The NRM is a revolutionary Movement. It started as part of the Student Movement in the 1960s as a reaction against the sectarian politics of religion and tribe of those days. We were also contemptuous of gender chauvinism (marginalizing women, the youth, the disabled, etc). We evolved the ideology of patriotism (Mwoyo gwa Uganda) and Pan-Africanism (Mwoyo gwa Afrika).
That ideology made us to successfully prosecute the liberation struggles (1971-79 and 1981-86). After the liberation struggle, we first aimed at and achieved the Minimum Recovery Programme. This entailed ending the three vices: magendo (smuggling), kibaanda (foreign exchange black market) and kusamula (speculation). That is how our economy has been growing at the rate of 6.5% per annum for the last 29 years, infrastructure bottlenecks notwithstanding.
The in-formalization of the economy was ended and goods entered and left the country through the airports and border-points, the foreign currency was only found in the Bank of Uganda and the forex bureaus and the shops were not only full of what used to be called the essential commodities (which were in great scarcity, meaning soap, salt, sugar and paraffin) but also full of luxury goods (perfumes, wines, spirits, alcohol, artificial hair, foreign carpets, foreign textiles, building materials from outside, cars in showrooms, motorcycles, etc. etc). You can call this phase, the third phase of the journey of the NRM.
The fourth phase was directly linked to the third phase. This was the phase of reconstruction and also development. Alot of the old infrastructure that has been damaged in the chaos of 1966-1986 was repaired but also alot of new elements were developed (the roads, the power-stations, the schools, the health centres, the water systems, the telephones, the ICT backbone, etc).
The fifth phase was the realization that good infrastructure may not automatically result into wealth creation, mainly on account of ignorance and lack of attitude change. Realizing that there are four sectors where wealth and jobs can be created (agriculture, industry, services and ICT), we created special funds to assist in that effort in addition to the good infrastructure. The four funds are: Operation Wealth Creation ─ NAADS, the Youth Fund, the Women Fund, the Innovation Fund for scientists, etc. This is apart from the Banks, especially the UDB.
In order to go through these phases, we always followed the strategy of prioritization realizing that both in efforts and money we cannot tackle all the problems at the same time. We tackle them in batches or even one by one. In the student days, the emphasis was on ideology and selflessness. In the liberation phase, the emphasis was on ideology, recruits, guns and ammunition.
By ensuring these, we solved the rest ─ food, drugs, clothing, etc. Similarly, in the phase of reconstruction and development, we have emphasized defence and security, the roads, electricity, immunization, education, telephones, ICT backbone, recently ─ the railway, etc. We are slowly moving towards putting more emphasis on NAADS ─ wealth creation, the innovation fund for industry, the funds for micro-finance at the village level, etc.
We are now entering the sixth phase. This is the phase of transformation and take off. Some of the transformation has already been realized. The literacy rate, for instance, has jumped from 43% in 1986 to 75% today. The other transformations are on the way. Uganda is now a viable country. Even without external aid, we shall transform our country because we now have the critical minimum. This minimum is now 13,000 billion shillings per year, up from 5 billion shillings in 1986 in tax collections.
By prioritizing the use of this money, we can solve any problems, step by step. Yet that money is not only growing but we also have our oil money which is not yet part of this resource envelope. Therefore, the future of Uganda is bright.
One other brilliant act of the NRM was to work with our brothers and sisters in Africa to create EAC and COMESA. Therefore, as the Ugandans wake up to engage in massive production of agricultural and industrial products, they have a much wider market. We buy from our brothers and sisters and they also buy from us.
There are only two problems ─ the corruption of the civil servants and also, increasingly, the corruption and ego-centrism of the political class. The original problem of corruption was of the civil servants. They were selfish, unpatriotic and never bothered with the problems of Africa.
Through the Musisis, the Kaginas, the Bigirimanas, the Nakyobes, etc., we have been gradually closing in on the problems of this group. That is why the politician’s problems must be nipped in the bud. When the NRM liberated the country, it gave power to the people.
The people exercised that power through electing their leaders at all levels. Some of the leaders elected, on account of the lethargy of the Secretariat of NRM, came with careerist attitudes ─ looking at political leadership as a job while we the freedom fighters have always looked at leadership as a mission, not a career or a job.
With this careerist attitude and also with not properly thought-through attitudes, two mistakes were made ─ first, associating themselves with demanding for higher wages for public servants before dealing with the more urgent common goods (roads, electricity, etc.) and, secondly, abandoning the role of being leaders of the electorate through guidance and examples and, instead, becoming, an exercise of utter fertility, the “carriers” of the constituencies using personal money. Two consequences have emerged from these mistakes.
Mistake number one is that the leaders have sank into perennial debts ─ really leading a miserable life. The number two bad consequence has been that the population has been demanding money from the leaders.
I would like to use this missive to point out the following to the categories here below mentioned.
First of all, to the leaders. You are ruining yourselves with futility being the end result of what you are doing. The use of personal resources for politics will ruin you. That is why in the USA, the leaders who engage in politics, raise money from the public, not the other way round. Besides, you will have no impact on the constituency. Your personal money is too small to make any impact other than rendering you bankrupt. The Churches and Mosques also put pressure on these political leaders by many fundraisings. The leaders, being careerists, cannot be honest enough to tell the churches and mosques that they are being ruined financially.
I contribute to the churches and mosques using State money. I would not be so irresponsible as to excessively encroach on my personal resources to do the fundraising for the churches and mosques . I can contribute some bulls or heifers to a fund-raising but not excessively to the extent of getting into debts on account of fundraisings.
Fund-raising should be like blood donations. The human body has got 5-7 litres of blood. You can safely donate ½ a litre (500 mls) of your blood. After you donate that 500 mls of blood, you are advised not donate blood again until after 6 months; in otherwords, you are advised to donate twice in a year.
The politicians in Uganda, however, put out their arm so that the churches and mosques and the civilian supporters drain the blood until the donor drops dead. Then another donor comes up to engage in fresh futility but, futility that is fatal. The leader should concentrate on channeling government programmes to his/her area.
Secondly, the MP should work with the President to put more money into Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) where the thirst for seedlings and breeding stock is now clearly huge. The 203 billion shillings for NAADS is not enough. We need something in excess of 1,000 billion shillings. The same applies for micro-finance, something in excess of 500 billion shillings rather the mere 44 billion shillings we are putting in now.
Having done a good job on the roads (3,000 billion shillings), electricity (2,800 billion shillings), education (2,029 billion shillings) etc., we can now turn to NAADS, micro-finance, cattle compensation, veterans, pensions, etc.
Coming to the population, it is suicidal to start selling your votes for meaningless benefits ─ some little money or items. If you vote for somebody who gives you some money, that person may not have the capacity to address your core interests ─ roads, electricity, education, security, NAADs, etc. What will, then, happen?
How will you, sustainably, get out of poverty and under development? Moreover, you, the voter, by voting for the one who bribes you, rather than for the one that can channel (kukusakira) the resources from the government to you, you disenfranchise yourself.
Why? This is because the person that bribed you will tell you that “akalulu akange nakagura” (I bought my vote), “therefore do not bother me” by asking me about services. He will not be bothered about bringing services, wealth creation items or development to the area. He will start accumulating money for the next episode of electioneering and bribery.
Moreover, indebted leaders are a danger, a security risk, to the country because they can easily be manipulated by external forces. This is intolerable. Let us go back to the basics ─ altruism, sacrifice, service delivery, development and wealth creation by using Government resources.
“Kija omanyi kinyaga bitono” (Fore warned is fore armed).
Yoweri K. Museveni (Gen(rtd)
P R E S I D E N T