Beyond slogans NRM offers logical Campaign Promises
By Frank Tumwebaze
The official campaigns have started after the successful nomination of various candidates.
Beyond slogans of the various contenders, Ugandans want to listen and know deep about the logic of the various promises each contender has to offer.
This should be the focus of all the campaign conversations. Blame games and rhetorical political statements against the incumbent is not what Ugandans will choose from. It should be ideas and ideas that the political contest should base on.
President Yoweri Museveni launchuing his 2016 Manifesto on Friday at Imperial Royale Hotel
The NRM and its leader Yoweri Museveni have always led and won this contest of ideas. I invite fellow Ugandans to read through what the NRM manifesto 2016-2021 stands for at a glance. In 2011, the NRM Manifesto was premised on the theme “Accelerating Prosperity for All”. The last five years have focused on this with a great deal of success. A solid foundation has been set for Uganda to now move into a middle-income country, explaining the choice of theme for the next five years (2016-2021), “Taking Uganda to modernity through jobs-creation and inclusive development”.
Central to this promise is the idea of maintaining the security and good governance that has propelled Uganda thus far, consolidating our economic growth, creating more jobs and ensuring macro-economic stability. This manifesto also places emphasis on public and private sector institutional development, while ensuring more resources are dedicated to the sectors of agriculture, industry, tourism, trade, ICT and harnessing of our country’s natural resources.
To achieve the middle-income target, the manifesto also places sharp focus on human capital development, culture, entertainment, labour and unemployment, infrastructure development, lands and finally regional integration and cooperation for bigger enhanced markets.
The above sixteen broad areas will shape our policy and expenditure frameworks for the next five years. Whereas the detailed manifesto can be accessed both in hard copy and on the Internet (www.nrm.ug), below are some of the highlights of NRM’s promise to Ugandans for the next five years. It’s these commitments that we sell to the citizenry as we seek their support.
We differ and disagree fundamentally from those candidates who without shame tell Ugandans that for now give us power, plans and ideas of how to develop Uganda will be unveiled later. NRM acts different. We seek power to implement the ideas we espouse and which we articulate clearly without any ambiguity. The NRM government will continue to strengthen security, good governance and democracy.
For the last five years, the focus has been on professionalizing the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) and building the capabilities of the Uganda Police Force (UPF) plus the capacity of intelligence agencies. In the next five years, the UPDF and UPF will continue to be supported to maintain the peace and stability that has a bearing on economic growth, stability, democracy and national unity. Altogether on the good governance front, the NRM government, in the next five years, will improve public service and cost of doing business through restructuring of public service institutions and scaling up to key towns the one-stop business centre that has been piloted at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB). The government will also continue with affirmative action for the north, Karamoja, Rwenzori and parts of eastern region.
Similar programmes will be introduced in Busoga, Bunyoro and Teso. On justice, law and order, the government will among others increase the number of High Court circuits from 13 to 20 while formal courts will be at sub-county level.
More judicial officers will be appointed with better terms, build regional centres for the Court of Appeal and have every district upgraded to a magisterial area with a chief magistrate. The district land tribunals will be operationalised and judges hired on short-term contracts to help reduce case backlog.
As our revenues improve and following the correct prioritization-strategy of President Museveni’s administration, The NRM government will strengthen the decentralization system through sustainable financing to local governments, empowering district service commissions, easing requirement for jobs at the districts to enable more youth get employed and district chairpersons will get cars to ease transport and political supervision of government programs and projects. On the democracy front, the NRM government will continue to uphold and defend the principle of regular free and fair elections while promoting the growth of a vibrant multi-party system.
The NRM government will continue to support the participation of marginalized groups in political participation and continue to observe human rights while offering adequate support to the Uganda Human Rights Commission.
The hitherto marginalized groups of women, youth, children and people with disabilities will continue to get specialized attention and support from the NRM government. For the youth, specifically, there will be skilling, re-tooling and internship programmes for them while consolidating and popularizing vocational skills training and venture capital support to those with small and medium size business outfits especially in the towns.
The Youth Livelihood Programme, which is targeted for this segment of the population, will be capitalized to ensure close to 300,000 youth benefit. Whereas the NRM government has made strides in the fight against corruption in the last five years, with the unearthing of the vice in the Office of the Prime Minister, at the Uganda National Roads Authority and the pensions sector of the Public Service Ministry, more will be done in the next five years to ensure this cancer is totally uprooted through systematic deployment of cadres with proven integrity.
The NRM government will also strengthen the already independent anti-corruption institutions like the Auditor General, Inspectorate of Government, the Judiciary, and the Criminal Investigations Department of police to ensure effective operations.
The government will also strengthen enforcement of laws like the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2010 and the Leadership Code.
The government barazas will also be implemented under the chairmanship of the Resident District Commissioners, so as to involve the population in a participatory manner and ensure real time detection of anomalies for corrective measures to be taken. In other words investing in preventing corruption before it happens through intensified inspections.
Frank Tumwebaze with President Yoweri Museveni
The other key pillar of this manifesto is the NRM government’s promise to consolidate growth, employment and macro-economic stability, ensuring that Uganda becomes a middle-income country by 2020. On this front, the NRM government will ensure annual growth of 7% and more by introducing incentives for private sector-led value-addition and industrialization.
Other fiscal measures like increasing funding to the provision of inputs will focus on addressing constraints like high lending rates, fast-tracking skills training to address gaps in key sectors like the oil sector, investing in power generation, strengthening informal sector businesses and raising insurance penetration through awareness.
The government will also promote monetary policies that support high growth and low inflation, increase exports, build investor confidence and promote foreign investments to increase Direct Foreign Investments.
The government also will merge Post Bank and Pride Microfinance Limited to create a friendly commercial bank for the low income earners while financing Housing Finance Bank to play its core role of mortgage financing.
The Uganda Development Bank will also be recapitalized with Shs500 billion for long-term development financing. To support development of the public and private sector institutions, the NRM government in the next five years will ensure adequate staffing in public institutions, avoid duplication of roles and ensure timely execution of projects.
For the private sector, the government will help establish innovation centres for incubation of private technological innovations and also set-up one-stop business centres in Jinja, Gulu, Mbarara, Kabale, Hoima and Arua to ease the cost of doing business. Agriculture still employs a big proportion of the country’s population (about 72%) and because of this, the NRM government will continue to give it due attention.
In the coming five years, emphasis will be on the four-acre land model, where small-scale farmers will be mobilized to ensure they have one acre of perennial cash crops, another of fruits, the third acre to grow dairy pasture while the last acre will be for food crops. The target is to ensure each household gets at least Shs25m per annum from this arrangement. Those will bigger chunks of land can still adopt the four acre- enterprise mix model but do so on bigger land sizes.
The yields for them will be much more rewarding and handsome. Other interventions will include, scaling up Operation Wealth Creation for more distribution of improved seeds, planting and breeding materials, the single-spine extension services, ensuring improved post-harvest handling and value addition.
Others will be promoting mechanization, investing in disease/pest control, availing agriculture machinery and supporting agriculture finance credit to ensure interest rates stay low. In terms of industry, the NRM government will in the next five years ensure that mineral processing plants in Tororo (phosphates for fertilisers) and limestone for cement are operationalized. It will also develop the iron and steel factories in Tororo and Kabale.
Still on industry, the NRM government between 2016 and 2021, will ensure continued infrastructure development to support the sector, ensure completion of establishment of industrial parks, strengthen the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), establish five more sugar factories and work with our sister organs in the East African Community (EAC) to remove bottlenecks to free movement of goods and services in the region, an initiative that has already yielded good results to our business people especially with the northern corridor heads of state arrangements.
In the last five years, the government increased funding to the Uganda Tourism Board from Shs1.4b in 2011 to Shs11.6b in 2015. Support to the tourism sector will be enhanced in the coming five years to ensure adequate marketing and promotion of Uganda’s gifts of nature and its heritage. In addition, The government will invest in tourism roads, ferries and air transport to ensure ease of movement for tourists in the country.
It will also classify and grade hotels to ensure standards while the Hotel Tourism Training Institute in Jinja will be upgraded to international standards. Tourism spots like Namugongo Martyrs shrine already under upgrade, Kalagala and Itanda will be developed further under PPP arrangements. The government will also invest more in sports so that excelling sportsmen and women can become our brand tourism ambassadors and marketers.
For natural resources, the NRM government will in the next five years continue to carry out surveys to establish geological and mineral potential of the country. Mining policies and legislation will also be reviewed to improve investment climate in that sector. A major investment in the sector will happen in Tororo where investors in Sukuru Phosphates will set up a Comprehensive Industrial Complex planned to produce 300,000 tons per year of super phosphates fertilizer, 300,000 tons per year of iron steel products, 400,000 tons per year of sulphiric acid and generate 12MW of electricity. In oil and gas sector, the NRM government will build an oil refinery with capacity to produce 60,000 barrels per day in two phases.
The refinery will be built under a PPP arrangement, and it should lead to creation of petro-chemical industries and attendant jobs. The government will also build an oil export pipeline so that oil can be exported to the East African region and beyond. Our collaboration with East Africa partner states in the development of shared infrastructure and harnessing of natural resources will continue. For the environment, the government will undertake the Greening Uganda Programme that targets to plant 100 million trees in the next five years.
In the next five years, the NRM government’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) programmes will be geared towards increasing job creation among the youth and enhancing production and consumption of local innovations. The National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) project will be extended to more districts, departments and agencies.
At least 50% of UPDF barracks and all regional police headquarters will be connected. Three fiber optic network links will be created; north-western link (from Kamdini to South Sudan), south-western link (Kasese, Mpondwe to DRC) and north-eastern link (Moroto to Soroti). The government will also explore the alternative route to sea cables through Mutukula to Tanzania to connect to the Central and Southern Africa Submarines.
Intellectual Property legislation will also be undertaken to safeguard and encourage innovations. The government will also create and implement appropriate incentive schemes for BPO operators and IT innovators. Furthermore we will market Uganda’s BPOs to the external market.
Now that the NRM Government has moved the country to a wealth creation phase, expenditures in the human capital development sector (health, education and community components) must be seen as investments in future human capital, which will drive the wealth creation thrust.
The private sector has a solid stake in this drive and will be mobilised to participate fully in the development of the requisite human capital over the next five years and beyond. For rural Uganda and communities at large, the NRM government will replace the voluntary Village Health Teams (VHTs) with Community Health and Extension Workers (CHEWs) at sub county level who will mobilise communities for health, education, production and other development initiatives.
At primary school education level, the government will continue with the policy of building a modern primary school per parish, construct more classroom blocks, build teachers houses and intensify school inspections for quality education. The government will also provide free scholastic materials like geometry sets, exercise books, pens and pencils.
For secondary education, the government will continue with the policy of building a school per Sub County, construct more classrooms, build teachers houses and recruit more teachers to reduce student-teacher ratios. The government will also continue with the policy of building a technical and vocational institute at every sub-county.
For university education, among the several proposals in the next five years is to open Soroti University, bringing number of public universities to seven, rehabilitate and expand lecture rooms in public universities and also start a constituent college of Busitema University in Karamoja. The government will also continue investing in sports facilities like the high altitude athletics training facility in Kapchorwa and also support investors building sports academies.
The NRM policy on health is that all Ugandans should have access to high quality health care in order for each one of them to contribute to social and economic development. This policy commitment will remain unchanged.
The focus on preventive and Primary Health Care (PHC) as it is less expensive and easier to prevent illness than to cure it will be pursued.
We will ensure that all Ugandans have access to well-equipped health facilities and well trained, motivated healthcare workers in addition to developing systems to support health care.
Fighting the theft of drugs and other health sundries in government health units will fiercely continue. Specifically, the government will complete the following hospitals whose construction/rehabilitation is ongoing: Women’s Hospital at Mulago, Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kawolo, Kayunga, Yumbe, Uganda/East Africa Cancer Institute, National Laboratory Centre.
The government will also complete renovation and expansion of 26 Health Centre IVs and IIIs and also finish construction of 69 housing units for health workers in Karamoja region.
We shall begin Phase II Expansion and re-equipping of the following hospitals: Mbarara, Mbale, Itojo; Kambuga, Kisoro, Kitagata, Lyantonde, Rakai, Kalisizo, Gombe, Bundibugyo, Kiboga, Kamuli, Bugiri, Masindi, Kitgum, Apac, Adjumani, Kaabong, Atutur, Tororo, Pallisa, Abim, Bududa. The NRM government will construct the following new hospitals:- Gomba; Lwengo; Kamwenge (Rukunyu), Kaberamaido, Nakasongola, Katakwi, Amolatar, Kween, Rukungiri Hospitals. On staffing, the target is to achieve 100% staffing level by 2018. To avoid delays in the recruitment, health workers will be posted by the Ministry of Health immediately after completion of registration to fill gaps within the ceiling of staff needs in the sector. The Health Service Commission and the District Service Commissions will only be required to validate their appointments.
The NRM government will continue to implement policies for comprehensive HIV prevention, care and treatment. The number of patients on life-saving ARVs, will be increased from 800,000 to 1.4 million thus achieving the target of 90% of all HIV positive people. However, the Government will provide ARVs to 100% of all HIV positive pregnant mothers, children and adolescents. In order to improve access to health services in the country, we will start a phased implementation of the Universal Health Insurance Scheme. To-date, wide consultations have been finalised and the Bill is in place awaiting its enactment. Water is life and in the next five years, the NRM government’s strategy is to increase number of connections through piped water systems, construction of large piped gravity flow schemes, and various water technologies this will ensure that we have a water point per village. As already emphasized by HE President Yoweri Kaguta at his campaign inaugural rally at Kololo after his nominations, more priority funding will be allocated to the water sector.
It is during the NRM reign that the people are enjoying the right to live, display and promote their culture without fear. Traditional leaders exist where communities have them as a part of their culture and reached consensus on having them and their roles.
In the next five years, the NRM government will continue identifying, verifying and returning assets that legitimately and legally belong to cultural and tradition institutions that may be in Government possession and return them. The government will also support the development and promotion of indigenous knowledge through documentation of local knowledge, blending indigenous technology with scientific technology to promote development of the local artisan and craftsmanship.
The NRM government has created a conducive environment, which has enabled the emergence of the entertainment industry, which is made up of musicians, comedians, film actors and dramatists. In the next five years, the NRM government will continue to support the development of the entertainment industry, build regional cultural centres and museums, support the redevelopment of the National Theatre and National Museum to international standards and strengthen the enforcement of the Copyright Law.
The NRM recognises and upholds the role of workers together with their employers in the economy. We are committed to providing gainful employment to all Ugandans and promoting a decent work agenda. In this regard, we were able to increase the proportion of Ugandans in gainful employment from 70.9% to 75% over the last five years, against a rapidly increasing labour force. This policy focus will not be lost. In the next five years, the NRM government will organise a crash vocational training programme for over 50,000 unemployed graduates in humanities and social sciences to enhance their employability skills, continue with construction of markets to provide workplaces and employment opportunities for market vendors and review the minimum wage with a view to match the cost of living and growth achievements in the economy.
For energy, the government will in the next five years undertake a couple of hydro-power generation and thermal power generation projects which once completed will see the country’s generation capacity stand at 4,356MW. Increased power generation is a direct stimulus to more industries and therefore more jobs. In the next five years 2,000km of new roads will be constructed. These do not include the old ones and those being rehabilitated now.
This will increase tarmac roads from 4,000km to 6,000km. Some 2,205km of gravel roads will be upgraded to tarmac, 700km of old paved roads will be rehabilitated and 2,500km of paved roads and 10,000km of unpaved roads will be maintained. In the next five years, the NRM government will upgrade Entebbe International Airport, which is Uganda’s principal international gateway, to accommodate current and future air traffic and promote service excellence. The NRM government has already committed itself to spend about $325m (Phase1 – $200m and Phase2 – $125m) to finance this project. Over the next five years, the NRM government will focus on the upgrade of the country’s railways from the traditional one metre-wide system to a faster and modern 1 and a-half metre wide SGR; and development of the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area Light Rail Mass Transit System to solve to chronic problem of a decongested city centre of Kampala.
The Government has already embarked on the development of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) together with partner states of Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. This regional project will be a seamless transport system stretching from Mombasa through Nairobi, Kampala to Kigali and Juba respectively. In Uganda, the electrified SGR will be 1,700km with a design speed of 120kph and will be used for both freight and passenger traffic. For land, the Government will implement the additional initiatives required to create an efficient and effective land administration system, implement the National Land Policy and reform the relevant laws to be in consonance with it and undertake systematic registration of individual and communally owned land in the Northern, Eastern and Western Uganda.
For housing, the government will capitalise the National Housing and Construction Corporation (NHCC) to be a lead agency in providing low and middle-income houses in urban centres. It now plans to build houses in Namungona under the middle income housing project and will put up more in Naalya, Bukerere, Luzira, Lubowa, and Mbarara town. The government will also Elevate the status of Arua, Gulu, Mbale and Mbarara Municipalities to regional cities. Elevate five towns to strategic cities. These are Fort Portal (tourism), Hoima (oil and gas), Jinja (industry), Nakasongola (industry) and Moroto (mining). For Kampala, KCCA will construct more markets, undertake to fumigate and control pests in public areas, and undertake a series of projects to decongest the city.
Finally on regional and international cooperation, the government will fast track implementation of national key infrastructure projects to enhance the country’s competitiveness while at the same time preparing to eventually fit into the EAC convergence criteria. The Northern Corridor projects are critical to Uganda as they will facilitate trade between the country and the region. Already fruits of the northern corridor initiative that President Museveni championed have been realized by our business people. A container from Mombasa that used to take about a month to reach Kampala now takes just a few days. Those engaged in the import business know this better and how it was before. NRM will therefore remain committed to the full implementation of these projects basing earnings from some of the country’s resources such as oil and gas and minerals.
The NRM government will continue to pursue the engagement with other EAC Member States towards realisation of an EAC Political Federation and it will also continue to support UN and AMISOM pacification and peace keeping programmes in the region. The government will also construct/rehabilitate all our missions abroad including purchase of properties to house identified strategic missions.
For those of you Fellow Ugandans that may not have time to read in detail our manifesto, this is what we stand for in summary. It’s the reason President Museveni and NRM are seeking yet again your vote. Voting a leader or political party should be based on a message and what that leader stands for in as far solving citizenry livelihood concerns is concerned. It’s not about emotions and sentiments. It’s not about anger but answer. This is the NRM and President Museveni’s philosophy.
The writer is the MP for Kibale County, minister for the presidency and member of the Manifesto committee. Frank Tumwebaze, MP Minister in Charge of the Presidency and Kampala Capital City, Government of Uganda