PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has attributed his ‘youthful looks’ to his consumption of locally produced foods
By Mary Karugaba and Moses Mulondo
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has attributed his ‘youthful looks’ to his consumption of locally produced foods.
Addressing members of the East African Legislative Assembly sitting in Kampala on Friday, he amused members when he said he revealed his secret to looking young.
“When we were in Ethiopia, USA President Obama commented that I look young. I forgot to tell him that it’s because I eat Ugandan grown foods,” Museveni said.
Citing the example of milk, he noted that many Ugandans were losing their teeth because they don’t consume the required liters of milk. Uganda produces 2b liters of milk annually but only consumes 800m liters.
“Instead of consuming 210 liters per person annually, each person consumes only 60 liters that is why they are losing their teeth. They don’t have enough calcium to keep their teeth in the mouth,” he said causing laughter.
Museveni called on the East African Community members to support each other’s prosperity by buying locally produced goods as a way of enhancing the integration.
He added that with the EAC market, it’s easy to negotiate with other trading blocs and also support each other in order to get out of poverty.
“Prosperity cannot be sustained with a small market. For example many of our footballers, singers die in poverty because their creative art cannot be sustained by the small market. Unlike in the USA where footballers, singers earn huge amount of money as a result of big markets,”
Quoting the recent Uganda-Kenya sugar deal row, the President said there should be free flow of goods in the region without hindrance.
“Some directors in Kenya instead of directing are busy misdirecting. They think their jobs are to stop Uganda sugar but we have told them to stop and open up the market. EAC needs to help Uganda buy the sugar,” he said.
During President Uhuru Kenyatta’s official visit to Uganda, the two presidents struck a deal allowing cheaper Ugandan sugar into the Kenyan market.
The deal also clears the way for Kenyan traders to export beef to Uganda under similar terms, deepening the commercial ties between Kampala and East Africa’s largest economy.
The decision to relax import rules on Uganda and Kenyan products fits within the rallying call for increased intra-EAC trade by removing non-tariff barriers but former Kenyan premier Raila Odinga is opposed to the move arguing that it’s causing job losses and the closure of their sugar factories.
Uganda currently produces a surplus of more than 100,000 tons while Kenyans have a shortfall of 300,000 tons.
He observed that even if the people do not consume the product, they should produce for others.
“I don’t eat rice and bread but I am forced to eat when I have no alternative for example when I was in Ethiopia for the South Sudan negotiations. Previously Ugandans never used to produce maize thinking posho is only for soldiers and prisoners. But today they produce it for export,” he added.
Citing the current peace negotiations in Burundi and South Sudan, EALA Speaker Sam Kidega applauded the President for his commitment towards regional integration, peace and security.
He requested him and other EAC heads of state to fast track the process of a political federation.
“Mr. President, without a political federation, we remain vulnerable. We appeal to the summit to fast- track the Political federation,” Kidega said.
He briefed the President on the performance of the Assembly since he took over office from Margaret Zziwa who was censured as EALA Speaker in December last year.
However he told the President that the Assembly was still facing challenges among them delay by leaders to assent the Bills.
“There’s a problem moving bills from one state to another seeking the heads of states signatures. It’s my request that we revise the methods and the Bills be assented to during the summit. That eases our work,” he said.
Referring to the Ugandan Parliament deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah as “good friend and mentor”’ Kidega heaped praise on him for his exemplary performance in the constituency, parliament and in the region.
Oulanyah responded, “You have humbled me. I had prepared to speak but now I can’t.”
Oulanyah prayed that whenever the assembly is conducting business, interests of the people should come first.
“Let not be bogged by issues that do not benefit our people. I get at pain here when I try to get out what is of interest to the people during debates and I fail,” he said.
He however called on members to unite saying “the borders that divide us are not deeper than the blood and the history that binds us”.
I look young because I eat Ugandan foods - Museveni