Kampala. President Museveni has issued a warning to anyone planning to destabilise Uganda, saying they will be met with decisive destruction.
“Those who want to disturb Uganda, they don’t know our capacity. Our capacity is very big. Once we mobilise, you cannot survive. I can assure you of that if you are a trouble maker,” the President said at the weekend while commissioning five factories in Mbalala Village, Nama Sub-county in Mukono District.
Mr Museveni did not direct his warning to any particular person or group but his remarks come at a time Uganda and Rwanda are having tense bilateral relations.
The simmering fallout has resulted in Rwanda closing its border with Uganda at Katuna.
As Mr Museveni issued the warning, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, speaking at a government retreat in Kigali, said he had heard of people who have said they don’t want to be destabilised but added that those same people should also not disturb others.
Mr Kagame too did not mention anyone in particular but in the past one week, the two neighbouring countries have been exchanging unpleasant bilateral statements.
During the Saturday function, Chinese investors commended President Museveni for deploying security around the factories following an armed robbery on CCLE Rubber Factory in the same area in October last year.
Mr Paul Zhang, the chairperson of Tian Tang Group, said at the time of establishing the Tian Tang Industrial Park, the biggest threat was insecurity with few investors interested in setting up factories there. Mbalala, formerly a swampy area, hosts 21 factories of the 42 in Mukono.
The five factories which were commissioned include mattress and steel manufacturing plants at Tian Tang Industrial Park, Royikems Industries for mattresses and plastics, Landy Industries that manufacture sandals and shoes, Sino Textiles factory for blankets and CCLE Rubber that produces motorcycle tyres, tubes and lubricants.
The President said he has always assured all people seeking to invest in Uganda that the country is peaceful with a strong security system which makes it the right investment destination.
“I want to thank the investors for coming to invest in our country. This is a correct decision. They are in the right place at the right time. There was a little bit of crime but I told the investors that pending installation of cameras on these roads, and even before other security measures are put in place, we can guarantee security by purely human means, and they saw it,” Mr Museveni said.
The President said the request by the investors to increase import duty on goods produced outside the region, would be discussed at the East African Community (EAC) level because it is provided for in the protocol.
Responding to a call by the Mukono District chairperson, Mr Andrew Ssenyonga, to compel investors to raise wages for more than 50,000 Ugandans working in the different factories in the area, the President said the Minimum Wage Bill recently passed by Parliament will address such labour issues.
He, however, warned leaders and the people working for different investors to go slow on demands for wage increment because the latter are also still incurring high costs of production.
“In order to enable our investors to pay good wages, we must help them to have low costs. We intend to bring down the cost of electricity to not more than 5 cents (of American dollar) per unit and then also lower the cost of transport from the ocean to here,” Mr Museveni said.
The investors said they have been supplying the Ugandan and regional market.
The Tian Tang Group said they export Ugandan-made mattresses and cardboards to the region and beyond while CCLE Rubber has been exporting 50 per cent of their products.
Mr Fang said their motorcycle tyres and tubes manufactured here help Uganda save $10m (about Shs36.8b) that would have been spent on importing the same products and save another $6m (about Shs22.1b).
The Chinese ambassador to Uganda, Mr Zheng Zhu Qiang, said Chinese have not only set up factories to make profit but have transferred new technologies and subsidise imports and improved people’s incomes.
State Minister for Investment Evelyn Anite said the demand for products made in Uganda is growing because of the good quality.