Read the President's New Year Address 2015

Wednesday 31st December 2014
State House PPU

Dear Country-men and country-women,

I greet you all, first and foremost.  Secondly, I congratulate you on having spent a Merry Christmas.  It is so sad some of our country-men or women died on the very day of Christmas such as Mzee Kamugasha Paskalli of Mbarara and Sheikh Abdu Kadir Muwaya of Mayuge. Mzee Kamugasha died of natural causes. However, Sheikh Muwaya was murdered by gunmen.  I told the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to make sure that they find the killers of the Sheikh.  A number of our Moslem Sheikhs have been murdered in mysterious circumstances, involving shooting.  Sheikh Bahiga was only gunned down the other day, soon after Sheikh Muwaya who was killed on Christmas night.  There must be something sinister going on in our Moslem community.  This is the 5th killing of a Moslem religious leader.  Those killed in this way are: the late Sheikhs Abdul Khadir Muwaya, the late Bayiga Mustafah, the late Abdu Sentamu, the late Abasi Abubaker Kiwewa and late Yusuf Abubaker Madango. May their souls rest in eternal peace.  I extend my condolences to their families and to all Ugandans.

Using old methods of investigations, the Police has been able to achieve the following in these investigations:

(i)    suspects have been arrested and charged for murder and remanded in prison;

(ii)   recovered guns and training manuals from the suspects;

(iii)   in the case of the two recent murders, they have arrested 16 suspects and are currently being interrogated;

(iv)   prevented attacks on police stations in different parts of the country, as earlier planned by the suspects.

In the case  of Sheikh Abasi Abubaker Kiwewa and Sheikh Yusuf Abubaker Madango, it is now up to the Judicial process to listen to the cases and sort them out. Unfortunately, the Judiciary released Lule Balaba, Kawule Muzafari Mugoya, Dhabanji Musa and Sheikh Twaha Baligeya on bail, who, then, proceeded to escape.  This is unacceptable.  Why does the Judiciary release somebody charged with such serious crimes on bail? 

The Minister of Justice will put before Parliament an amendment to the Constitution, as soon as Parliament opens, to stop this issue of bail in matters of murder, rape, defilement, treason and corruption.

Above, I referred to the Police using old methods because there are three modern strategic systems that would simplify and expedite crime investigation. One strategic system of the computerized Identity Card (ID) project has just been finally put in place by Gen. Aronda Nyakairima.  This will help from a number of angles which I do not want to go into here.

Another strategic system will be deployed soon. The third strategic system, that of cameras, is also being studied for, at least, the towns.  As you saw in London, when there was bombing in the railway station, it was easier for the Police to trace the culprit because his picture had been captured in the station.  Here, in Uganda, we were able to discover the crimes of the bad-hearted house maid because of the camera.  Those private companies and individuals who can afford to deploy cameras around their premises should do so as the State sorts out that aspect.  Although we know the value of these systems, we have taken long to acquire them because of competing demands: roads, electricity, the railway, wages of public servants, Defence, etc.  By acquiring the right equipment, we were able to defeat insurgency and cattle-rustling.  We are also going to defeat these cowardly criminals who shoot unarmed people. In the meantime, the available means will be deployed to catch these criminals.  They won't escape, wherever they go. I guarantee Ugandans on that.  Why should a Ugandan kill another one?  This is most unacceptable.

Thirdly, I congratulate you on finishing the year 2014 and wish you all the best in the new coming year.

Fourthly, I congratulate all Ugandans because when I fly over Uganda nowadays, I notice a spirit of Okusiimuka, Kuzukuka, Co (Acholi), Okwenyu (Ateso), Akenyun (Karamoja), Enga-oduasi (Lugbara), all of which mean "waking up".  What do I mean by "waking up"?  The "waking up" I am talking about is more and more Ugandan families entering small scale commercial farming with "ekibaro", "Cura", "Otita", "Aimar" ─ i.e. with the aim of maximizing financial returns per acre as we have been recommending to you ever since 1995.  The policy of the four acres plan ─ one acre for clonal coffee; one acre for fruits (oranges, mangoes and pineapples); one acre of bananas, cassava, Irish potatoes, etc. for food crops; and one acre for pasture (elephant grass, chloris guyana, etc) for, at least, 6 dairy cattle.  On top of these, to add some backyard activities (emanju) such as poultry for eggs, piggeries for those who are not Moslems and fish farming for those who are near the swamps.

This plan was in order to overcome poverty from all our homesteads through small scale commercial production.  It was, in particular, to rescue those homesteads that have, unfortunately, already fragmented their land through wrong inheritance practices. I have repeatedly been advising you that this land fragmentation must end.  We have been talking about it for almost the last 20 years with little movement. That is why last year, I introduced the UPDF officers into the NAADS programme, starting with the Fronasa ─ NRA operational areas of 1971-1986.  That UPDF involvement has been very successful; so much that we have had maize bumper crops in the Luwero area, in the Kibaale area, etc. etc.

However, what is now most pleasing is to fly over some parts of Uganda and you start seeing the Ugandans "waking up" ─ Kusiimuka. A few weeks ago,  I flew to Kidepo to arbitrate in the issue of the human beings Vs the wildlife in the Karenga area.  Over Busoga, there is alot of sugarcane cultivation, not only by the Madhivanis but also by many, many out-growers. This would be good but I have got a problem with the "ekibaro" of sugarcane on a small scale.  Out of one acre and after 18 months of waiting, an average farmer ends up getting only Shs. 2.1million (two million one hundred housand shillings). That is why, through Lt. Col. Dhamuzungu and the other UPDF officers deployed in the region, we insist on the four acres plan.   It is that, that will rescue the people from poverty in Busoga.  Out of Busoga, I flew over the Palisa-Teso area.  Especially in the Teso area, I noticed that about 10% of the homesteads had listened to our advice of adopting citrus fruits growing.  You see patches of the oranges, not in all the homesteads unfortunately. It is, however, now noticeable.  Therefore, there is some kusiimuka there. I congratulate those families that have joined the small scale commercial farming.  I encourage all the other families in Teso that have not yet joined this effort to take advantage of the UPDF officers we have deployed to start on the journey to eliminate poverty from their homesteads.

Towards Christmas, I flew towards the south-west, while going to attend the wedding of Hon. Bright Rwamirama's son and while going to Rwakitura for Christmas.  Over the Masaka-Rakai-Lyantonde-Lwengo areas, I flew over patches of well tended, properly lined coffee gardens of one acre, two acres and, in some cases, what appeared to be 10 acres.  This was very pleasing.  In one garden on the right of the Masaka-Mbarara road in the Kyazanga area, the farmer has the coffee trees under the shades of the well-spaced Misizi trees (mysoposis).  It was a beautiful sight.  I have checked with Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) whether the coffee can do well with the Misizi.  They say that as long as Misizi are well scattered between the coffee trees, it provides good shades for the coffee during the dry period and, it later, provides income from timber.  This is a good combination for both medium and long-term investments as well as for the environment.  The coffee will start producing coffee berries in 18 months.  The Misizi will be ready for harvesting good timber in 25 years. 

There were also impressive gardens of maize scattered all over the areas.  After the Masaka-Kalungu-Lwengo-Rakai-Lyantonde areas, where I could see signs of okusiimuka, I entered the Kiruhuura-Isingiro areas, around Lakes Kakyeera-Mburo and River Rwizi.  There, in addition to the well-fenced and well weeded (removing the shrubs, the muteete-cymbopogan afronadus, etc.), the farmers have now planted large patches of what appeared to be maize as well as patches of bananas and impressive herds of improved goats that would stampede on the sound of the helicopter.  In the well weeded farms, you would notice herds of the less panicky friesian cattle that would look up curiously at the speeding helicopter, scamper a little bit and, then, go back to grazing.  Just before Christmas, I had gone to Fort-Portal to attend the World AIDS day.  On the way, I noticed large patches of maize and by the time I landed near the Kyamara primary school, I was in the midst of very well tended tea estates.  The price of tea has now gone down because of the chaos that engulfed North Africa and the Middle East since 2011. 

However, the situation is now settling down in those countries.  I hope their consumption of our tea will go up again and the price will go up.  On the 21st of December, I flew to Gomba and, then, on to Masindi.  Again, I saw some kusiimuka by farmers growing large patches of maize in the Mpigi-Butambala-Gomba areas and, then, the cattle farms in the Kiboga-Kyankwanzi-Ngoma-Masindi areas before hitting the sugarcane shambas around Kinyara.  As I have told you repeatedly, I have no quarrel with sugarcane or maize if you have enough acreage of say 20 acres, whereby you do my 6 anti-poverty activities (coffee, fruits, food crops and zero-grazing dairy cattle in addition to the backyard activities of poultry and piggery) and, then, you add on 10 or so acres of sugarcane or maize.  Out of 10 acres of maize, grown twice a year, you will end up earning 28 million shillings a year.  Out of 10 acres of sugarcane, you will end up earning 21 million shillings in 18 months (a year and a half).  You will have done the ekibaro plus some additional income. 

We, of course, need maize for food for institutions (Army, Police, Schools, Hospitals, Prisons) and for animal feeds (poultry, cattle, pigs, etc). The families of 4 acres and less should concentrate on the 6 activities (clonal coffee, fruits, food-crop, zero grazing cattle, poultry and piggery (in the backyard) plus fish farming if you are near the swamps.  Maize, sugarcane, cotton, cattle-ranching that we also need badly not only for strategic industries but also to support the dairy and the poultry industries, should be done by the families that have more land than the four acres.

In my speeches, I normally concentrate on the families of the 4 acres and less.  This is because the majority of the traditional families find themselves in this category.  Through bad inheritance practices, they have already fragmented the land.  My strong advice has always been: "stop further land fragmentation". The more enlightened and larger scale farmers know what to do.  They only need the improved seeds that are, fortunately, available in the research institutions, machinery for hire, etc. as well as improved road networks to market what is produced on the farms.  Otherwise, they know what to do or can easily copy the good  practices.

As I normally tell you, agriculture alone cannot transform a country into modernity.  In fact agriculture cannot thrive without industry.  This was point no. 5 of our ten points programme.  Agriculture needs implements from industry; needs fertilizers from industry; and needs chemicals and drugs from industry.  It also needs industries that process what agriculture produces so that it reaches the distant markets and does so at a higher value.  We need factories to process maize, milk, beef, coffee, bananas, fruits, leather, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, cotton, sugarcane, timber, etc, etc.  These factories need cheap electricity.  It is all a chain of linkages. In my address to the NRM National Conference, I addressed most of those issues.  I do not have to repeat them here.  On this occasion, I, mainly, wanted to congratulate you on finishing the year 2014 and on the growing kusiimuka, kuzukuka, Co (Acholi), Okwenyu (Ateso), Akenyun (Karamoja), Enga-oduasi (Lugbara), out of traditional agriculture, into modern, small scale commercial farming.  As you know, subsistence farming has been the main cause of poverty in the history of Uganda.  The census of 2002 pointed out that only 32% of the homesteads in Uganda were in the money economy!! 68% were in subsistence (in other-words, non-money) economy!!  How, then, can you wonder that there is poverty in the rural areas in Uganda?  Since 1995, the NRM has been recommending to you a therapy.  I am glad, more and more families are embracing this formula.  The percentage of the people living below the poverty line has now gone down to 19%.  This figure will be even better if all the families listen to our advice and take advantage of the UPDF officers to get out of poverty through small scale commercial farming.

The urban areas are also not forgotten.  We have also deployed UPDF officers there.  They will encourage peri-urban agriculture of items like vegetables, onions, mushrooms, etc. and also artisan skills and equipment such as handlooms, sewing machines.  The mega solution for jobs in the towns, however, are the factories such as the ones in the Namanve or Luzira areas.

I thank all of you and wish you a happy and prosperous New Year, Two Thousand and Fifteen.

31st December 2014

Rwakitura

 
 

 

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