To see young people oblivious of the issues but in leadership is not good for the country
COMMENT | Yoweri Kaguta Museveni | Again, I congratulate our young friend, the Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, for his recent election in Kyadondo North. I also notice that he is quite active in sending out messages about what he thinks should be done in our country, Uganda. He had issued a statement some time ago in response to my article of July 16, 2017 in The New Vision newspaper. When we were at Makerere University in Kampala on August 31, he, again, was part of the group that tried to hijack the Mzee Nelson Mandela Memorial Day into an anti-NRM, anti-Museveni forum. I ignored them and focused on Mzee Mandela and on Africa. I, nevertheless, noticed the undisciplined, uninformed and arrogant way in which that group was conducting themselves.
The security services have shown me a statement ascribed to the Hon. Bobi Wine when the Age Limit Debate started recently. It is very good when the opponents of the NRM put in writing their views. We are then able to demolish them because the NRM, right from the 1960s as a Student Movement, is a solid force as far as both ideology and action are concerned. There is nothing we cannot answer because there is nothing we cannot address. Even when we under-perform, it is not for lack of knowledge but for lack of means or lack of devotion by our cadres.
In his latest statement, the Hon. Bobi Wine; while referring to the NRM Caucus position on the issue of Age Limit, shamelessly wrote: “They did this at a time when our nation has been bleeding for the past 31 years. Our country’s former glory is all gone.”
The Hon. Bobi Wine, you are either uninformed or you are a liar, a characteristic you so liberally apply to me. Where was the “former glory” of our country when people had no salt, no sugar, no paraffin, and no security of life or property?
It is, actually, only in the last 31 years, especially after 2007 when we finally defeated the ADF in the Semliki valley, that Uganda has had peace for the first time in the last 500 years. I have made this statement before and I, hereby, repeat if for the benefit of the Bobi Wines. Before colonialism, we had endless tribal wars. During colonialism, after a lot of bleeding, there was eventually peace in much of Uganda, but not in Karamoja. After colonialism, there was chaos and collapse until the NRM restored stability to the whole country about 10 years ago, after we defeated ADF, Kony etc. and disarmed the Karimojong.
It is true that there has been a spate of murders and other crimes some of whose perpetrators have not been brought to book. However, crime is not the same as war and terrorism – both being the big problems the UPDF has defeated. Secondly, some of the murderers of the young women have been arrested and charged in Court.
- Nansana: 10 women were killed. 16 Suspects were arrested and charged in Court;
- Kawempe: 1 woman was killed. 2 Suspects were arrested and charged in Court;
- Entebbe: 11 women were killed. 13 Suspects were arrested and charged in Court;
- Wakiso Bulago: 1 woman was killed. 2 Suspects were arrested and charged in Court.
Then, he lunges into social and economic issues. He writes: “Our children face an uncertain future where unemployment is the order of the day. The national debt has turned us into slaves and the gun has become master.” There are three issues here: unemployment; the National Debt; and the gun. Yes, there is unemployment but the NRM, long ago, laid out the way to resolve it. It is through the four sectors: commercialised agriculture, industries, services, and ICT. As of today, commercial agriculture employs 9.6 million people, industries employ 1.2 million people, services employ 4.6 million people, and ICT employs 30,000 people from our country’s work force. However, for these sectors to employ more people, produce more goods and services, pay more taxes, they need better infrastructure (electricity, roads, the railway, the ICT backbone etc.) Why? It is because better and cheaper electricity will mean lower costs for the producers in the four sectors. Lower costs will mean better profits for companies. Better profits for companies will attract more companies, thereby creating more jobs and producing more goods and services.
Does the Hon. Kyagulanyi agree with this diagnosis and prescription or does he not? If he does not agree, how else will he create jobs? Apart from attracting investors with their own money to invest in the four sectors, we also empower our own youth, with government money, to enter into the four sectors. Kyagulanyi was in one of the sectors – music. Entertainment is part of the services sector. The funds that have been set up, if enhanced, can enable our people to enter into any of these sectors. The other sector is Public Service. This employs 415,000 persons. It is a bit bloated, it could do with less.