President Museveni has asked cadres of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) to cooperate with members of the opposition to kick-start development, saying after all they (NRM) will take the credit.
Mr Museveni was at the weekend speaking at the Source of the Nile in Jinja at the launch of the “Relay from Jinja to northern Sweden”, an initiative aimed at marketing Jinja as a tourist destination.
The idea is a brainchild of Jinja Mayor Muhammad Baswari Kezaala and the Mayor of the Swedish city of Skellefteå, Mr Bert Öhlund. Mr Kezaala is the national chairman of the Democratic Party.
Mr Museveni, who presided over the launch that involved drawing water into containers shaped like Uganda’s Nile Perch fish, said contrary to what some of the supporters of the NRM think, there is nothing wrong with supporting a development project initiated by a member of the opposition.
“I know now there is a question among people as to why I responded to an invitation to turn up for the launch of this tourism programme organised by Baswari Kezaala, the national chairman of the Democratic Party, but this is development which benefits every Ugandan and I must support it,” Mr Museveni said. He said such a tourism promotion if successful was bound to increase inflow of foreign exchange.
Mr Museveni described Kezaala’s decision to select him to preside over the function as an act of wisdom.
“Kezaala is very wise because he knew that I have resources to support this tourism promotion,” he said.
Responding to requests made by Jinja Municipality West MP Moses Balyeku to “leave something behind”, Mr Museveni, who recently caused a stir when he gave Busoga youth a sack containing Shs250 million, a Fuso truck, an omnibus and 15 motorcycles, advised the public to desist from thinking that he will be giving out cash to everyone.
Mr Kezaala said the municipality hopes to develop Mpumudde Hill, where the late Omukama Kabalega of Bunyoro is believed to have died while returning from exile, into a powerful tourist attraction.
The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, petitioned the president to empower local investors to develop tourism sites and help with the renovation of Kimaka Airstrip to enable tourists make direct flights to Jinja.
On the same afternoon, Mr Museveni launched the “Paint Jinja Bright” programme, where 66 buildings are to be painted with funding from, among others, Kakira Sugar Works, Bidco Uganda Limited, Nile Breweries Limited, Sadolin Paints, Nile View Casino, Hared Petroleum, and Skyfat Tannery.