NRM is the expert on prioritisation. You cannot handle all problems at the same time. We did it in Bush when fighting, just with 27 guns and defeated a whole army. We knew how to use small to achieve big. In government, we have done the same. For example to get peace, we had to strengthen the army.
Fruits of unity:
We also preach ideology of unity. We don’t believe in tribalism or religious sectarianism. We say that because people of whatever religion or tribe have similar problems. If you don’t have clean akipi (water) it affects everyone. If there is no road, it affects everybody.
Because we believe in unity, we become agogong or strong which in turn breeds peace. That is how we were able to disarm cattle rustlers and defeat rebels.
Now we have development. Last time I was here there was no electricity up to Kagondo, its here now. This has happened in the NRM regime. There was no electricity in Amuria, Kaberamaido, Kalaki, Katakwi, Moroto even Amudat. These all have electricity. Why? Because we prioritised.
Teso is key:
In the past, people of Teso were not voting for me. In 2006, I didn’t get many votes but I said I don’t mind. They’re my children. I said take electricity to them. God will vote for me. In 2011, people of Teso saw that I cared for them and voted for me massively.
In case of Serere, you have 181 primary schools, only nine parishes have no government primary schools. They will get. Government policy is to have a primary school in each parish. On secondary schools, you have nine government secondary schools. Only three sub-counties lack secondary schools. These will also get.
On water, Ocaapa and Kere towns have piped water works underway. Designs for Kadungulu, Kidetok, are underway.
Ojama dam will be built. Labor will be for irrigation and control the water, the way we’ve done with Doho.
On roads, we tarmacked Soroti-Otuboi-Dokolo-Lira road. We repaired Soroti-Mbale-Tororo road and now going to tarmack Soroti-Katakwi-Moroto. The same with Tirinyi-Pallisa. And we are also going to tarmack Kumi-Ngora-Serere-Soroti. Then we shall link you by ferry to Busoga.
The development is here. If food is in mouth, the throat can’t complain. For example with electricity in Serere town, it will soon get to the other places.
The government has been supporting education and we shall do more. We are going to provide exercise books, pens and pencils for children. It has been work of parents but the government is now taking over. That will leave you parents with task of buying uniform for children and also providing packed lunch. We shall also provide mathematical sets and sanitary pads to the girls. I spent 13 years fighting without seeing my family. But my wife being educated, knew what to do. When I came from the Bush, the family was well. So, an educated girl is an asset. She is someone’s daughter, wife, mother or sister. The woman is centre of gravity. Men deceive themselves that they’re kings but women are real kings.
Training our youth:
The other thing in education is retraining our youth. We have many children who have been to university. I began seeing a problem around 2000. In 1986, we had only 800 graduates leaving university each year. Today they are 40,000. But what have they studied? History, literature, social work etc. It is good but those subjects can not get you jobs. Even in public service we need doctors, nurses, engineers, midwives. Jobs are there but graduates lack the skills. We now have unemployed graduates and unmanned jobs. It is a problem but a good one because in the past we simply had uneducated people.
So, one way of helping these young people is get them capital, which we have begun with the Youth Fund.
The second way is to retrain them. Why don’t you go back to school on government sponsorship and study more relevant course? It’s the concept of reskilling and retooling.
I am a tested driver:
We now have our whole country in peace. We are in elections and you are being asked to choose new system.
We have two groups of people; those who brought peace and development and those saying we should go away. We are saying keep old drivers because they know. We have been driving when the road was bad, when there was no peace, when we had little money.
Now we have peace, more money and you hear some people say the drivers should go away. But NRM says these are the trusted drivers who took you through the tough times, you should keep the drivers. It is why I appeal to you to vote for NRM and the Old Man with a hat. Also vote for NRM flag-bearers.
Speech by President Yoweri Museveni in Serere County in Serere District