New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Museveni to Consult On Pardoning Deserters

Determined to implement income-generating projects for all veterans, President Yoweri Museveni has said he will consult over forgiving army deserters who remain loyal and law abiding citizens involved in private projects.

The President was on Monday reacting to issues raised by the chairman of the Kabalega zone, Kariste Balamaga, who urged him to support both veterans, who left honourably and former fighters involved in private economic projects.

Balamaga particularly requested the President to assist those who fought under the Kabalega group to enable them realise their plan to run a tractor scheme to promote their agricultural ventures.

"Who am I to refuse to forgive army deserters?" the President asked, adding that unlike past ventures when the Government focused on infrastructure development like roads and electricity and supporting a few individuals, the new social economic projects will be community owned.

He made the declaration yesterday while addressing a public rally in Naluvule, Kapeeka county in Nakaseke district.

The President also launched a massive poverty eradication campaign involving senior army officers in former NRM operational areas to reinforce efforts for eradicating poverty among veterans.

He appointed Lt. Col. Moses Kiwanuka as a zonal commander to head the fight against poverty in Kabalega zone, which covers areas within Naluvule sub-county, Kapeeka county in Nakaseke.

The zonal commanders will work under the overall supervision of Gen. Salim Saleh, who is deputised by Brig. Proscovia Nalweyiso. The introduction of the renowned officer drew applause from the crowd.

President Museveni revealed that when the NRM came to power, it enabled the people to elect their leaders from the grassroots so that they may co-ordinate them into solving the various challenges.

He said he resolved to go back to the divisions/zones, which facilitated the liberation struggle and use the same approach in promoting efforts to eliminate poverty among veterans.

"This time, we should do what we did during the war. I want to guide you. If you have four acres, we would like you to have one acre of improved coffee, one acre of fruits and one acre of banana. The rest can be for elephant grass for zero grazing cattle," the President, who later addressed NRM army veterans at Kikandwa Memorial Primary School, said.

The President, who also commissioned two houses for the late Mulyanti's family and that of the late Bomboka, both war veterans said the Government is determined to build a primary school in every parish, a senior secondary schools in all sub counties and a technical school in every constituency.

Museveni also revealed that he was forced to re enforce the poverty fight among veterans after several people ambushed him after the Heroes day celebrations at Butalangu in Nakaseke recently.

To create awareness about the veterans poverty eradication campaign, the President will tour Luwero, Mukono, Kayunga, Tooro, Mpigi, Mityana, Nakasongola, Kibaale, Kiboga and Wakiso districts.

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