MBARARA – President Yoweri Museveni has frankly told the people of Kiruhura and Kazo to stop mourning about the state of bad roads in their area as the cause of their poverty.
He advised that focus should, instead be centred onto projects that would improve their individual household incomes.
The President, in the companied of the First Lady, Janet Kataaha Museveni, was on Wednesday meeting farmers and leaders of the two districts at Nswerenkye Primary School in Kiruhura, where he preached to influential figure at all levels to dedicate their energies into income-generating activities that would improve people’s livelihoods.
Poor infrastructure such as the road networks in the region was among the issues, which the Kiruhura district Woman MP, Jovanice Rwenduru had tabled, propelling the President to note in his reaction, that whereas it was necessary but not an impediment in improving household incomes.
“We shall work on all the roads – but these should find stable families with improved household incomes. Tarmac roads will not take away poverty. Seek homestead incomes – the rest will be added unto you,” said Museveni, adding that he bought land in Kisozi, Gomba with a vision of creating wealth despite the fact that the area had a poor road network. He however, didn’t reveal to his listeners that the same area had since been tarmacked.
He noted that good roads have been constructed in many parts of the country to ease the transportation of goods and services but the same were instead acting as cassava and maize drying storage chambers.
The President was happy to learn from Rev Samuel Mugisha – the Kazo LCV chairperson that out of the 35,000 households in the district, 67 per cent were involved in commercial farming while 33 engaged in subsistence farming – most of them at small scale status.
He advised those with small pieces of land to venture into activities like poultry and zero grazing, which doesn’t require much land.
“When I go to heaven, I don’t want God to blame me for not getting you out of poverty. He will at least know that I did my part but you did not listen,” said Museveni, who has been power since January 1986 – becoming the Alpha and Omega of Uganda’s political status.
He re-echoed the danger associated with land fragmentation, saying it’s part of the hindrances to the prosperity of Ugandans.
According to him, the culture of subdividing land among children especially when the owner dies cannot support commercial agriculture which is the backbone of Uganda’s economy as children will resort to selling off the land instead of undertaking collective investment.
“The idea is to mobilise the children of the deceased against dividing the land and property of their parents but rather create a legal entity in the form of a family company in which they are all directors, take executive decisions on enterprise selection, and then partake of profits depending on shareholding,” said Museveni, adding that family wealth wasn’t only good for the individual families and communities, but for the country as well.
Museveni gave an example of England, which is the same size as Uganda but in spite of having a higher population they understood the dangers of land fragmentation.
“They knew that it is bad to fragment land because they would be fragmenting wealth. That’s why you find big farms owned collectively. By doing that, family properties will be kept intact and you’ll benefit in the future,” lectured Museveni.
Kiruhura district LCV boss, Dan Mukago Ruteteebya praised the President for setting up a regional hub for skilling youth in different fields to fight unemployment. He however expressed the need for a district general hospital in order to improve health services.
Earlier, Rev. Samuel Mugisha, the Kazo LCV chairperson, had asked the President to elevate Kazo Health centre IV to district hospital status.
Whereas the President agreed to their request, he encouraged leaders to focus on disease prevention through behaviour change; improved hygiene; immunisation and nutrition so that the country can save money and use it for other priority areas.
“Hospitals will be built but even the available Health Centre III’s and IV’s have not been used effectively,” noted Museveni.
Additional reporting by URN