Museveni blames poverty in North on Acholi leaders

President Museveni (right) arrives at one of the dams being built at Atiak Sugar Factory in Amuru District at the weekend. PHOTO/TOBBIAS JOLLY OWINY

What you need to know:

  • But Museveni said he will soon set up a demonstration farm in the sub-region, as he did elsewhere, to illustrate to the people his four-acre model.

President Museveni has criticised Acholi leaders for failing to unite locals to embrace his poverty eradication strategies.

Mr Museveni said his desperate moves to get the people of Acholi Sub-region out of poverty had been deliberately frustrated by political leaders.

The President made the remarks while assessing the progress of works at the Atiak Sugar Works in Pachilo Parish, Amuru District, at the weekend. 

“The political leaders, please stop diverting our people. While I was coming here, I drove for some distance (about 13kms) up to here and I only saw some small garden of cassava, I didn’t see any other commercial crop other than the cassava,” he said. 

According to the head of State, while opposition politicians have boycotted his strategies, specifically the four-acre model, his representatives in the region, including the RDCs have slept on their job.

“Hon [Kenneth] Omona (State Minister for Northern Uganda), what is happening in this area? Why don’t we have some fruit trees and coffee? What is the problem? What is happening here? Where is the pressure?

“I know the MPs (here) are from the Opposition, but now you, Omona, and the RDCs are here. If these people don’t want to listen to my advice and only want to produce for the stomach, then it is you and RDCs work to promote that (my) message,” he stated.

The Amuru RDC,  Mr Stephen Odong Latek, had reasoned that land conflicts were impeding the government’s strategies to promote agriculture.

“We still have challenges to do with the land tenure system. Apart from the tension within the families about land, the majority of our population are now products of (resettlement) camp life and most of them are lazy,’’  Mr Latek said.

But Mr Museveni said he will soon set up a demonstration farm in the sub-region, as he did elsewhere, to illustrate to the people his four-acre model.

“People are sleeping and they have also left the land to sleep. I am going to carry you people to the government farm in Lango, Barlegi, and when I get some land here, I can also come and set up one so that you can learn from it,” he said.

While touring the sugar plantation and launching the newly acquired machinery for the plant, Mr Museveni applauded the investor for embracing technology since the use of out-growers and manual labour would make the communities around the plantation poorer.

“The company can grow their sugarcane and they no longer need the out-growers, which is what I warned Madhvani Ltd about because sugarcane is not a high-value crop, it should never have been grown by the smallholders,” he said.

“The smallholders should follow our four-acre model of 1996: One for coffee, one for fruits, one for cows, and one for food, fish farming, and poultry,” he added.

Mr Francis Mwebesa, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, said the factory would steer development. 
“These include increased incomes for farmers and the wealth of the community; employment; promotion of commercial farming; promotion of exports; and finally, the factory will act as a pillar to attracting more investments,” he said.

The government owns 40 percent shares in the factory and has invested Shs485.1b in the plant owned by Horyal Investment Ltd (with 60 percent shares).