President Yoweri Museveni has appreciated the people of Greater Masaka for embracing his wealth creation gospel by engaging in commercial agriculture.
The President who is currently on an Investment and Wealth Creation tour in Greater Masaka under the theme: “Securing your future through wealth creation and shared prosperity” on Tuesday addressed leaders who converged at Masaka liberation square in Masaka city.
“It seems in Masaka, the ground has been fertile. When I was driving around, I was seeing many other people doing well. It seems many people in this area have woken up,” H.E Museveni said, adding that this was the only missing link right from the 1960’s where although many people had resources like land and cows, they did not have money and good houses.
“We started preaching wealth creation starting with the cattle corridor in 1966. When we came into government in 1986, we resumed that campaign. I was sure that if it can succeed in the cattle corridor then it can succeed anywhere,” the President added.
Gen. Museveni said in 1995, he made a countrywide tour focusing on wealth creation (okulembeka) and in 1996 manifesto they proposed the 4 acres model for Coffee, fruits, pasture for zero grating cows and food for home consumption.
This in addition to poultry for eggs or piggery in the backyard and fishponds for those near the swamps.
The President was happy to learn that the people of Masaka are among the many that grasped this wealth creation gospel equating them to the story in the Bible “The Parable of the Sower” in the book of Mathew where seeds that fell on the fertile ground germinated well and those on barren ground could not make it.
Prior to meeting the leaders, the President visited several commercial farmers and youth groups in coffee production while adding value to it.
These included a group of 401 well educated group of people in Kakunyu with 120 acres of coffee and bananas who are earning 8 million per acre from coffee.
In Kyannamukaaka the President met a group of 2,500 youth with coffee farms but also engaged in coffee processing.
“I was very happy to see this. And not only that, people are really building better houses everywhere of Mabaati (iron sheets) and cement. You don’t see any grass thatched houses anywhere. So, I’m very happy that Masaka is doing well, and we shall just add on this. Because in other areas, we’re just starting,” H.E Museveni noted, saying the only three challenges to deal with are; to find out and help those who are still outside the money economy, consolidate those already in the money-making category and also fighting land fragmentation in the area.
“This is the plan I want for the Masaka area here not just talking politics. The real politics is security, food, education, income and infrastructure,” the President told leaders, urging them to work out a proper plan of consolidating wealth.
“The leaders and the experts (agricultural officers, the Veterinary officers etc,) in this area working with the leaders, work out a plan which the central government will support to consolidate these ones who have entered the money creation record,” H.E Museveni emphasized.
He further asked leaders to discourage land fragmentation among the people saying it’s among the factors that attract poverty as after land has been divided into pieces.
“Please stop the culture of fragmentation when the head of the family dies. If you want to make a will to the children, you give them shares. So, the business you left will remain there and each child will take their share and have their own separate businesses, but the real business remains. They can even expand if they want but, in any case, it will produce more businesses,” H.E Museveni noted.
The President called upon the people of greater Masaka to welcome and embrace the Parish Development Model (PDM) and Emyooga funds by joining Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO) groups so that those still outside the money economy can get startup funds.
Here, he clarified about refunding the money giving an ultimatum of one year (12 months) for Emyooga funds or pay in installments within 24 months (2 years).
For the PDM funds, the repayment period he said should be after 24 months (2 years) or in installments but finish within 36 months (3 years).
“We’re not here to make profits from you but help you get out of poverty. So, I don’t want to hear any other story. This money is yours. When you pay it will not come back to government but remain in your Sacco’s and we shall keep adding. This is a very good formula of getting you people out of poverty,” the President stated, attracting a thunderous round of applause.
The Head of state said the PDM and Emyooga money funds should be for poor people and low-income earners, saying the rich should go to Uganda Development Bank (UDB) and other commercial banks.
On the issue of the infrastructure, the President assured the people of greater Masaka that government is aware of all the roads in the area and plans are underway to have them worked on but asked for patience as government mobilizes resources.
Key among other roads in plan are; Rusaalira-Nkongi-Makore-Ntuusi-Ssembabule road, that of Mbiriizi-Mateete-Ssembabule road, the one of Kyabakuza-Kibinge-Mateete-Ssembabule road, Lyantonde-Lumbugu-Rakai Road and Kyamuliibwa- Kalungu-Bugomola-Kifampa roads.
“We are going to work on all those roads. But in the meantime, we should have good murram roads. Today, I came from Kakunyu and I drove on a very good murram road, well compacted with drainage,” the President noted, urging people to focus on creating wealth.
“When I went to Kisozi in 1990, there was no tarmac road, but I was looking for land for wealth creation. When I went to Rwakitura in 1967 the tarmac road was stopping in Kyantonde,” Museveni said.
On the other hand, President Museveni sympathized with the people of Greater Masaka about the flooding of River Katonga that swept their road but praised the NRM government for its strategic planning, saying “there’s no way Uganda can be paralysed”.
He said the construction of Mpigi-Maddu -Kisozi-Ssembabule road was meant to open and connect that part of the area with Mityana, Mubende, Fort Portal and Kampala and later with Masaka and Mbarara.
The President informed the gathering that the road from VillaMaria, Kyamulibwa, Kalungu, Bugomola to Kifampa is also in plan.
The Vice President of Uganda Maj. (Rtd) Jessica Alupo Rose Epel thanked President Museveni for his tireless efforts of migrating the 39% households into the money economy and commended the people of Masaka for joining the rest of the country to embrace wealth creation and other government programs.
“In your leadership, you have encouraged unity and now all the people speak the same language of kicking poverty and embracing wealth creation,” the Vice President said.
Masaka District L.C 5 Chairperson Andrew Lukyamuzi Batemyetto of the opposition National Unity Platform party also attended the meeting informing the President that his people have embraced government programs and are ready for the Parish Development Model because they have been involved as leaders.
He however called upon President Museveni to reduce on the cost of fertilizers to boost coffee and pineapple production.
The meeting was preceded by lessons in Agriculture by Hon. Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, on Parish Development Model by Hon. Ssozi Denis Ggalabuzi, Investment opportunities in Greater Masaka by Uganda Investment Authority Director General Mr. Robert Mukiza and Morrison Rwakakamba the chairperson UIA and Emyooga funds by Hon. Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo (Minister for Microfinance).
The meeting was attended by LC.5 Chairpersons, sub county chairpersons and NRM leaders from the districts that make up Greater Masaka that include; Masaka, Rakai, Kyotera, Lyantonde, Lwengo, Bukomansimbi, Kalangala, Ssembabule, Kalungu and Masaka City.
Others in attendance were the Former Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, the Government chief whip Hon. Hamson Obua, The Deputy Secretary General of NRM Rose Namayanja Nsereko, Hon. Minister Vincent Ssempijja (Defense & Veteran Affairs), Hon. Minister Evelyn Anite (Investment), Hon. Judith Nabakooba (Lands), Hon. Oleru Huda (Veteran affairs) and Members of Parliament from the region.