Museveni says NRM selfish mercenary leaders cost him votes

President Yoweri Museveni says he should got at least 80% in the general elections had it not been for the selfish party leaders.

This is his explanation:

One long standing mistake has been poor supervision of government services e.g. health care and the stealing of drugs from health centres.

Wherever I went during the campaigns, the youthful population of our children and grand-children was complaining about this – stealing of drugs by health workers, absenteeism by the same workers, negligence and even asking for bribes.

In Kassanda Health Centre, these accusations were confirmed when I sent, subsequently, an investigation team.  We were about to arrest the health workers but the public forgave them.  This is all due to poor supervision by both the technical staff (PS, CAO, Gombolola Chief, Town Clerk, etc.) and also by the political class.  Why should it be difficult to check on the drugs even by the political class in the area?

The argument that health workers are poorly paid is nonsensical because the workers in private hospitals are paid less than in government hospitals.  Yet they work efficiently.  This irritates the public alot in spite of their support for the NRM.  Dr. Diana Atwiine’s Unit has arrested 227 health workers.  The problem, however, is the leniency of the Courts.  They release these people.  I have talked to the Chief Justice about this.

The other contradiction within the NRM was on account of the Primaries.  There was alot of alleged rigging by some of the actors.  To compound this problem, our Electoral Commission did not get time to exhaustively investigate and rectify these allegations.  Sometimes, it would involve the misuse of the security forces or bias by the RDCs.  I, personally, investigated two situations and provided some remedy which stabilized the political situation in the two areas.  One situation was Kanungu  (especially Kinkizi West) and the other situation was  in Bukono Constituency of  Namutumba.  In Kanungu, it was clear that the Primaries’ results of the MP candidate for Kinkizi West and the LCV Chairperson had been altered in favour of other people because the winners were thought to be “pro-Mbabazi”.  This was very wrong.  How were they “pro-Mbabazi”?  The allegation was that during the day, they are pro-NRM but during the night they are pro-Mbabazi.  Even if that was the case, this was not the correct way to handle it.  The correct way would have been to patiently investigate these allegations and, if confirmed, discipline those leaders, including expelling them from the Party – transparently and openly.  Any other approach is wrong and clique-formation.

I caused Tanga- Odoi and some other  people to investigate and establish the truth.  Josephine Kasya and Kaberuka had won the primaries and were, therefore, the flag-bearers. The good vote we got from Kanungu has confirmed the correctness of this truthful approach.

My first rally in the Busoga area was at Kibbale Primary School, Kibbale sub-county, Bukono Constituency.  As I was departing from the rally, the flag-bearer, Micheal Saire, told me that “a woman” who had stood in the primaries had caused a section of the constituency to boycott the rally that had just ended.  I did not pay much heed because the rally was, in any case, massive as most of our rallies were.

It was only some days later that somebody else told me that “the woman” that had caused a section of the constituency to boycott my rally was my own daughter, Namuganza, that had been one of my most loyal youth cadres for a long time.  On account of that, I had appointed her Deputy RDC, Luwero.  I, however, did not even know that she had resigned the Deputy RDC-ship.

When I addressed my very first campaign rally at Zirobwe, I had searched for her in the crowd by looking around (Kurondesa amaisho) without seeing her.  I thought that she may be sick or something and did not think much about it.  Only now to hear that she was “the woman” that had ‘Kujemesa’ people (make people boycott) from attending my rally at Kibbale Primary School. I, immediately, looked for her and she came to see me in Jinja only to tell me of stories of bias by the concerned officials and even Police arrests of her supporters, etc.  To complicate matters for the Kaliro – Namutumba area, there was also the issue of the Kyabazinga where some of our leaders in the area had taken sides in that non-political issue.  The area had become very hostile politically to the NRM on account of the mistakes of our actors.  The rally I addressed at Kaliro on the 24th of December, 2015, was the worst of the whole campaign.  Probably, only 5,000 people attended – almost similar to the one of the IK people in Kaabong where there were only 2,051 voters.  I sat with Namuganza and we talked.  Eventually, she brought me all the youth that had been alienated (their leaders) and the royal councils of Busiki and Bukono to whom I explained that the NRM never involved itself in the issue of whether there should be traditional leaders in any area and, if so, who?

These were none of our business and have never been.   It was for the wanainchi of the concerned areas.  They only needed to follow the law.  These groups, whom I met while in Masindi, were satisfied and went back to clarify the situation.  Our recent scores in Namutumba and Kaliro of 81.86% and 70.14% respectively, were a direct result of this.  Namuganza had been told by some persons in the NRM that if her group wanted to go away, they can go away.

The NRM will continue, without them!!  Why should any NRM person alienate anybody because of the selfishness of the individuals?  This is not acceptable.

The other mistake is the selfishness and dishonesty of some of the NRM leaders.  When money is sent to do political work, these leaders steal it.  The money that was sent to help the Village Committees to buy stationery was stolen by some leaders.  The masses come to know about it and they, really, get annoyed.

Those who stole that money must refund it or be arrested.  It is not only the dishonesty; but there is the attitude of only undertaking missions for money.  No money, no mission. This mercenary attitude is un-NRM and not acceptable.

No sooner had I pacified the Namuganza group than the youth that had remained loyal to the NRM started complaining as to why I had met the “bad” group, etc., etc.  I had also to meet this group and talk to them about winning back anybody that may be disgruntled or even the ones who had never supported us before.

That is the correct politics: “unite the many, to defeat the few and isolate the enemy to the maximum”, Mao Tse Tung used to say.   Yet here in Uganda, some groups seem to say: “alienate as many as possible and remain with a few”.  I reject that mistaken view.  I am for the Maoist principle of uniting the many.

It is some of the leaders that demand money.  The wanainchi walk to and from the rallies on foot.  They demand nothing; they stand in the sun while the leaders are in hired tents.  Of course, we could not manage tents for everybody.  What is interesting, however, is that the masses are hungry for the word of the NRM while some of the leaders are hungry for money.

To show that the masses are hungry for the word of the NRM, even the rallies that were held on Sundays, were massively attended.  The thirst by the leaders for money through politics needs to be rejected totally.  In a few cases, we need money if the distance is far; no more than that.  Politics is about mission, not money.  It is voluntary association of people who share the same mission.  It is not employer-employee relationship.  We must be sisters, brothers or comrades-in-the struggle for the mission of patriotism, Pan-Africanism, social-economic transformation and democracy.  This, indeed, was the spirit during the bush war and soon after.

Our people would work voluntarily because they could see that we were working voluntarily – we, the leaders.  This spirit was undermined by the ego-centric MPs that were misusing their presence in Parliament and the vague Constitution of 1995 on the issue of remuneration for Public Servants to award themselves huge salaries.  This selfishness and short- sightedness transformed the MP job from being a mission – oriented job to being a rewarding job for the individuals involved.

This caused the others, the generality of our membership, to say that if politics is for personal gain, we need our own share.  This mercenarism must be wound  backwards, starting with the leaders.

Then, there is the problem of selfish leaders who undermine fellow Movement leaders from their common areas so as to remain “the only bulls in the kraal” so that they have better chances of becoming Ministers.  This is not a good sign in leaders.  You should not think about your own promotion but about the mission and all those who support that mission you regard as your comrade – in- arms.  If you come from the same constituency, you should have peaceful competition championing the same mission.  You tell the voters that you share the same mission but they can choose whoever they think can better execute the mission.  This should be in the primaries.  Whoever is chosen in the totally free primaries, should get all your support.  You should be totally neutral among all the other contenders in the primaries in your area and only support the  flag-bearers chosen transparently.

Then, there is the practice of some individuals trying to be King-makers in their zones.  They divide our Movement people by taking sides among individuals and trying to force candidates on the electorate.  This is very wrong.  It is the NRM members who are electing their flag-bearers – not you.  Neither in public nor in private should you ever express a preference.  As long as they publically declare loyalty to the Movement, you welcome all of them.  That is the cut-off point for you – loyalty to the Party, publically declared.  No other consideration should enter your assessment of our members.

The issues of “efficiency”, “morality”, “presentability”, “reliability”, should be none of your concerns as a senior leader in the area or a co-leader.  Those aspects are for the public to determine – not you, not me. Our only yard-stick for the NRM members should be loyalty publically declared. The rest should be for the NRM membership. Once the membership have made their choice, you should, unreservedly, support that choice.


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