President Yoweri Museveni has urged cultural leaders and cultural institutions in the country to keep off politics, but rather endeavour to promote unity, togetherness and co-existence of all tribes and people of Uganda.
The President added that cultural leaders and institutions should desist from meddling in politics because they are supposed to be symbols of unity for all Ugandans. He stressed that culture is important in our daily life but it must be exercised without interfering with the rights and freedoms of others. He further underscored the necessity of culture embracing modernity and not to live in the past. He said that modern life has modern demands that can only be answered by adapting to modernity. He cited the need to embrace science and technology, industrialisation and quality education.
“Africa, with its rich culture, remained behind other continents and was colonised because of lacking science and technology and not being industrialised. Industries generate goods, income and employment and I salute investors like Amina Mogul, the proprietor of the Amuru sugar factory, who will make a great impact in the Acholi sub-region,” he said.
The President made the remarks on Saturday while addressing the annual 3-day Acholi Cultural Festival that kicked off on the 14th of this month at Kaunda Grounds in Gulu Municipality in Northern Uganda.
He reminded cultural leaders and institutions that all tribes and people of Uganda need each other adding that it was wrong for cultural institutions to promote unnecessary hatred and conflicts among Ugandans all in the name of promoting culture.
Museveni said that culture and cultural institutions should be cherished and preserved because they are people’s heritage as they safeguard our languages and norms but added that they should not be abused to be a basis of spreading conflict among Ugandans as it has been in some parts of Uganda.
“People in Tororo had organised a cultural function but it almost ended up in bloodshed because of unnecessary tribal conflicts. We can’t promote conflicts because of culture,” he said.
Museveni further emphasized that cultural institutions must teach the people the importance of living a health life, especially the youth, and reminded them to appreciate the fact that that health is wealth.
“I am 73 years but I have managed to do all I have done because I cared more about my life. I was here 52 years ago to play cricket and came back in the 70s and later in the 80s and fought so many battles here and am here today because I cared about my life and health,” he said.
The President noted that cultural or any form of leadership is meaningless if the people that they lead are enslaved in poverty. He, therefore, urged political, cultural and religious leaders to take it upon themselves to sensitise the masses on how to generate household income and get rid of poverty.
The Acholi cultural institution’s Prime Minister, Mr. Ambrose Olaa, reported that the annual Acholi Cultural Festival is organised to reflect and promote the Acholi culture and heritage as well as promotion of the Sub-Region’s tourism potential. He added that the event is also meant to educate the young generation about the Acholi culture and to recognise the efforts of the current and past leaders of the Acholi who have done much in the promotion and preservation of the Acoli culture and heritage