Thousands of supporters lined Kabale streets on Saturday to welcome President Museveni in the region.
Museveni, who is seeking re-election, was in Kabale District to interface with the party leaders from greater Kigezi.
Unlike in many instances when the president’s security detail has kept supporters away from the presidential candidate, this time round they overpowered his guards.
Special Forces personnel spent hours trying to clear the way for Museveni’s convoy as jubilant fans danced in the road.
Museveni waved at the crowds, signaling to them to social distance to prevent further spread of Covid-19.
The pandemic has been a major focus for the president.
The NRM supporters asked Museveni to step out of the car to address them, requests he turned down.
Area lawmaker and Minister David Bahati said the enthusiastic reception of President Museveni in the area was impressive.
“It’s really great,” said Bahati.
Edwin Asiimwe, a shopkeeper in Kabale Town said he has not seen such huge crowds lining up the streets to welcome any politician in a long time.
“It is really massive. We are going to get new roads to facilitate movement of goods from our villages to Kabale Town. Our roads have been dusty,” Asiimwe added.
Addressing party leaders at a small campaign meeting, Museveni said the region is “sufficiently serviced with good motorable roads and electricity which are a good foundation for development.”
Museveni said with a large percentage of “our people engaged in agriculture, adding value to what is produced here is key. We are increasing the number of tea processing factories and we will be setting up machinery to process other products.”
While South western Uganda is endowed with high quality iron ore deposits, it’s yet to be fully exploited due to lack of raw materials such as coal or natural gas.
For instance, a total of 318 million tonnes of iron ore was discovered in Rutenga, Kabale and Muko in southwestern Uganda.
New discoveries have also been made in Kanungu, Buhara (Kabale district) and Mayuge districts an estimated total reserve of 200 million tonnes.
Iron ore is a crucial in making iron and steel products – which are majorly used in construction, electrical appliances and cars among others – and the back borne of industrialization.
In his manifesto, Museveni said in the short term, working with the private sector, Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) will provide a dedicated ship to transport coal from Tanzania to Uganda to support local production of liquid steel.
He also pledged to reduce transportation of the iron ore from Muko and other mines to factory for processing. Iron ore is a heavy mineral to transport and thus it has to be processed near the mines.
“In the medium term, government will develop the natural gas pipeline from Tanzania to Uganda to support local production of liquid steel,” the president’s Manifesto reads in part.
“A strong integrated iron and steel industry will not only facilitate industrial take-off in the country but also lead to saving of forex expenditure, increase employment opportunities and form a strong basis to support the growth of other sectors through forward-back ward linkages,” reads the manifesto.
Addressing the people of Kabale on Saturday, Museveni said plans are under way to set up factories to exploit minerals like wolfram and tin deposits at Muko and other places which he said will solve the nagging problem of lack of jobs.
“For those with small land holdings, my advise is to use the 4 acre model -(fruits, dairy farming, food for home consumption and a cash crop per acre), which has proved a sure way of generating income for house holds,” he emphasised.
In the 2016 elections, Museveni won with 65% of the total vote count while his arch rival Dr Kizza Besigye cake second with 32.5%.