GULU. President Museveni has assured Ugandans of a peaceful general election scheduled for early 2016.
Speaking at the 53rd independence anniversary celebrations at Kaunda Grounds in Gulu District on Friday, Mr Museveni said he hears that some people might cause violence in 2016 general election “but I want to assure you that nobody will cause violence”.
“It is that if the country is going into election, some ‘people’ threaten violence, Uganda has long passed that kind of nonsense that portrays backwardness,” said Mr Museveni, adding: “I thought in elections you just talk and convince people, but in any case you want to cause violence, we also know how we shall deal with you because we shall not tolerate it.”
The colourful celebration was attended by a broad spectrum of dignitaries that included Kenya’s deputy president William Ruto, diplomats accredited to Uganda, ministers and judges, in addition to citizens from all walks of life.
Returning to his pet subject of value addition, the President castigated the continued export of unprocessed agricultural products which he said make the country lose money and by-products of processing.
He singled out maize, noting that the country sells unprocessed maize to South Sudan and Kenya which fetches little cash yet animal feeds from maize bran is lost in the process, thus losing out on agricultural jobs at the same time.
“We shall in the future increase the funds [to the youth livelihood project] so that our youth can engage in value addition. Plans are underway to engage the youth at the sub-county level who can process the sim-sim as long as power is in place,” he said.
Speaking about the government’s investments in the energy sector to drive the economy and development, the President said the completion of the Karuma hydropower station that will produce 650 megawatts of electricity and other planned stations at Ayago Falls, Kiba and Murchison Falls will make northern region the new centre of industrialisation in Uganda.
“These sites shall have a lot of electricity more than what Jinja dam currently produces to the country,” he said.
Kenya’s deputy president Ruto, who represented president Uhuru Kenyatta, told the Independence Day gathering that government of Kenya is in full support of Mr Museveni on his agenda of development and progress in the region.
“We commit to you and people of Uganda that the projects and programmes you agreed upon with your brother Uhuru will be fulfilled, ranging from railway lines, pipelines, infrastructure and energy projects,” he said.s
Mr Ruto, however, caused a stir when he lashed at Uganda’s Opposition leaders under The Democratic Alliance (TDA) who recently met Kenyan opposition CORD coalition led by Mr Raila Odinga in Nairobi.
He described the move as unwise considering the fact that even the Kenyan opposition coalitions have been a failure amongst themselves.
“Mr Museveni’s competitors were recently in Kenya trying to get a formula to unite, but they instead met up with people who have problems with unity and have failed to win elections,” he remarked.
Last week, the two presidential aspirants Amama Mbabazi and Dr Kizza Besigye were in Kenya and held a meeting with Kenya’s former prime minister Raila Odinga.
The theme of this year’s independence celebrations was: ‘Striving towards a prosperous people and country’.