President Yoweri Museveni has reiterated his call to all church leaders in the country to intensify the sensitization to the masses on the fight against poverty and its eradication from homesteads.
“As leaders, we must give equal opportunity to everybody. In the Bible, it is written that seek yee first the kingdom of heaven and the rest will be added unto you. But when I am talking about poverty eradication I say “seek yee wealth first and the rest will be easy; even the church will benefit through offertory,” he observed.
The President made the call yesterday while he and his wife, Mrs. Janet Museveni, were hosting Bishops from various dioceses of Uganda who were led by the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, who called on him at his country home at Rwakitura in Kiruhuura district.
The clerics, who were accompanied by their spouses, were on a familiarization tour of model farmers in Masaka and Kiruhuura districts who have successfully adopted modern commercial agriculture and earn huge sums of money monthly and annually.
President Museveni told the clerics the genesis of his fight against poverty in his home area that started in the 1960s during his student days where he successfully changed the mindset of the people by teaching them to abandon nomadic life in favour of settled cattle keeping.
“Most of the farmers you visited this morning were nomadic because leaders by then had not discovered the causes of their nomadic life that included the rampant tick bone diseases, lack of pasture and water. So we taught them to spray their cattle, diseases disappeared and the number of cows increased,” he said.
The President noted that their sensitization programme, which was interrupted by past regimes, was resumed in 1986 and the challenge then was to teach farmers to move from indigenous Ankole cattle that require huge chunks of land to Friesian cows that can be reared in small pieces of land yet yield a lot of milk.
Mr. Museveni informed them that another challenge today is to diversify farming activities of the people of the area to include the growing of fruits and keeping chicken for eggs, among others.
The President further urged the Bishops to discourage, in the strongest terms, land fragmentation that stems from the archaic cultural practice of inheritance.
He advised that profits from the consolidated land should be shared among family members but not sub-diving land.
The Arch-bishop of Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, assured President Museveni that as clerics, they were already on the direction of economic empowerment of the people.
He pledged to intensify the poverty eradication drive.
“I want to assure you that we are already converted in the direction of economic empowerment of our people. We shall take it up as your messengers of development,” he stressed.
Those present included the Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese, the Most Rev. Paul Bakyenga.