President Yoweri Museveni has commended the people of Acholi for fighting and defeating warlord Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), paving way for development.
Museveni explained that it was the Acholi’s unwavering cooperation with the national army that made it possible for the government to eliminate the rebels.
It was such kind of sacrifice that has seen the rest of Uganda peaceful, added Museveni.
“I salute you for fighting and defeating Kony, and weeding out lawlessness of the rebels from your area,” said Museveni.
“It was due to your cooperation and desire for peace that dealt a blow the insurgency,” said the NRM Chairman. The whole of Uganda is safe due to your sacrifice.”
Museveni’s message was delivered by his Senior Presidential Advisor and Personal Assistant Milly Babirye Babalanda at an orientation meeting for the president’s campaign coordinators in Gulu on September 15.
Museveni further remarked that he and his Government have no problem with Acholi but the only obstacle that was there was Kony and his LRA rebellion.
“Kony was just bad as an individual and hurt his own kinsmen but we defeated him. How would he have acted beyond?”
He expressed deep sympathy for Acholi for the numerous lives lost and general disruption of livelihoods during the insurgency and asked participants to observe a moment of silence for those that lost lives during the two decades of war.
He also reminded them that out of 34 years of NRM, 20 were lost in a state of war, hence it’s now time to take charge and propel the region to catch up with the rest of the country as far as development is concerned.
“It took two decades to achieve liberation here. We should, together, work to recover the lost years and surpass ordinary targets in transformation.”
Museveni further asked the Acholi to fully embrace the government’s gospel on prosperity and economic transformation since the war at hand now is that against poverty.
He expressed unshakable belief and confidence in the people of Acholi’s ability to easily deliver victory on this particular front due to their charisma and commitment.
“And it is very easy to win if Acholi, a well known energetic and passionate people, can listen to our gospel of prosperity. The good thing is that you still have land. Government is helping through Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and other interventions in operation countrywide,” Museveni said.
General Museveni equally advised them to utilise the sugar factory in Amuru which is creating jobs, buying their sugarcane and paying taxes to government.
He also advised them to leverage on the newly elevated Gulu City as a springboard for development by wooing both local and foreign investors.
Museveni further urged them to make use of Elegu border point in Amuru to tap into the South Sudan market.
“Use the Elegu border point to connect opportunities. Use the good road network to promote commerce. NRM guarantees peace and nobody will ever destroy the peace in Acholiland again. The opposition cannot help you at all in the new phase where you are now positioned.”
Going forward, Museveni appealed to the Acholi to vote NRM leaders at all levels who will connect directly with decision makers so as to tap resources for the area.
He noted the presence of children of Acholi in the central Government and ruling party, including the Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah (who was chief guest at the training), the Chief Justice, Alphonse Owin-Dollo, Deputy Secretary General of NRM Richard Todwong and other prominent leaders hailing from here.
“NRM is for total reconciliation, unity and equitable access to opportunities to serve.”
Disaster Preparedness and refugees Minister Eng Hilary Onek, who also graced the occasion, implored his kinsmen not to lose focus due to the numerous lies from forces hostile to government intended to taint its image, asserting that it’s now time for the North to receive from government what they missed during the 20 years of unrest.
After the training, Babalanda commissioned the coordinators to comb the ground and mobilise for Museveni’s reelection in next year’s elections, challenging them to deliver a victory much bigger than than seen on the past occasions Museveni has been winning.