One measure of Northern Uganda’s return to normalcy, is the way most people that were living in the Internally Displaced People’s camps returned to their homes. Even the children that did night commuting from their country homes to the Gulu town verandas to avoid being abducted during the night raids of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) rebels of Joseph Kony, have for the last five years, stopped.
However, instead of dwelling on the turmoil that spanned over 20 years and took many lives as it left others physically incapacitated due to the heinous crimes by rebels, which involved cutting of ears and lips, the people of Northern Uganda are now looking ahead at the opportunities for self-actualisation. Sam Engola, the Honourable Member of Parliament for Erutu South County in the Lango sub-region is one of the legislators promoting the drive for the development of Northern Uganda. Doubling as the state minister of Housing in President Yoweri Museveni’s cabinet, Engola is key in ensuring that Northern Uganda achieves its goals and covers up on lost time.
Engola will be a guest at the Uganda Convention UK event on August 27, where he is expected to be among the key-note speakers.
However, before the actual event, which is highly billed, and has attracted much public attention and anticipation, Engola spoke about the exciting times and prospects that Northern Uganda has and where people should be seeking to invest. With the restoration of peace and stability, security is now guaranteed. This is a precursor to good tidings. Engola says that this is the time for an industrial revolution. “People should be thinking of constructing factories in the area because there is a lot of land that is available and is redundant.
Besides, it is not so expensive,” says Engola. He continues that there is also cheap labour but the kind that is intensive and effective. In addition, Engola says that Northern Uganda is a good farming ground for crops like sim-sim, sugar-cane, ground-nuts and cotton. With the decline in food supplies around the world, farming is a prospective jack-pot. Starting a sugar factory would be a brilliant idea as well. It should be noted that with the establishment of South Sudan as an Independent state on 9 July 2011, the market for Ugandan produce is lying in wait. With limited industrialisation in South Sudan, the population there is highly dependent on imports, and what better way than Ugandans in diaspora being part of the strategic plan to industrialise in Northern Uganda and make some substantial profits, selling to the Southern Sudanese. But that is not all. Henry Okello-Oryem, the Minister of state for Foreign Affairs hails from Gulu. The former first son said that Northern Uganda is at a point where Agro-Processing will be a lucrative investment. He adds, “There are also many minerals in this region that are due exploitation. For example, Karamoja has marble and Iron. There is also the Kidepo National Park, a centre of tourism.
” Kidepo has a wide range of animals that Ugandans must go and see. On top of that, Okello-Oryem, the son of the late President Tito Okello Lutwa says that it’s incumbent on all Ugandans to sell their country’s good image to the outside world, say, foreign tourists. “There are few good lodges in the area especially near the national Park. People should invest in that sector to boost the tourism industry and their earnings too,” Okello-Oryem concluded.
BY JOHN VIANNEY NSIMBE