UGANDA: Former President Kikwete Hails Museveni for Being his Mentor.

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President Museveni calls for increased commercial agriculture President Yoweri Museveni has reiterated his call on the people to intensify commercial agriculture.

The President made the call on Sunday at St. George’s Core Primary Teachers’ College in Ibanda District as Uganda marked the 34th NRM/NRA victory day anniversary celebrations.

The occasion was marked under the theme: ‘Celebrating NRM/NRA Patriotic Struggle that Ushered in National Unity and Social Transformation’.

The special guest at the celebrations was the former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete. The occasion was also attended, among others, by Parliamentary Speaker, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe and Cabinet Ministers.

During the celebrations, the President awarded medals to a number of personalities. Those who got the Golden Jubilee medal were led by prominent businessman, Patrick Bitature. The Nalubale medalists were led by Joram Asiimwe of Ibanda.

The President also presented medals to officers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), Uganda Police and Uganda Prisons. President Museveni said: “We have been having the culture of practicing subsistence farming. This only provides us food. You do not only have food needs. We all need money to have adequate facilities in modern life. All rural homesteads must produce for both food and income.”

He congratulated the people of Ibanda District for embracing commercial farming. According to reports, 60% of the residents in Ibanda District are engaged in commercial agriculture leaving 40% still in peasant production. Museveni stressed that the first step towards the development strategy should revolve around the intensification of commercial agriculture adding that the second step should ensure that the whole country must not depend on agriculture only but also diversify into industries, services and ICT.

He was pleased to note that Uganda today has got 4,920 industries that employ 700,000 people adding that companies in the services sector employ 1.3 million while the ICT sector employs 15,000 people. Mr. Museveni said that these figures are part of Uganda’s transformation. He, therefore, called on the leaders and the population at large to work towards attracting more investors into factories and services. He informed the country that the NRM Government has built roads and is generating sufficient electricity.

Museveni assured the nation that Uganda will no longer suffer from electricity shortages. He noted however, that the current challenge is the corrupt civil servants who he said delay service delivery. He strongly warned them saying “the thieves, either you change or end up in Luzira.”

The President also said that as Uganda is working on the integration of the African market, the country today has got an annual consumption of 800 million litres of milk, with a surplus of 1.7 billion liters. He observed that while the World Health Organization recommends that every person should consume 210 liters of milk per year, people in Uganda under consume milk because of insufficient income.

He revealed that Iran and Egypt have got a high demand for maize which may serve in Uganda’s interests. He reminded the agricultural stakeholders to ensure high quality of maize and other agro products. He said that soon the people of Ibanda District would be able to access business processing outsourcing (BPO) that is to enable them to provide services to global employers once the ICT backbone is established in their area.

On education, the President reiterated his stand on enabling people access Universal Primary Education (UPE). He used the occasion to passionately call on all Ugandans that “we must jointly fight against the vice of illegal fees that are being levied.”

Former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, noted that NRM’s celebrations presented an occasion when “we are celebrating the victory that has taken Uganda on a very different path of development.” He saluted President Museveni for his wise leadership adding: “you led the Dar-es-Salaam University Students’ Front. I am one of the students of the University who came after you that had the passion to contribute to the African revolution.”

He thanked him for being a mentor saying that as he continues that for other leaders in Africa and Ugandans, Uganda is unified and progressing on top of being prominent not only in Africa but also beyond.

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