Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has cautioned the youth against walk to work protests and being idle saying they must think through their actions.
He called on them to shun sectarianism, saying people who talk to them about tribalism and religious differences are enemies of development.
Speaking during the launch of the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) at Kololo ceremonial grounds on Friday, the President called on the youth not to just pick words but savor the more serious meaning of social economic transformation saying the challenge now is to metamorphosis from a traditional way of living to a middle class.
He also urged them to strengthen their ideological orientation.
“Youth need to have spectacles to see the economic opportunities available. The wealth of a country is not in its stones (minerals) but in the people (labour and entrepreneurship). You have to work towards joining the money economy (economics of profit) as employed salaried staff or as self employed staff earning an income,” he said citing the example of the crocodile farm in Katebo, Buwama, along Masaka road started by Uganda Crocs and jointly managed by a Ugandan national and Zimbabwe expatriate which he says has been turned into a wealth creation venture.
“Crocodiles have been eating us since time memorial. It took people from Zimbabwe who saw an opportunity to rear them and create wealth for us here; we were asleep. We should train people in entrepreneurship and build a class which can build jobs,” he said.
The President said the delivery mechanism of funds to the youth has been one of the biggest challenges because the money has been there but it was a problem getting it to the youth to empower them to generate incomes.
“I have been told that the youth capital fund and graduate venture fund are difficult to access because of conditionalities; as a result very few youth access it. The Youth program is by a demand driven modality with transparent method of selecting beneficiaries and releases will be based on a revolving basis and will not attract interest until after one year where they have to pay 5 percent charge to cater for inflation. This is a more friendly mechanism which should be used to create wealth through sustainable production,” he said.
“Those are parasites to keep you in those groups so that they get something from you. Uganda is able to help in South Sudan and Somalia because the UPDF has overcome that confusion. What is important in the army is if you shoot straight. When we spend on infrastructure development we create a base for business to grow,” he said.
He also urged religious leaders to wake up their faithful and rally them for development saying that they must be examples to the people to build their country. The programme which is anchored on four important policies including the NRM Manifesto 2011-2016, National Development Plan, National Employment Policy and the Social Development Investment Plan is budgeted at Shs.53 billion annually and covers youth leaders nationally.
According to the Minister of State for Youth, Ronald Kibuule, all the youth from the 11 districts will each get a motorcycle for administrative and mobilization purposes while the youth at all the 1360 sub counties will each get a bicycle. Various other equipment, including computers, have also been procured under the programme.
The National Youth Chairperson, Samuel Kavuma, hailed President Museveni for his sustained fight against unemployment among the youth and for standing up as an icon of development.
“As a strategic partner, friend and father of young people in this nation, your efforts and steps to fight unemployment is commendable. You have demonstrated that the NRM Party is indeed a Party committed to the future of our young people,” he said. He commended the President for the Youth Livelihood Programme saying it is an appropriate and well thought out intervention to empower young people and has ably addressed the weaknesses in the previous interventions. He called for increased funding to the project.
The ceremony was attended by various Ministers, youth from all the districts of Uganda and members of Parliament.
Adapted From Sarah Kagingo’s Facebook Wall
She is the Special Presidential Assistant on Communications