President Yoweri Museveni has said that although the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government is a proven champion of religious freedoms in Uganda where everyone is free to worship and serve God, as they so wish, spiritual edification must be complimented by efforts to create wealth and jobs for the homesteads.
He says all believers should endeavor to join wealth creation simply because life has both spiritual and material needs where one cannot satisfy the spirit and starve the body.
“I want to use this occasion to rally the Muslim community to join the NRM’s wealth creation sensitization drive that I am currently conducting across the country. Whereas we can have spectators in sports and theatre, wealth creation must involve everyone,” H.E Museveni emphasized.
His remarks were contained in a speech delivered on his behalf by the Vice President Major (Rtd) Jessica Alupo Rose Epel during the Iftar dinner to the Muslim Community hosted at State House Entebbe on Friday evening.
It should be noted that early this year President Museveni embarked on an investment and wealth creation tour across the country starting with Acholi sub region and recently West Nile on the theme “securing your future through wealth creation and shared prosperity”.
According to H.E the President, in order to achieve happiness, both the spirit and the body must be fully catered for in terms of food, clothes, medicine, shelter etc., where in a modern economy, you cannot obtain the above without money because they have a monetary cost.
“Money-lessness in a modern economy is equivalent to social suicide. You cannot survive if you are not earning money. This is why we talk of eliminating subsistence farming i.e., the habit of working only for the stomach or food. A person who produces only for his or her own consumption has little output. Such a person cannot prosper because their labour is insufficient to ably provide all the necessities of life,” H.E Museveni added.
He said for instance, the 39% of the households still engaged in subsistence farming, producing only for the stomach, must be integrated into the money economy, to tap into their dormant potential.
“This is very dangerous for the country because it means that they cannot satisfy other needs that can only be obtained with money. Their productivity is very low. This results in low incomes and thus low purchasing power,” the President emphasized, adding that this condition must be addressed by having more people selecting viable enterprises in the four sectors of: commercial agriculture, industries, services and ICT.
Gen. Museveni says although the NRM has established the economic base for Uganda’s socio-economic transformation by prioritizing peace, security, infrastructure development and lobbying for access to regional and international markets, development alone is not enough, although it must come first. Development becomes useful when it is translated into jobs and wealth for the households.
“Therefore, I urge you all to take advantage of these positive conditions to create wealthy and prosperous families,” he noted.
The President congratulated the Muslim Community in Uganda for coming this far in the month of Ramadan and encouraged them to uphold the good deeds.
“It is my prayer that you continue upholding the virtues of discipline, humility and charity, which you have displayed during the fasting period. Your righteousness should not be limited only to the holy month of Ramadan; it should be part of you throughout,” he said.
The Vice President of Uganda Jessica Alupo on her own behalf also congratulated the Muslim community for nearing the end of the holy month and for always accepting and welcoming her as a messenger whenever the President sends her to them.
“I wish you to continue with the holy month of Ramadan successfully and peacefully,” the Vice President said.
The Mufti of Uganda, His Eminence Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje congratulated the Muslim community upon the peaceful fasting period and reaching the last 10 days of the holy month of Ramathan and thanked the President and the First lady for making it a culture of hosting Muslims during the holy month.
In a special way he thanked President Museveni for championing unity of the Muslim fraternity and his continuous support towards Uganda Muslim Supreme Council in reviewing their constitution and carrying out Uganda Muslim general elections from the grassroots to the national level, where thousands of qualified new Muslim leaders were elected including women, youth.
“On behalf of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council and the entire Muslim fraternity, I commend your unreserved contribution towards the unity of Muslims. I personally appreciate you for intervening and encouraging the Muslim unity of Uganda,” H.E Mubajje said, adding that among the new developments is the creation of a property trust which is an independent body established to supervise and develop Muslim properties in Uganda.
On poverty alleviation efforts in the country and other financial programs, the Mufti requested the President to consider operationalization of Islamic banking to allow inclusiveness of all people including the Muslims.
He assured the President of their full support as the Muslim fraternity and other religious denominations under the Interreligious Council of Uganda to conserve the values of Uganda and Africa by condemning Homosexuality.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa congratulated the Muslim community for sailing through the holy month of Ramadan peacefully and committed on behalf of Parliament of Uganda to support the President and government to create and expedite any enabling laws to support Muslim activities.
“I wish you a very good holy month and Ramadan Karim,” Tayebwa said.
The ceremony was attended by among others service chiefs; Major Gen Henry Mastiko who represented the chief of Defense Forces, representing CDF, the Deputy Commissioner General of Prisons Meet Samuel Akena who represented the Commissioner General of Prisons and Senior Commissioner of Police (SCP) Hadija Namutebi who represented the Inspector General of Police.
Others were; the Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, third Deputy Prime Minister without Portfolio Rukia Isanga Nakadama, the Minister of State for Veteran Affairs Hon. Huda Oleru, the Chairman of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) Dr Muhammad Lubega Kisambira, Muslim Leaders at all levels, Resident District commissioners, Presidential Advisors and representatives from government ministries, departments and agencies.
The ceremony also attracted the attendance of Ambassadors, High commissioners and dignitaries from Eritrea, Libya, Sudan, Turkey and Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Guinea, Chad, Nigeria and Iran.
Ramadan, which is a month-long observance of fasting for dawn to dusk is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan is also a time for self-reflection and spiritual growth where Muslims the period to repent and forgive those who wronged them.