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.