51st Independence Anniversary Celebrations

Thursday 10th October 2013
HE Yoweri KAguta Museveni

Your Excellency, General Armando Guebuza, President of the Republic of Mozambique;

The Leaders of the State and Party of Uganda;

Other Dignitaries present;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I greet you and congratulate you on the 51st Anniversary of our country’s Independence.  On the side of politics and ideological development, you know the upheavals our country went through.  It is only recently that the NRM brought stability to the country by defeating all the rebel groups and disarming the cattle-rustlers in Karamoja from whom we recovered 40,000 rifles ─ illegally held ─ that had caused untold suffering to the people of North-Eastern Uganda.  Ideologically, the NRM continues to push the line of patriotism, pan-Africanism, socio-economic transformation and democracy.

On the side of the economy, by 1962, Uganda had a small enclave of the modern economy surrounded by a sea of under-development.  The small modern sector was growing steadily, sometimes as high as 11% of growth per annum, until 1971 when Idi Amin came on the scene.  Especially since 1972, the small modern sector came under serious assault with Idi Amin killing many elements from the elite and physically uprooting the entrepreneurial Asian community.  By 1986, the Ugandan economy had shrunk by 48% compared to 1972.

The size of the Ugandan economy in 1986 was, therefore, US$ 1.55 billion.  The size of the Ugandan economy today is Uganda Shillings 64 trillion and in dollar terms, using the exchange rate method, is US$ 24.5 billion.  Therefore, the Uganda economy has grown by 16 times since 1986.

Ever since 1986, the Ugandan economy has been growing by 6.5% per annum.  However, in 2011/12, the economy only grew by 3.4% on account of certain mistakes that delayed some of our projects.  Nevertheless, our economy has now resumed a trajectory of growth, achieving a rate of 5.8% last financial year.  This growth was brought about by more investment by the private sector and more in-flows by the Foreign Direct Investments.  Construction sector grew by 8.2%, transport and communication sector by 10.4%, the telecommunications sector by 14.8%, industry by 6.8%, service by 4.8% and agriculture by 1.4%.  This growth has got positive implications for the population.  To take one example, the number of users of mobile money financial services reached 11.3 million people, approximately 30 percent of the population of Uganda last financial year.

With the road construction projects we are about to undertake and the electricity projects that will be implemented, the projected annual rates of growth will be above 10% in the next five years.

Given the expanding size of our economy, our tax collection has also expanded.  While our tax collection in 1986 was Uganda shillings 5 billion, our tax collection this year will be 9,000 billion shillings, this is about US$ 3.5 billion in US dollars.  Consequently, we are now able to construct by our own means many roads and electricity projects.  If you only take this side of the country, you will find that Kampala-Masaka road is nearly complete using our own money, Mbarara-Kikagate is being worked on, Ishaka-Kagamba, Mbarara-Katunguru, etc. Rukungiri-Kihiihi-Ishasha-Kanungu will be worked on using an Africa Development Bank (ADB) loan.  Kanungu-Nyakishenyi will be worked on using our own money.  Mbarara-Ntungamo-Kabaale-Katuna is being reconstructed using funds from the European Union.  I thank them very much for this support.  Ntungamo-Mirama Hills-Kakitumba will be done by the Trade Mark East Africa and Uganda Government.  I thank them abundantly for that support.  On the side of electricity, power has now reached Kanungu, Kihiihi, Rugyeyo, Rwamuchuuchu, Kamweezi, Ruhaama, Kikagati, Ngarama, Buhweju, etc.  By 1986, even Rukungiri, Ntungamo, Kabale and Kisoro, the big towns, never had electricity.  What is happening here is also happening in other parts of the country.  What is most important, much of it is funded by our own money from the Energy Fund.  Distant places like Moroto, Bukwo, Nakapirirpiriti, Kalaki, Otuke, Amudat, Atiak, Nimule, Lamwo, Adjumani, Moyo, etc., are either already connected to electricity or are about to be connected.

When you prioritize roads and electricity, nobody should think that we have forgotten other sectors.  “kamwe kamwe nigwo muganda”,  the Banyankore, Bakiga-Bahororo and other communities say in one of their proverbs – meaning that “ one by one makes a bundle”.  Another proverb says: “owabiinga ibiri imutsiga”, when you try to spear two animals at one time, you will miss both of them.  The late Chinese leader, Mao Tse Tung used to advise against trying to box into two different directions with both arms.  The shillings 2,300 billions and 1,700 billions we have put in the roads and energy sectors respectively are in this spirit.  Other sectors also got reasonable allocations: 1,557 billion shillings in education; 940 billion shillings in health; 377 billion shillings in water, etc.

Education has expanded in primary, secondary, tertiary and university levels.  Immunization has created a great impact on health.  That is why the population of Uganda has jumped from 14 million in 1986 to 35 million now.  Infant mortality rate has fallen from 122 per 1,000 born alive in 1986 to 54 per 1,000 born alive today.  Average life expectancy has climbed from 43 years in 1986 to 58 years today.  There are still issues in both education and health sectors such as remuneration of health workers and teachers.  These will also be addressed in time.  If we can raise Shs. 2,300 billions in one year for roads, which is about US$ 900 million, in time, we shall get money even for the other sectors.  There is time for everything.

The three big challenges we still have are: the global commercialization of agriculture by all the rural households that have land, job creation and value addition.  By addressing the issue of electricity and the roads, we are, indirectly, contributing to the solving of the problems of value addition and job creation.  The lower costs of transport and electricity will attract more industries which will in turn create jobs.

On the issue of the commercialization of agriculture in the rural areas, it is the duty of every household to do so according to the advice we gave you of selecting the most profitable activities (crops, livestock, fish rearing and apiary).  Here in the South-West, the recommended crops and activities are: clonal or arabica coffee (450 trees per acre), fruits (oranges, mangoes, pineapples, apples or grapes as the situation maybe), dairy farming, fish farming, apiary, potato-growing (Irish potatoes - emondi) and, of course, food growing (bananas, cassava, sweet-potatoes – ebitakuri), etc.  We are, slowly and within our means, going to promote irrigation in order to remove the problems created by the erraticness of the weather.  We have repaired Mobuku and Doho irrigation schemes; we are developing Olweny and the Agoro irrigation schemes; and we shall slowly promote micro-irrigation.

There has been a delay in the conclusion of the oil extraction and refining agreement with the oil companies ─ mainly, on the issue of whether to refine some of the oil or not and how much of it should be refined and how much should be exported.  We have concluded the extraction agreement with one Chinese company and we have invited proposals for the refinery.  When we start extracting and refining our oil and gas, it will address many of our infrastructure needs.  We are, finally, in position to start developing ─ gold, copper, phosphates, cement in Karamoja, etc.  There are even minerals like vermiculate whose great importance and scope we are beginning to understand.  The future is bright but we need more patriotism.

Today, we are very happy to have comrade General Armando Guebuza, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Mozambique and our long time comrade in the struggle.  As you know, it is FRELIMO that helped us, on Mwalimu Nyerere’s request, to train the nucleus of our Resistance Army.  The most useful was the group of the 28 cadres we trained in Montepuez between 1976 and 1978.  It is this group that helped us to build up the 9,000 fighters of the Western axis.  Many of these, eventually, joined NRA and became a nucleus of the present UPDF.  We salute the late Mwalimu Nyerere, the late President Samora Machel and the entire leadership of CCM and FRELIMO for this fraternal solidarity.  We shall never forget it.  Equally important is the role FRELIMO played in the liberation, not only of Mozambique, but of the wider Southern Africa.  By being the first liberation movement to defeat a European Colonial Army, only preceded by the defeat of the Italian colonial force by the Ethiopians, FRELIMO made a historic contribution to the African anti-colonial struggle.  FRELIMO had a direct role in the defeat of Ian Smith in Rhodesia, currently Zimbabwe by supporting ZANU.  The example of the defeat of the Portuguese in Mozambique and Angola inspired the students’ uprising of Soweto in 1976.  FRELIMO did not only liberate Mozambique, but was also, after ending the criminal RENAMO war, able to build the Mozambiquan economy.

The Mozambiquan economy has been growing at the rate of 7% per annum.  With their huge resources of gas, coal and other minerals, Mozambique will be a prosperous nation.  Comrade Guebuza, who is representing FRELIMO and Mozambique here today, has been there with FRELIMO as long as I have known the FRELIMO struggle.  He was for a long time the National Political Commissar of FRELIMO.  I salute his contribution to the Mozambiquan struggle as I do to that of President Chissano – following the death of President Samora and, earlier on, President Eduardo Mondlane.  I welcome His Excellency and his delegation to Uganda.

I thank and congratulate all the Ugandans on this 51st Anniversary.


9th October 2013                    -                  Rukungiri District

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