SOROTI – Some people were saying we should postpone elections because of Coronavirus but how do we postpone life? We are going to live with or without Corona. The only thing is how to live safely with Corona as we have done with AIDS and Ebola. That’s why we didn’t accept the idea of postponing the election, these were President Museveni’s words as he opened his Presidential campaigns in Teso on Saturday.
The NRM presidential flag bearer who had just concluded his campaign in Karamoja started his trail in Teso with a meeting of the party leaders at Soroti University grounds on Saturday afternoon.
He told the NRM leaders in Teso that while some still question the rationale for scientific campaigns, it is also important to note that several people including Members of Parliament have died of the virus even though many others have been infected and cured.
Museveni, however, noted that the number of those infected and the dead have not been so high as had earlier been predicted because of strict measures put in place by the government to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Therefore, that’s why we opted for this indirect way of meeting a few people and campaigning on the radio. These are the tactics we have used to survive. Therefore meeting a few leaders is safe. When we get over the problem we can have rallied. It is not the end of the world,” he said.
The President told the NRM leaders in Teso that before the capture of power by the NRM, Uganda’s economy had totally collapsed but that due to the “correct” analysis of the NRM, the economy was revived.
“Now NRM has been here for 34 years and so much has been achieved. The changes and stability we have had must have a reason behind it.”
He said whereas past governments concentrated on the politics of identity, religion and tribe, when the NRM came to power, they focused on issues affecting the people as a whole.
“It is amazing to see these people were looking at tribes and religion. Soldiers were killing one another instead of the enemy and all this because of identity. Why concentrate on people’s identity instead of their needs? The issue of talking about identity is not right. Let us talk about people’s needs. That’s how we built a liberation army containing people from all parts of Uganda.”
The President told the NRM leaders in Teso that apart from ensuring peace in the country, another wise decision government took was the return of Asian properties which ensured foreigners now had trust in the country and consequently led to foreign investments in big numbers.
According to him, it is because of the wise decisions that saw several factories set up in the country and these have not only created more jobs for Ugandans but, also widen the tax base.
“We now have more than two million jobs, not in government or agriculture but manufacturing, services and ICT. Right now, foreign companies are the biggest taxpayers in the country. In 1986, we collected only five billion shillings in taxes in the whole of Uganda, but today we collected Shs 2.1trillion. We are collecting taxes 4200 times more than in 1986,”
He noted that because of these taxes, the government can now ably construct new roads and extend electricity to all districts in the country as well as working on other problems.
According to the President, the remaining problem is people who work for only the stomachs and forget to put something in their pockets.
He noted that whereas working for the stomach is not bad, it makes more sense if one has money in their pockets to cater for other needs.
“This is the journey that NRM through correct analysis and wisdom has been able to take Uganda through. You must advise people to work for both the stomachs and their pockets,” he noted.