President Museveni on Thursday commissioned roads under the Uganda Support Municipalities Infrastructure development in Gulu.
They are designed to enhance institutional performance of 14 Municipal Councils so as to improve urban service delivery.
They are now 30 roads under Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) Programme including a modern market, accommodating about 4500 vendors.
Earlier in the morning, Museveni officially opened the Inspire Africa complex in Gulu town, which among others has a coffee shop, salons, supermarket, washing bay, and other projects solely run by young people who are supported by the Office of the Prime Minister.
The project overseen by Mr Nelson Tugume, is working with 750 youth in Arua, Gulu, Lira, Mbale and Tororo, skilling them to promote domestic consumption through these coffee shops.
A further 600 farmers in Zombo, Nwoya, Lamwo and Moroto have been engaged to provide quality organic coffee.
In his 6th phase of the nation-wide wealth creation campaign, Museveni addressed leaders of Acholi sub-region at National Teachers College Unyama grounds, in Gulu Municipality.
These grounds were once an IDP camp, but as a result of the peace that was restored in the region, it has now been restored to a fully functioning teacher training centre.
“We discussed how to improve the livelihood of our people, because as leaders, it is sacrilegious to look on, as the people we lead wallow in poverty.”
The average land holding in Gulu is 7 acres per household. With this kind of land holding, people should adopt the four-acre model of commercial farming, he said.
“We need to change the mindset of our people, so that they change from subsistence farming, that is why the meeting with these leaders is important; if they are convinced, they will convince their people.”
“Alluding to the bible, I want you to Seek ye 1st homestead income and the rest will be added to you. When you have sufficient income as a home, even If government has not brought electricity close to you, you can install solar power, even if the water source is far, you can construct under ground water tanks, supplying your home with clean water.”
In communities in the Western part of the country, where this message has been embraced, they are doing exactly this.
Because they listened, when government taught them to abandon nomadic lifestyle and traditional diary farming, they adopted modern methods of cattle keeping. Now they are reaping from improved milk yields, which has greatly improved their income.
“This is where the key to social transformation is; Change the way of our people.”
Key to this is the issue of Land management where Museveni said he was happy that Acholi sub region still has sizeable land holdings per household.
“I therefore encourage you to desist from land fragmentation on inheritance, instead introduce the culture of forming family companies, so that you divide shares of what income you get from the land and not the land.”
Government is going to support people through grants from the various initiatives already running eg, OWC, Youth fund, Women fund, PWD fund etc.
This financial year we are introducing the Youth value addition fund, to cater for the various youth involved in enterprises like; Salons, carpentry, Boda Boda, bakery , artisans etc
“Finally, I want to dissuade you from following the rhetoric of diversionary leaders.”
He said the issue of Apaa is being blown out of proportion saying it is a local to Apaa people.
Do not aggravate it as if the entire Acholi region is embroiled in land wrangles, Museveni warned leaders.
“That is what I hear some leaders all over radios talking. Do not paralyse the development agenda. We shall deal with the issue of Apaa and solve it to the satisfaction of those in Apaa.”