“If you don’t Recognize People who do Well, then you Let Down Society ” – President Museveni

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said people who contribute to the development of a society should be remembered and appreciated. 

“I want to salute Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo and his group for remembering to do this and following it up. I normally support them, but they are the ones who brought the idea and pushed it. I thank them because if you don’t recognize people who do well, then you let down society because if the ones who do well are not remembered and appreciated, you may create a situation where people don’t bother to excel in doing well,” he said. 

The President made the remarks on Thursday 28th March, 2024 during the Elders Mentorship/Leadership Awards luncheon 2024, held at State House Entebbe. 

The awarding ceremony was organised by the Office of the Senior Presidential Advisor on Special Duties, headed by Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo, who also serves as the Chairperson of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID). The ceremony ran under the theme: “Modelling the right behaviour for the youth of Africa in the 21st Century”.

The Elders Mentorship/Leadership Awards aim to recognize individuals who have shown exceptional service and leadership in their respective fields, making a significant positive impact on Uganda’s development. At the event, at least 16 elders were recognized for their immense role in the development of the country. 

This ceremony also provided an opportunity to pay tribute to the late Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, the former Speaker of Parliament for his dedication and commitment to public service.

The President congratulated the awardees for their contribution towards the development of the country. 

President Museveni further explained that to get the accurate mentorship, people must first understand the story of nature and society as well as the story of the human being as the primary changer of society. 

“Advancement of science and technology is the primal of social change. In advanced societies, man is able to tame nature. Therefore, in your mentorship you must clarify the role of science and technology in any society to deal with the issue of oppression of man by nature,” he advised the organisers. 

“As you mentor the young people, it is very important that you get this story of the human race so that they know where we belong. The starting point of mentoring is getting an accurate understanding of the human story of society and nature.”

President Museveni also revealed that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government has been able to make progress because it accurately diagnosed the society and came up with the solution to the problems of Ugandans. 

“Mentorship means accurate diagnosis of society, history and nature of the universe. Then you add in discipline. If you are disciplined on the wrong line, you will not get results. The NRM government has been able to make some progress because of that. That is why we have been able to bring stability. We were able to reject the politics of identity, we said this is not what you want, what you need is to solve people’s needs and to solve them better you need a united Uganda, a United East Africa and a united Africa. Then, you can add discipline,” he said. 

“Once you have got a correct analysis which people call vision, you add discipline, you will be able to make a correct contribution. Spirituality is also very crucial because it adds to the discipline; it makes people know that there’s a superior force that is looking at what we are doing.”

On the other hand, the President disclosed that the late Oulanyah was a good Cadre who listened to the message of the NRM government that enabled him to turn out to be one of the top leaders in the country before his demise. 

“You remember he started off from UPC, but when he listened to the message of the NRM he was honest enough to say that I think these people are right. He was able to listen intellectually to what we were saying, and he was persuaded by the accuracy of what we were describing and eventually joined the NRM and became very prominent in the party; that is how he ended up becoming the Speaker which is position number 3 in the whole country after President and Vice President,” President Museveni said. 

“Oulanyah was able to do what he did because of a correct vision and if you all follow what we have been saying, the country will move very first because we have got everything here, but the main problem has been what should be done and why; you find people doing things which are not answering that question. What is the correct thing to do? We have told you about the commercialization of Agriculture with “ekibaro”, industries and artisanship, services and ICT.”

The Vice President, H.E Jessica Alupo congratulated the awardees upon receiving recognition for their fundamental role in the socio-economic transformation of Uganda. 

“Your Excellency the theme of today’s ceremony resonates very well with what you are known for in the African Union, i.e. the champion of integration because the theme underscores the role of the youth in the transformation of the African Continent,” H.E Alupo said. 

Delivering his keynote speech, the Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives of Ethiopia, Hon. Tagesse Chafo Dullo, conveyed greetings from the people of Ethiopia to the President and people of Uganda.

“We are brothers and sisters from another mother. Allow me to extend my sincere appreciation to the people and government of Uganda for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to me and my delegation,” he said. 

Hon. Chafo also thanked President Museveni and his government for establishing a national platform to recognise public servants who have served their country with integrity and courage that the future generation of this great country will undoubtedly look up to for the modelling of a character. 

“We must empower and pave a way for the African youth to assume their rightful positions through the right mentorship and guidance. As we strive for economic growth, innovation, peace and stability, we must not just include young African leaders but also actively engage and empower them,” he said. 

Hon. Chafo also praised the late Rt Hon. Oulanyah that he was a brilliant and ambitious African leader who led by example. 

The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Norbert Mao thanked Mr.  Rwabwogo for organising the event, saying that it keeps getting better each year. 

“This year, the spotlight is on Speaker Jacob Oulanyah but within that same spotlight are people who personify those qualities that made him a celebrated figure. In reality we are celebrating the potential of Jacob Oulanyah; I don’t think we got the best of him and that is why the nation mourned,”Hon. Mao said. 

“Leadership is not about Office but mission,” he added. 

On his part, Mr. Rwabwogo informed the President that the mentorship Awards ceremony also aims to remind the young generation of the value of dignified and exemplary service by the older retired public servants, who exit Uganda’s public service to pave the way for the young ones.

“I want to thank Mr. President for allowing us to host this luncheon and award some few people he chose this year. I ask you, the young people, to look at those people who have done well before us by serving our country and learn from them, don’t back down from doing the right thing,” Mr. Rwabwogosaid. 

Speaking on behalf of the former Speaker’s family, Hon. Andrew Ojok who also serves as OmoroCounty Member of Parliament, said the late Oulanyah was of no doubt a mentor to many who worked towards the development of Uganda. 

“Mr. President, permit me to thank you in a special way not only for opening your door to make this event possible this year but also taking deliberate steps to ensure that the special interest groups especially the youth are involved in the leadership management of this country,” he said. 

“Permit me to also thank you for standing with the family of the late Jacob Oulanyah both when he was still alive and when he passed on. Our father’s legacy is one of integrity, reconciliation, institutionalism and Ubuntu,” he added. 

The father of the late Oulanyah, Mr. Nathan Okorithanked the government for honouring the late Speaker. 

“I’m really grateful that my late son is still remembered.”

The event was also attended by former Prime Ministers, Rt.Hon. Amama Mbabazi and Rt. Hon. Kintu Musoke, Government Chief Whip, Hon. Hamson Obua, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, Minister of Works and Transport, Gen. Katumba Wamala, Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hon. Hilary Onek, Minister for General Duties, Hon. Kasule Lumumba, among other dignitaries.