“For a country to go to a welfare stage, it needs to be developed. This is different in Europe because for us we don’t have electricity, roads. How will you deal with welfare when you have not yet developed the infrastructure? We are not able to do this because we are still struggling with the base,” he explained.