Museveni was on meeting sugarcane plantation farmers at Adodi Ayuu Alali village, Lukung sub-county in Lamwo District ahead of the commissioning of Atiak Sugar Factory in Amuru district.
President Yoweri Museveni has scoffed at opposition politicians who frustrate government development programmes describing them as witches who wish nothing good for the ordinary people.
Museveni was on Thursday meeting sugarcane plantation farmers at Adodi Ayuu Alali village, Lukung sub-county in Lamwo District ahead of the commissioning of Atiak Sugar Factory in Amuru district.
The plantations are a partnership between Horyal investment holding company the proprietors of Atiak Sugar factory and three cooperative societies of Atiak sugar Outgrowers Cooperative Society, Ayuu Alali Cooperative Society and Gem Panyiro Cooperative Society.
"There is a Uganda proverb, "Balibasekka," meaning, they used to laugh at me, let them come and see me now. When we were fighting Bashir in Sudan, I would camp at Ngomoromo to see whether our guns are working, now I saw a huge plantation. I had slept a bit on the Chopper and when I woke up I thought, Am I in Kakira or what? This is a great victory for the people with development ‘eyes' against the blind. But not only blind but selfish parasites," he said.
Museveni said it was shameful that this was something they would debate about given that some of the people who were opposing the project are members of parliament and they earn taxpayers money.
"I have never seen them opposing money collected from these projects. They oppose other things but not money. They get their salaries… check how much. Government has a plan to bring some money to people here and they are fighting it. That they are fighting NRM! Their reasoning is that if there is no progress after some years NRM will be blamed. Whatever plan for the people that the NRM brings, they must fight it. They are like witches who don't want to see a healthy baby grow," he said.
Museveni said in the 1960s he worked with UPC government, that helped develop his area through former Vice President John Babiiha.
"That area is now a big producer of milk. Although I was not a member of UPC, when I went to him (John Babiiha) to change people from traditional cows to milk, he was very happy. This is because of what we do, we do for the people. All those people are long gone but other people and their children have moved forward," he said.
He said projects like Kakira Sugar Works were started by Europeans who left a long time ago but projects are still going on.
"I congratulate you for resisting Satan here. This is a big gain for you people, how? First, even if you didn't own shares in the project, your children will get jobs in the plantations and in the factory.
Second, if you have got agriculture products, food etc, the project has gathered big consumers for you to feed. I produce milk in Rwakitura but I sell my milk in Rwakitura at sh600 a litre. In Kampala, a litre is sh1200. Milk in Rwakitura is better than milk near Kampala. In Kampala, they add water. But farmers near Kampala are getting more than me. What is the difference? Those near Kampala have big consumers. To get a project that gathers many people is a big market, the price goes up," he said.
Museveni said Gulu town has grown a lot because of Gulu University, adding that when the University was started, it created a big market, houses to rent, food etc.
The President said the factory will produce sugar and instead of importing, we shall be exporting.
"But with sugarcane not only shall we get sugar, but we shall also produce ethanol which is like petro. You will have two factories of sugar and ethanol meaning more jobs and a bigger market. The residue of sugarcane for animal feeds will create another factory. When you chew sugarcane and remove juice, the residue is a resource from which we get electricity. Those factories in jinja produce electricity to power themselves and sell to the government," he said.
The President pledged to deploy fire-fighting equipment from Nakasongala during the dry season to mitigate fire outbreaks.
Later, Museveni awarded certificates which guarantee ownership to cooperators.
The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Ssempijja said this is the biggest public-private investment in northern Uganda.
"Under your leadership, peace returned to Uganda which laid a firm foundation for investments like this. The household beneficiaries from the districts of Adjumani, Amuru, Lamwo and Gulu will be allocated five acres of already planted sugar cane plants. Each Household will earn sh3.6 million shillings per acre after deductions and sh18 million per farmer from the five acres," he said.
Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees and Member of Parliament (MP) for Lamwo, Eng. Hillary Onek said they are proud of this development.
"I was insulted by my political opponents who don't see beyond what they eat. We must make sure we chase away poverty. We have to develop Acholiland. Let them abuse, but we shall be counting money. This project has brought the money economy to the grassroots," he said.
Minister of State for Environment and Kitgum Woman MP Beatrice Anywar described Acholi as a land of opportunities, ready for development. She committed to providing tree seedlings to the chiefdom to protect the environment.
His Highness Rwot Billi Richard Onyach II of Ayuu Alali the host chiefdom said they provided 15000 acres of land for sugar production, out of the many Chiefdoms, standing out strongly in welcoming investments and supporting rural transformation and Commercial agriculture production.
Rwot Onyach II said the community developed a plan of how to productively and economically utilize their land and other resources, tree planting with a view of improving incomes, leasing land for investment and promoting the transformation of agriculture from subsistence to commercial.
He thanked the President for a comprehensive poverty eradication plan with a focus on increased household income, describing it as the first of its kind in Uganda history. He regretted acts of some political actors including Hon. Odonga Otto and Hon. Gilbert Olanya whose interest was to sabotage a multibillion project by inciting the people to protest against the investment.
Hon Dan Kidega on behalf of the board of directors Horyal Investments Holding Limited commended the President and his government for providing a conducive environment for investment in the country.
"Several years ago, this particular beautiful land was infested with wrong elements of bandits and nothing would be done here. But with your hard work and the resilience of our gallant soldiers, today we are here in heaven on earth," he said.