By Chris Mugasha
President Yoweri Museveni has asked leaders to focus on strategies which can eradicate poverty if they want to overcome pressures from the electorate.
Museveni said the only way to meet this is to empower households so that they can address their needs without putting demands on their leaders.
He cited the Members of Parliament (MPs) whom he said were facing the challenge of demands from the electorate and they are expected to meet them.
Museveni was officiating at Sacred Heart Mushanga secondary school’s silver jubilee celebrations at the school’s play grounds in Sheema district on Saturday.
During the function there was also a fundraising conducted to get money for the construction of a multi-purpose hall in the school estimated to cost sh800m. Museveni contributed sh80m, of which sh20m was given in cash and the rest to be delivered later.
“You are going to make your MPs steal,” Museveni noted as he sympathized with the MPs.
MPs in attendance included Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye (Sheema South), Yorokamu Katwiremu (Sheema South) and the district Woman MP Rosemary Nyakikongoro.
The archbishop of Mbarara archdiocese Paul Bakyenga, district leaders, parents, old boy and girls of the school, among others attended.
Museveni said if people were helped to increase their household incomes, contributing towards infrastructure development like building schools and churches would be easier.
He stressed that currently when functions like fundraisings are organized, few rich people participate in the buying of commodities while the majority only attend as spectators. Museveni warned that such rich people who have some money to contribute towards such social functions will at a later stage get tired and withdraw.
Museveni asked the leaders to intensify messages of poverty eradication by sensitizing people about modern methods of farming, land utilization and help them to access seedlings like coffee seedlings.
He said a household with three acres of land can be advised to plant coffee on an acre, bananas on another acre while on the other plant grass for zero grazing.
“When families are economically stable, building schools and churches in communities will be very easier because all people will participate and support,” he noted. Museveni said in places like Ankole region people have banana plantations but hastened to add, “They are poorly managed which affects the production capacity.”
He pledged to support the leaders to access coffee seedlings to distribute to households.
Katwiremu said the NAADS programme needs to be restructured so that it can help more people. Nyakikongoro told the President that people especially women need to be helped with agro-business projects to assist them to move away from using hoes to modern methods of farming.
Nyakikongoro also noted that the NAADS programme should focus on food production to handle issues of nutrition.
The school which is Catholic Church founded, started on March 3, 1987 with 90 students and six teachers but now boasts of 1165 students.
The headmaster Polly Turambure hailed government for aiding the school right from the start. “We thank the government for providing the school with a conducive environment for it to operate,” Turambure said. He however petitioned government to help the school get more teachers who are on government payroll.
Tumwesigye who is the area MP appealed to government to develop a policy of giving a laptop to every teacher as a non-monetary incentive. He also said such laptops can help the teachers carry out more research.