Gen Saleh Championing rural Transformation – Prof Balunywa

Whenever you talk about Gen. Salim Saleh your thoughts always go to President Museveni his elder brother. I do not think this is fair to Gen Saleh but unfortunately people thought process works like that. Gen Saleh will forgive me for making the reference to President Museveni while writing about him. If you do not like President Museveni, never allow him to talk to you. By the time the conversation ends, you will be converted!!! That is how charismatic he is and so is Gen Salim Saleh.


General Salim Saleh with  MUBS Principal Prof. Waswa Balunywa at the University's Graduation
General Salim Saleh with MUBS Principal Prof. Waswa Balunywa at the University’s Graduation

When the graduation committee requested me to invite him, I thought he may not like the idea, he is a very private person who has gone out of public eye. He likes to think and work to support vulnerable people especially farmers in the rural areas.  At all our graduation ceremonies, we get a theme which we to invite a speaker to talk to the students about.

Gen Saleh rejected the speeches written for him saying he wanted to talk about practical ideas not theories in speeches. As he began his address, he said while he was going to speak he did not have a written speech. He found fault with the request to address our graduates on joining agriculture as a profession. He said the business school students like many others in the country had no agricultural training and you did not expect them to take interest in agriculture which they did not understand. He decried the educational system calling for a review.

He said that as an agricultural country, he was surprised that agriculture was not taught in schools and children who lived in rural areas completed their studies without any formal knowledge in agriculture. You therefore will not expect these young people to know anything about farming later on have an interest in agriculture as a profession. He said that most people from the schools and universities when they went out in the villages, they went out dressed inappropriately and feared insects. He suggested that young people should be taken to camps and given a three months training to prepare them for agriculture as a profession.
As the General spoke, it was evident how he had turned into a person who has been resolving conflicts among different people. He comes out as a simple ordinary person who has respect for others and we may never know that he is a bush hero and a brother to the President. It was easy to see how he gets into the hearts of other people to convince them about his views.

The General is a great listener. He invites professionals to his country farm, listens to their theories, asks questions and uses the information he receives to do his work. He has helped farmers in luweero to start different projects and currently he is running a farm where he has grown 800 acres of maize. He likes to live a simple life and hates the modern sophisticated phones which he says take long to be operated when you want to use it.

He has passion for knowledge and would like to see rural transformation in the country. he was appointed Minister of Microfinance and he left because of too much bureaucracy in the ministry. He said he would never be able to do what he wanted to do because the bureaucracy always had ways of stopping him from what he wanted to do.

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