Gen Salim Saleh recognised with the Uganda Responsible Investment Mark of Excellence for Fighting Household Poverty and promoting Household Income in Uganda
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Gen Salim Saleh-Caleb Akandwanaho is a recipient of the Uganda Responsible Investment Mark of Excellence as the 2020/2021 Uganda Poverty Alleviation and Wealth Creation Champion. He was declared the Uganda Poverty Alleviation and Wealth Creation Champion by Public Opinions on 31st March 2021 during an award ceremony presided over by H.E Massimilliano Mazzanti the Ambassador of Italy to Uganda and H.E Dr Patrick Bitature Chairman of the Simba Group of Companies.
Gen Saleh is an NRA Protracted Liberation war Hero and one of the most admired and cherished high ranking military official in Uganda. He is a founder member of the Joint Clinical research Centre as well as the Founder and chief promoter of Operations wealth Creation which was launched by H.E the President in July 2013 as an intervention to efficiently facilitate national socio-economic transformation, with a focus on raising household incomes and wealth creation by transforming subsistence farmers into commercial farmers to end poverty.
Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho was born on 14th January 1960) and is now a retired Ugandan military officer. He is currently the Senior Presidential Advisor to the President on military matters and Chief Coordinator of Operations Wealth Creation (OWC). He served as Minister of State for microfinance from 2006 to 2008.
In 1976, aged 16, he left Kako Secondary School in Masaka to join the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) which was a Tanzania-based rebel group formed and led by his brother Yoweri Museveni to fight against the regime of Idi Amin to Liberate the people of Uganda. Together with his friend Fred Rwigyema and his brother Museveni, he trained in Mozambique with Samora Machel's FRELIMO rebels. It was there that he adopted Salim Saleh as his nom de guerre. In 1978, FRONASA merged with other anti-Amin groups in Tanzania and formed the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) who together with Tanzanian armed forces captured Kampala in April 1979 sending Idi Amin into exile. Saleh was later made a platoon commander of a UNLA unit in Moroto District. Following the bitterly contested December 1980 elections, Museveni declared an armed protracted Liberation struggle the Government of Milton Obote.
Salim Saleh joined the National Resistance Army that would last until 1986. In January 1986, Salim Saleh commanded NRA's assault on Kampala which eventually led to the demise of Tito Okello's regime with Museveni becoming President. NRA became the National Army, with Salim Saleh as a commanding officer, General Elly Tumwine as the Army Commander and Museveni as the Commander-in-chief.
Salim Saleh proceeded to command an army division against rebel groups that were remnants of the UNLA, including Uganda People's Democratic Army (UPDA) in northern parts of the country. He was instrumental in working out a peace deal with the UPDA. He has since been committed to social economic transformation of all communities in Northern Uganda.
Gen.Saleh succeeded Elly Tumwine as Army Commander in 1987, and held the post until 1989.He later became the senior presidential advisor on defence and security (1996–1998) and the commander of the army's Reserve Force (1990–2001) involved in resettling army veterans of the NRA Bush War.
In 2005, Salim Saleh, then a Lieutenant General, was one of the pioneer class to graduate from the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College at Kimaka in Jinja. Following that course, he was promoted to the rank of General in the UPDF.Prior to the 2006 General Elections, Salim Saleh went back to school and obtained an A-level certificate, the minimum requirement to become a member of Parliament of Uganda. Following the elections, he was appointed Minister of State for Microfinance.
A HOLIDAY TRIP THAT TURNED INTO A REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE- AS NARRATED BY GEN SALIM SALEH IN 2013
I had just completed the second term in senior one at Kako Secondary School. I was 16 years of age in the year 1976. My sister Violet Kajubiri, then a teaching assistant at Makerere, insisted that I go to Kampala for holidays.
Upon reaching Makerere, I was pleasantly surprised by violet who had organized a trip for me to visit my brother (now President Yoweri Museveni) in Moshi, Tanzania. She brought a ticket to Nairobi and I boarded the Akamba bus for my first visit outside the boarders of Uganda. Little did I know that this trip would be the beginning of my participation in the struggle that would liberate Uganda.
In Nairobi, I was received by a private contact, a gentleman called Kajungu, who facilitated my trip to Tanzania. When I arrived in Tanzania, Mzee (President Yoweri Museveni) encouraged me to join a group that he had sent to Mozambique for training. I think Mzee had agreed with Violet and they had mooted a plan without consulting my parents. He was concerned about my security in Uganda and contended that the circumstances were not conducive for me to study, that is was better for me to struggle against the regime than to pursue a bleak future. After all, the dictatorship of the day was aware that he was organizing and mobilizing to fight it.
Whereas I was a aware of the suffering Amin’s regime had unleashed upon Ugandans, I did not appreciate military and political struggles. In fact at 16, my appreciation of economic struggles was also dismal. As such, my most cherished dream at that age was to be the first man to shoot at Amin, the man I knew to be Uganda’s major problem. Moreover I didn’t find the studies I had been compelled to undertake very appealing. I was delighted to have been availed the opportunity to abandon seemingly fruitless pursuits of education for more exciting roles. Destroy led me to Mozambique, where, together with other combatants, we were trained in revolutionary warfare.
Therefore, the foundation of my views on several issues bears root in the experience in Mozambique and it influences and informs my opinion and decisions to-date. We studied Walter Rodney, ‘How Europe Under developed Africa’, ‘Dogs of War’, and several other inspiring ones. Mzee had formed the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), one of the fighting groups based in Tanzania to overthrow the dictatorship. As the momentum against the Idi Amin dictatorship mounted, I became actively involved in combat alongside the Tanzanian Army although Mzee preferred to keep me away from direct fighting on account of my tender age.
I was assigned Liaison Officer for FRONASA and eventually Battalion Commander of the Red Army. Amin had provoked the Tanzanians by invading Kagera River Basin, an opportunity Mzee took advantage of to fight on. Amin eventually lost power in 1979.
At this point in time, I was still not well informed about politics and other socio-economic matters. The overthrow of Idi Amin was very fulfilling for me. I believed that the major problem was now solved and that it was up to the politicians and the professionals to clear up the political and socio-economic mess created by Idi Amin. But alas, this expectation did not materialize, for some countrymen were still interested in maintaining the status quo for selfish and parochial ends. The Obotes were later to hijack the revolution. I therefore realized that my earlier dream of eliminating Amin was indeed a dream, an oversimplification of a much broader political problem. The Amins and Obotes were a creation of the ignorance that our society was embedded in and the colonial set-up that had provided a fertile ground upon which such rulers emerged and thrived. It was therefore our duty to re-direct the cause and break the ground that enabled such a monstrous system to exist.
After the overthrow of Amin’s dictatorship the Red Army was disbanded and I was deployed to Mubende as a Recruit Instructor. Although I was bitter about the demotion from Commander of a Battalion to instructor, I took the opportunity to regularize my position in the Ugandan Army (the UNLA). I was selected to undergo a senior Non-commissioned Officers’ course (NCO’s) in Jinja, upon completion of which I was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in 1980 by the former President, H.E Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa. However, Oyite Ojok, then serving as chief of staff of UNLA, deployed me to Moroto in Karamoja as a tactic to scatter FRONASA forces into disarray. FRONASA had been identified as a patriotic force and a potential threat to the regime. Therefore, the plan was to post us very far away from Kampala.
JOINING THE NATIONAL RESISTANCE STRUGGLE
After the 1980 elections were rigged, Mzee decided to wage war against the regime. He formed the Popular Resistance Army (PRA) that was later named the National Resistance Army (NRA) to struggle for a fundamental change that would guarantee the freedom of Ugandans.
On February 6, 1981, Tarehe Sita now marked yearly as a public holiday in Uganda, the Popular Resistance Army led by Mzee, composed of twenty-seven lightly armed men and a number of others without arms attacked Kabamba school of Infantry. I, however, learnt of the attack on Kabamba by the twenty-seven comrades from BBC Focus on Africa radio program at Kidepo National Park in North Eastern Uganda, where I had been posted.
Before I left to Kidepo, I saw many unexplained movements of vehicles in Moroto. The late Lt. Fred Rubereza was in charge and all pointers indicated that they were organizing. Whenever I asked him what was taking place and even offered my services to escort anything from Kenya to Uganda, he declined and said, “they would not trust me with the work”. The organization was very cautious and I think it was decided that it was risky to tell me about the move to the bush, on grounds that I was considered careless and adventurous. When l eventually got to know from BBC, I was dumb-founded to learn from the late Rubereza that he, all along had known what was happening!
In the same year, Oyite Ojok arrested me on trumped up charges of stealing a sweater for which I was sent to Moroto Prison. I was later given bail by a sympathetic magistrate called Otim but at the instigation and facilitation of Dora (Mrs. Pecos Kutesa), Lt. Wamala Katumba (nowa General) and other little girl, a sister of Lt. Dampa. We boarded a truck to Kampala and hid in a house in Bugolobi that was later destroyed by the UNLA. Gen.Wamala Katumba guided my escape to Matugga from where I joined the National Resistance Army struggle for freedom.
The revolutionary conviction and the comradeship experienced during the struggle of NRA were exceptional. The sacrifices we endured during the period were very soulful, as was the demise of both combatants and civilians. We faced what seemed an impossible mission, with an onerous and daunting task of capturing state power.
The patriotic spirit we had imbibed in Mozambique, the conviction our cause was right and achievable and the popular support of the masses illuminated in us the consciousness that the sacrifices we were undergoing were justified. Indeed in 1986 we were able to capture state power. I commanded the first mobile division that captured Kampala. In the same year, I was appointed Chief of Combat Operations of the NRA up to 1989 when at the age of 29, I was appointed Army Commander.
Destiny had determined my career as a revolutionary freedom fighter in 1976 and I had taken part in several victories registered in landmark battles. The population accorded me respect arising from this contribution they considered heroic. Even when I was at the pinnacle of power and had all material benefits a person could have, I remained very concerned about the poverty and the suffering many Ugandans were going through. Each passing day, I received many people seeking financial assistance, several of them with genuine cases.
I have a strong sense of feeling for others and always hoped for the day I would actively contribute to the improvement of the standards of living of fellow citizens.
Today, I am glad that after my patriotic struggles for a fundamental change that has guaranteed the freedom of Ugandans, I am now in the lead of transforming our society by improving their household incomes through Operation Wealth Creation. I appeal to fellow countrymen to support this noble cause for the good of all Ugandans. With the guaranteed peace and security across the country, improvement of the standards of living of fellow citizens will have answered my life time dream.
For God and My Country.
GEN. CALEB AKANDWANAHO-SALIM SALEH
WHAT IS OPERATION WEALTH CREATION (OWC)
Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) was launched by H.E the President in July 2013 as an intervention to efficiently facilitate national socio-economic transformation, with a focus on raising household incomes and wealth creation by transforming subsistence farmers into commercial farmers to end poverty. This was after successful implementation with tangiblle outcomes of the pilot program launched to support Civilian-Veterans in the “Luwero-Rwenzori Triangle”
- To mobilize the masses to engage in commercial agricultural activities to boost household incomes.
- To distribute production inputs equitably and timely to boost production and productivity at household level.
- To facilitate rural technological upgrading to allow smallholder farmers to transform themselves into small-scale industrialists;
- To stimulate local and community enterprise development across the country; and
- To facilitate infrastructure development particularly in rural areas.
- To empower the 68% of the population outside the money economy.
Phase 1: Mobilization and deployment to ensure our farmers and the masses at large are sensitized to adapt to new farming methods with total mindset change to enable them earn to achieve economic social transformation of the vision 2040. This is now ongoing. This phase ended in July 2017.
Since 2015, officers have been deployed in all the 112 districts, constituencies, including KCCA and municipalities.
Several inputs (seeds, seedlings, livestock, poultry etc), Value addition and mechanization equipment and technologies have been distributed and embraced overwhelmingly.
Phase 2: Stabilization of phase 1 efforts and to ensure policy change, make possible measures to acquire all identified gaps which could corrupt the system or allow saboteurs to reverse our achievements in phase 1 as discussed above.
Phase 3: Consolidation. Will now ensure that the masses embrace the most economic gains and guard it jealously to avoid possible negative influence that could derail these great achievements. Operations would also widen and deepen it to create popularity from within and beyond our borders to attract direct investors to increase opportunities to our new graduates. Establish skilling institutions to warrant sustainability for assured bright future of wealth beyond vision 2020.
Phase 4. Exit Strategy. Is to create a conducive environment to allow smooth hand over to the patriots.
- We have created debate on service delivery approaches including use of the private sector in the agricultural sector development. The arguments are constructive and better results are expected in the near future.
- We have identified the existing gaps for instance inadequate policy framework and regulation in the sector which will help to provide targeted interventions in agriculture.
- We have increased interaction between government and the people; 6.2 million Ugandans have responded to OWC and are eager to participate. Many make requests for inputs and value addition equipment which are inadequate in quantities.
- Together with NAADS, OWC has embarked on mobilizing stakeholders in the sector to build value chain platforms e.g. The fruit sector platform, the coffee sector platform and organic farmer’s platform etc. Such platforms have improved farmers bargaining power, knowledge, market search and also strengthened their voice in demanding and accessing for better services.
- OWC has facilitated and participated in progressive debates in the agriculture sector towards increased productivity and growth. In collaboration with partners and universities, OWC has engaged in a number of studies whose findings can contribute to policy.
The Future of OWC
We have identified the major challenges that Uganda faces as:
a. How to convert agriculture into a high value sector, raise productivity, increase number of Ugandans engaged in commercialized agriculture, and increase house hold incomes.
b. How to expedite conversion of people from basic agriculture to industry and service sectors.
c. How to facilitate structural transformation of the economy to create more jobs for the thousands of young people that graduate from education institutions every year.
d. How to improve export performance to boost the value of the shilling to
international currencies. To address these challenges, we need to promote market demand-driven agricultural production. “Demand Creates Supply”.
This calls for stabilization of farm-gate prices, reduction of post-harvest losses, and value addition. These interventions will provide the incentive to peasants to raise productivity. Well-structured agro-processing will help achieve these goals.
On a broader scale, we need to squarely face the effects of Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) on the command, control, coordination and communication (the 4Cs) of the development process in Uganda.
Effective coordination of all government agencies involved in the agricultural value chain and the development process at large is crucial to the pursuit of socio-economic transformation hence the Uganda Development Forum (UDF).
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