President Yoweri Museveni on Friday received and held a meeting with a 60-strong delegation of members of the Inter-Religious Council in Uganda, led by their Chairman, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje who is Chief Mufti of Uganda.
He told his guests that leadership entails caring about others.
The meeting was a follow-up on recent familiarization tour by the religious leaders to the Districts of Ibanda, Kiruhuura and Masaka that involved the monitoring of the NRM Government’s Operation Wealth Creation Programme.
“I am impressed with your enthusiasm and commitment to support the Government efforts towards poverty eradication in the country. Leadership is about caring for others. I launched the drive to eradicate poverty from Nyabushozi and the neighbouring area on the 25th December 1966. I started off by identifying the cause of nomadism among the people of the area. The first cause was the search for pasture and the second was to escape the dangers of ticks against the cattle. The solution was to ensure availability of pasture and effective control of ticks,” he said.
He informed his guests that by 1989 the NRM Government had succeeded with poverty eradication among the cattle keepers.
He, therefore, expressed conviction about finding a poverty solution for crop growers.
He said that in 1995/96 the Government launched the 4-acres agriculture production programme under which wananchi are encouraged to allocate an acre of land to coffee growing, another one acre to the cultivation of fruits, while the third acre should be dedicated to food crops and the fourth acre for pasture growing to facilitate zero grazing.
Mr. Museveni commended religious leaders for taking off time to tour various farmers who have been transformed through modern farming activities.
He expressed happiness that there are good working relations between them and the Government.
He reminded them that faith organizations are also affected by the poverty among their congregations adding that there is no way the development projects of religious groups can prosper when the followers are wallowing in poverty.
The President pledged to facilitate the Inter Religious Council with a budget of Shs.5 billion to facilitate the promotion of wealth creation among the believers.
He urged the religious leaders to lead the people by example and proposed that religious leaders should execute their wealth creation efforts through the Parishes set up by Government.
Mr. Museveni commended Kampala Archbishop, the Most Rev. Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga for establishing the Wekembe group in Luwero District under a model of a SACCO.
He expressed his conviction that progress would be recorded because the Government is working well with religious institutions in the country.
He called on the Members of Parliament to think more about the promotion and development of the welfare of 40 million Ugandans instead of working to increase their remunerations.
He stressed the crucial need to budget in a disciplined manner.
Mr. Museveni agreed to arrange a meeting with the Inter Religious Council three times a year and also agreed to a suggestion that official vehicles be purchased tax-free for religious institutions to enable them carry out pastoral work.
The President agreed to the request to convene a meeting of about 1,000 religious leaders in July this year to sensitize them on the Operation Wealth Creation programme.
The Inter-Religious Council Chairman, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje, on his part, saluted President Museveni for facilitating their recent tour of Ibanda, Kiruhuura and Masaka Districts recently and said it enlightened them over the means of eradicating poverty from wananchi.
He also echoed President Museveni’s call on the people to discard the negative practices of land fragmentation.
Sheikh Mubaje stressed the need to consolidate the prevailing peace in the country. He noted that agriculture is a game changer towards driving Uganda to a middle class income society.