110 days. 112 Districts. Over 300 Political Rallies. Millions of people met. That was the grueling yet very rewarding exercise the NRM Presidential Candidate underwent preceding the successful General elections held on February 18th, 2016. On the campaign trail, a number of opportunities presented themselves for the new leadership to take advantage of and ensure consensus amongst all stakeholders in delivering an even better Uganda for all. Armed with these insights, the President HE Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who also serves as the National Chairman for the NRM Party, at his Swearing In ceremony on May 12th, 2016, categorically stated that in this Term of Office it was going to be business unusual both in Government and in the Party.
Prior to this, in mid-March 2016, the NRM Party held a retreat at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi for its then newly elected Members of Parliament to discuss and deliberate on the issues that needed to be prioritized in the new term of office to deliver Uganda to the Middle Income Status group, from the present US$736 Income Per Capita to an Income Per Capita of US$1036.
In his Key Note Address to the assembly, the National Chairman highlighted the following key issues as fundamental in taking Uganda to the new level; a sense of Pan Africanism, a movement from subsistence farming to Commercial Farming, promotion of industrialization through mineral processing &value addition, enhanced support to research &innovation among scientists like the Kiira MV &the Kayoola Bus and Democracy.
Today and as has been the case for a while now, Uganda boasts of a multiparty democracy and yet a multiparty dispensation is one of the more misunderstood concepts in a young democracy like ours. I use the word young for two reasons, one our largely young population and two the age of multiparty systems in Uganda. In countries where Multiparty dispensations are light years ahead of us, administration of government is used as a unifying factor with members from more than one party both taking on leadership roles. In Uganda however, the system dictates that the winner of the Presidential election has no obligation to involve the losing Party and candidates. When the new Cabinet was announced, there was some discomfort among members of opposition who went as far as labeling their colleagues who accepted those roles as traitors! NOT SO, the members of Opposition who opted to take on these roles were actually being mature leaders who opted to put service to Uganda above self
Being a landlocked country, Uganda cannot afford an acrimonious relationship with her neighbors and as such she is obligated to lend a hand in sectors where she is advantaged to progressively position her peoples, promote trade and secure her borders. This is where the NRM Pan African-ism principle will play a vital role. Our economic growth will consequently be determined by how seamless our border movements impact on the size of tradable market. Today, Uganda is at the forefront of reinvigorating the East African Community market which will give us a prospective market of over 100 million people.
To ably tap into this large market, consensus should be built among stakeholders. This can be achieved if Government departments speak to each other and to the general public in a timely manner. On the other hand, the NRM Party has an obligation to keep its people at the grassroots actively involved in monitoring and evaluating the delivery of government programmes to the people. It was resolved that the NRM Party and Government will make use of the Local Barazas to widen civic participation in this exercise.
As a country whose people are largely dependent on Agriculture for their livelihood, it is unfortunate that we have 68% of our people excluded from the cash economy. This can be attributed to the widely practiced Subsistence farming as opposed to Commercial Farming. By promoting Industrialization we will in turn promote agro-processing which will yield higher returns for farmers thus drawing more numbers into the cash economy.
Borderless trade will demand that our labor and goods are of a strong caliber and Government is committed in to delivering that through vocational training, promoting productivity and disciplined labor, developing standards, ensuring certification and market promotion. Countless times, these have been the shortcomings associated with our goods and labor. Government will continue with its investment in the strategic areas of Tourism, Agriculture, Oil& Gas, Mineral Development, Industrialization, ICT and knowledge economy, Creative and Competitive Human Resources and Water Resources Development.
Our Economy’s performance is a key ingredient in our roadmap to achieving a Middle Income Status, as such Government will take action to ensure that it reduces on its domestic borrowing to minimize competition with the Private Sector, improve storage, post-harvest handling and agro-processing, provide support to start-ups in strategic industries, Operationalize and capitalize Uganda Development Corporation to support strategic sectors of the economy, Recapitalize Uganda Development Bank to provide affordable credit for Investments, develop and enforce business laws, ensure due diligence on Private Public Partnerships and have a dedicated focus on equitable income distribution so as to ensure peace and harmony in the country
Performance indicators for these key deliverables that will get us to Middle Income status will be steep and unattainable if there is no cohesion between the NRM Party Officials who delivered the winning manifesto to Ugandans, the Parliament and Government Officials who are charged with delivering the promise to the people. It was resolved that the Zonal MP meetings by the President and annual review of the NRM Manifesto implementation with both the Party and Government Leadership will go to great lengths to iron this out. Indeed, it will be business unusual in Uganda for the period 2016-2021.