Gen Caleb Akandwanaho, aka Salim Saleh has advised UPDF's commander of the Reserve Force, Lt Gen Charles Otema Awany to leave politics and join his wealth creation struggle.
According to Gen Saleh, it is high time Gen Otema left politics and instead concentrated on creating opportunities that can improve and transform the lives of the people around him and the entire country.
“Gen Otema, let’s leave politics and we go for cows and cassava because all that politics is composed of, are lies. Focus on how you can create wealth for yourselves and the people in this region in an industrial way using your capability,” Gen Saleh, also the National Coordinator Operation Wealth Creation, said on Tuesday at Tangi village in Purongo Sub County in Nwoya district during the burial ceremony of Mr Savio OjokAwany, Gen Otema’s father.
“You want to attribute yourself to the middle class who have completely detached themselves from our system and have messed up my operations at OWC?” Gen Saleh asked without providing details on the alleged mess at OWC.
Gen Otema has been influential in the politics of Acholi region for over a decade and has been accused of financing several NRM candidates for electoral positions.
“You want to be in politics but you don’t understand how it is running, not even what the middle class is thinking about us the NRM, you don’t know. I need you in production than being in politics,” he added.
According to Gen Saleh, politicking by active officers has attracted negative criticism by the population against government efforts and developments.
"Like in OWC now, you give someone a cow, they abuse it because they took it to be NRM cow. Even when you give them a tractor, they will disown it saying it is NRM's. This is a big blow to us now," he stated.
However, in his response, Gen Otema said his participation in politics has been very instrumental in shaping development.
"I can only denounce politics when NRM's opponents like Nobert Mao stop attacking me and sabotaging our efforts," he told Gen Saleh.
Gen Otema who has held myriad command and staff positions including the current reserve commander slot, has been a commercial farmer since 2012 with a farm in Tango village, Purongo Sub County, Nwoya District.
Owiny-Dollo challenges Saleh
The deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo however told Gen Saleh that government programmes like OWC were failing not because of politics but “raw approaches” in place.
"The challenge we have and failure of government efforts is not these officers engaging in politics but people don't understand what you are doing. Get away from that Nakaseke prison of yours and come to the ground here and speak to the people on the ground; that is when you will discover the secrets for you to succeed," Justice Owiny- Dollo said.
He added: “OWC is a very good idea, well-conceived but come and speak to the people so that they can understand and appreciate it.”
Bishop Sabino Odoki who was the main celebrant at the burial of one of the influential elders in Acholi sub-region; urged mourners to emulate the examples set by late Ojok Awany. The late was also a father to NRM Deputy Secretary General, Richard Todwong.
“This is a legacy that we got to emulate because he was a loving and a caring father to all. Above all, he exercised love for everyone in all aspects of his life even while he served in prison,” Bishop Odoki said.
“Your works and profession should all end in love because titles and professions are empty without works of love as Christ teaches us in the word.”
Born in March 1940 to Mr Luka Awany and Ms Cecilia Lawino, the late is survived by 45 children and over 130 grandchildren.