President Yoweri Museveni has warned mayors and town clerks to stop politicking and focus on wealth creation.
The President was on Monday attending the Urban Authorities Association of Uganda meeting at Ntare School in Mbarara.
A total of 400 mayors and town clerks were present.
Museveni said local government leaders spend so much time on development (dongolobo) and forget wealth (lonyo).
“It is good to talk about roads, schools, health centers/ hospitals but you must dedicate more time on wealth creation.”
He said wealth is personal. “My shop, my factory, my goats, my cows. That is wealth.”
He noted that together with development and wealth is the question of jobs (tic).
“If you see a mayor associating himself with walk to work or other chaotic activities, you know he is useless.”
Without naming anyone or pointing fingers, Museveni emphasised that urban centres need kuc (peace).
He pointed out four ways to create wealth; citing the first as agriculture.
” In the case of urban areas, we can have peri-urban agriculture like mushroom growing, poultry, vegetable growing.”
Second is industries or factories and artisans.
The third way is through services like shops, clinics, law firms and the fourth being ICT through telephones, computers.
There’s also public service. It is not very active in wealth creation, but it’s a good start, he observed.
“I also want to point out that several towns have been developed in a distorted way. They are just shops selling threads, kerosene, cooking oil, sugar, each shop with two girls.”
He said there was need to reverse these units from shopping towns to industrial towns.
Jinja had started well but did not progress, he said, adding that shopping towns can’t employ many people compared to industrial towns.
“Take Mbarara town. It used to have a population of 50-60,000 but now has 240,000. All those need jobs yet Mbarara has shops, shops and shops.”
He encouraged mayors to ensure there’s clean, affordable water for the poor urban.
“Towns should also be lit, proper street lights and have ICT hubs. You may not do it in one year but in a phased manner.”
He added: “Plan your streets, have clear demarcation for building, try and have order.”