Museveni to Muslim leaders: A peaceful, stable Uganda is good for everyone

Vice President Jessica Alupo urged the Muslim community to continue embracing peace amongst themselves but also other religions.

SOROTI —Muslim leaders from Karamoja and Teso meeting in Soroti City have been asked to maintain peace because a peaceful and stable Uganda is good for everyone, regardless of tribe, religion, gender.

The leaders were commended for supporting the patriotic and Pan-African agenda of the NRM government, which aims at unifying the people of Uganda and Africa.

The remarks were made by President Museveni, in a speech read for him by Vice President Alupo, at the 2nd Annual Ateker Muslim foundation (AMDEF) which brought together over 200 Muslim leaders from Karamoja and Teso, in Soroti.

“I am happy to note the enthusiasm and determination of the Muslim Leaders in championing the fight against poverty and backwardness in their respective communities” President Museveni said.

He said that society is like a living organism which must undergo different forms of life to attain full maturity and productivity.

“In Biology, they use the word metamorphosis to describe the different changes that occur in the life of an insect. The problem of Uganda and other African societies is that they remained stagnant; they failed to achieve social metamorphosis from a subsistence-based peasant society to a skilled middle class one, such as those we find in Europe and the United States of America,” President Museveni explained.

He thanked AMDEF for organizing the convention for the Muslim leaders, and hailed them for the positive contribution to the peace, unity and development of Uganda.

He stressed the Importance of working with everybody, “as long as they respect and champion the legitimate interests of the people of Uganda and Africa.”

The legitimate interests, he said, include: jobs, electricity, schools, hospitals, roads, peace, security of persons and property, markets for their farm produce and industrial products and rallied them to continue implementing social uplift programmes that are geared towards integrating the 39% of the households still involved in subsistence farming into the money economy.

The President said Moneylessness can be eliminated by undertaking a profitable enterprise in one of the four sectors of: commercial agriculture, industries, services and ICT, especially with the necessary infrastructure to spur Uganda’s development and transformation already in place.

“Uganda boasts of tarmacked roads from border to border, enough electricity supply, an ICT backbone etc. However, this is not enough; in order to achieve total transformation of society, these infrastructure developments must be translated into jobs and wealth for the households,” he said, urging them not tolerate bystanders or spectators in the drive towards increasing the household incomes and creation of jobs.

The Vice President Jessica Alupo appealed to the Muslim community to embrace girl-child education.

“We should encourage the Muslim community to take children to school without discrimination including those with disability,” Alupo said.

She insisted that education is a tool that can be used to propel Muslim girls into key leadership positions.

The convention was organized under the theme: “Resource Mobilisation for Socio-economic Transformation of Society.”

She urged the Muslim community to continue embracing peace amongst themselves but also other religions.

She urged leaders to continue Mobilization of the Muslim community to embrace government programs especially those designed to alleviate poverty in households.

She assured the Muslim community that guidance was given by Cabinet to the Minister of Local Government and the one in charge of Emyooga programs, and minister of Finance to have discussions with the Muslim leadership to ensure that the issue of Interest Rates doesn’t constrain the Muslim community from participating in the Parish Development Model. This was in response to an earlier call, that the Quran doesn’t allow Muslims to take part in programs that generate interest.

She stressed that all government programs are supposed to be inclusive for all of us Ugandans. “The constitution of Uganda respects freedom of worship and government will not at anyone time constrain Muslims from enjoying that right and they should fully participate and benefit from government programs. It’s in the interest of government that we don’t violate the teachings of Islam”, she stressed, saying a win-win situation will be found.

The Vice President also pledged to rally support for the rehabilitation of the Soroti City Mosque which was built in 1952. Alupo who was previously fondly nicknamed Khadijah also promised to address issues of squatters on the Muslim land. She announced a pledge of UGX50m to the different Muslim SACCO groups.

The Deputy Mufti Sheikh Abdallah Semmambo explained that the Muslim convention was aimed at sharing experiences and explore administrative skills to help leaders in rendering services to communities.

He encouraged the Muslim leaders to advance their knowledge to concepts of management and administration especially in the academia to enhance their performance.

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