State of the Nation Address 2017: What Museveni outlined as key drivers for Development

In ful­fill­ment of the Con­sti­tu­tional re­quire­ment un­der ar­ti­cle 101 (1) of the Con­sti­tu­tion ahead of the open­ing of a new par­lia­men­tary ses­sion, President Yoweri Museveni yesterday delivered his 22nd State of the Nation Address to Ugandans at Serena Hotel.

Museveni who would return to Serena tomorrow for the budget speech that nearly turned a ritual, mentioned five issues including “peace, de­vel­op­ment of the in­fra­struc­ture and the hu­man re­source; wealth cre­ation, job cre­ation, and mar­ket ac­cess,” as the key drivers of development.

Peace, the Pres­i­dent said, “means ab­sence of war but it must also in­clude ab­sence of law­less­ness.”

Al­though he boasted of hav­ing ended the 20 year civil war by the Lord’s Re­sis­tance Army, the Al­lied De­fence Forces in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and cat­tle rustlers   in Karamoja, Mu­sev­eni said that the coun­try was faced with a few spikes of law­less­ness.

“Re­cently, there has been a spike of law­less­ness in the coun­try in­volv­ing the mur­der of AIGP Kaweesi, Sheikhs, Ma­jor Muhammad Kig­gundu, Joan Kagezi, Chair­man Ok­ware in Na­mayingo, Rwa­mutwe in Bushenyi, the town clerk of Gulu, the Er­itrean busi­ness­man, etc.” he said

“There [are] also nu­mer­ous break-ins in homes and some peo­ple were throw­ing leaflets threat­en­ing vi­o­lence,” added Mu­sev­eni

He blamed these de­vel­op­ments on what he called “a few gaps” char­ac­terised by lack of fund­ing on ac­count of com­pet­ing de­mands.

To curb these, he said that there was need for heavy in­vest­ment in street cam­eras by both gov­ern­ment and pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als with the abil­ity to do so.

“The cam­eras would has­ten the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of any­body who com­mits a crime in the towns or the high­ways…mean­while, the rich busi­ness­men and res­i­dents that can af­ford them should in­stall cam­eras around their busi­nesses and res­i­dences.  They greatly as­sist,” said Mu­sev­eni.

Mu­sev­eni also re­it­er­ated the need to clean po­lice of wrong el­e­ments that have in­fil­trated the force.

These “wrong el­e­ments” have cast po­lice im­age in bad light and the, “Po­lice and the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices have been rightly crit­i­cized by the pub­lic for be­ing lax in han­dling in­for­ma­tion given to them by the pub­lic. They some­times are leak­ing this in­for­ma­tion, are cor­rupt in the form of ex­tort­ing money from the pub­lic, high-hand­ed­ness in deal­ing with the pub­lic and pro­tect­ing crim­i­nals or al­low­ing crim­i­nals to in­fil­trate the Po­lice.”

“The Po­lice lead­er­ship must, there­fore, care­fully lis­ten to the pub­lic and clean up the few rot­ten el­e­ments,” said Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni.

In fight­ing crime, the pres­i­dent also cau­tioned po­lice against ar­rest­ing in­no­cent un­em­ployed youths and charg­ing them with be­ing idle and dis­or­derly.

He said that many youths are sim­ply un­em­ployed and such ar­rests “must stop com­pletely.”

The pres­i­dent promised to cre­ate more em­ploy­ment av­enue for the youths both in for­mal and in­for­mal sec­tors.

Re­gard­ing in­fra­struc­tural un­der­tak­ings, the pres­i­dent said that the coun­try was do­ing will in terms of paved roads net­works and urged law­mak­ers to sup­port ex­tra road pro­jects.

“The de­vel­op­ment of the in­fra­struc­ture is so cru­cial be­cause, as I have told you nu­mer­ous times, it low­ers the costs of do­ing busi­ness in the econ­omy and, there­fore, max­imises the prof­its of com­pa­nies…lower costs of elec­tric­ity, trans­port, etc., means higher prof­its for the en­tre­pre­neurs,” Mu­sev­eni said.

The Pres­i­dent fur­ther boasted of im­proved qual­ity of the pop­u­la­tion in terms of life ex­pectancy and lit­er­acy lev­els which he at­trib­uted to a rise in the level of im­mu­niza­tion and learn­ing cen­ters across the coun­try.

Al­though he said there was a rea­son­able rise in the lev­els of wealth in the coun­try, the pres­i­dent also ac­knowl­edged per­sist­ing chal­lenges faced by the youth and said that in­ter­ven­tions would be un­der­taken to up­lift their liveli­hood. Such in­ter­ven­tions in­clude de­lib­er­ate un­der­tak­ings to support youths’ pro­jects es­pe­cially those in­clined on skilling and employability.

Gov­ern­ment will on Thurs­day 8, 2017 pre­sent the 2017/18 Na­tional Bud­get as re­cently passed by Par­lia­ment at Shs 29 tril­lion.


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