MASINDI. President Yoweri Museveni yesterday declared that he is not a servant or an employee of anybody but a person who fights for himself and his beliefs.
“I am not an employee. I hear some people saying that I am their servant; I am not a servant of anybody. I am a freedom fighter; that is why I do what I do. I don’t do it because I am your servant; I am not your servant. I am just a freedom fighter; I am fighting for myself, for my belief; that’s how I come in. If anybody thinks you gave me a job, he is deceiving himself. I am just a freedom fighter whom you thought could help you also,” he said.
The President made the remarks in Masindi Town yesterday while presiding over NRA/M Day celebrations to mark his 31 years in power.
Dr Kizza Besigye, a four-time presidential contestant, has repeatedly said Mr Museveni, by the virtue of being president, is a servant of the people. Such views are misplaced, Mr Museveni said, backpedaling from his 1986 inaugural speech in which he said the government must be a servant of citizens.
Yesterday, the President cautioned teachers and health workers to stop being money-minded and scouting for jobs. Citing a Nakawuka Health Centre IV employee he said stays in Jinja, about 90 kilometres away over lack of staff housing, the President said: “For us we stay in grass-thatched houses and work. Lack of good accommodation is an employee mentality, personally I am not an employee…,” Museveni said.
He also said the government’s priority in the coming years is to concentrate on reducing imports, worth $7b, and increase exports that currently fetch only $5b
“It does not make sense to import products which can be made locally,” he said.
He said government is committing money into the Innovation Fund, Uganda Development Bank and Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOs) to support local processing and manufacturing.
“Imagine Uganda is importing furniture from China yet we have timber from Budongo. Such items can be made locally,” Mr Museven implored.
The President promised to build a shelter to house a workshop and showroom for furniture dealers in Nsambya, Kireka and Ku Bbiri suburbs; all Kampala city suburbs.
“All those people are manufacturers who need to be assisted with common user machines and showrooms so that we can eliminate importation of furniture,” he said.
The President also said pumping oil from the ground is another government priority. He said Uganda discovered oil in 2006 before Ghana which has now moved ahead and is already pumping their oil.
He, however, said government and other key players have agreed on major points including how much oil will be pumped, construction of the refinery, revenue sharing and the oil pipeline and where it should pass.
According to President Museveni, government has implemented 10 per cent budget cuts in all sectors to facilitate infrastructural development mainly roads which will support oil production.
“There should not be any argument on that because we must do all the roads and railway to facilitate oil production,” he said, adding when Ugandans starts producing oil, the begging for foreign aid will stop.
The President said he wants to build the country’s financial base using revenue from oil. He said once Uganda begins selling oil, it will earn over $2 billion when the price of oil is down and $4 billion dollars when the prices go up per year.
“Please everybody, let us get our oil and gas out. Let us do anything possible to achieve that,” he said.
Mr Museveni also highlighted on Operation Wealth Creation programme, saying it was not meant to handle all problems in agriculture but to promote food security and commercial farming.
He however said in the urban areas, there is need to promote small-scale manufacturing to increase exports and reduce on imports.
On education and health, Museveni said there is need to reform the curriculum. He admitted there is a big gap in education.
“We pledged one primary school per parish, one secondary school per sub-county, one technical school per constituency which we have not yet fulfilled,” he said in regard to the health sector.
He commended the people of Masindi for their contribution during the NRA guerrilla struggle.
“You gave support by giving us your children, food and information which helped us win battles in Masindi, Hoima, Biiso and other areas,” he said.
Earlier, he had commissioned his ruling party’s monthly newsletter code-named NRM Lense.
“It is my pleasure to launch an NRM paper because many people are calling our party dumb,” he said, adding that NRM has now come out and will start speaking through its newspaper.
“I am just a freedom fighter; I am fighting for myself, my beliefs,..If anybody thinks you gave me a job, he is deceiving himself.
January 26, 2017
“The sovereign power in the land must be the population, not the government. The government should not be the master, but the servant of the people.”
January 29, 1986