President Yoweri K Museveni on Sunday night addressed the nation on various affairs in the country currently.
The President's speech was mostly focused on the spate of insecurity the country is currently experiencing. He however touched on other affairs like electricity, education, agriculture and infrastructure development among others.
Address on National State of Affairs Fellow Countrymen and Countrywomen,
in particular, the Bazzukulu.
I greet you all and I start my address by saying that the population of Uganda, on the 26thof January, 1986, when the NRM took over Kampala, was about 14million People. I say about 14million because the exact number was not known. What was known was that the census of 1969 was 9,535,051 million, the one of 1980 was 12,636,179 million and the one of 1991 was 16,671,705 million. Therefore, the population of Uganda in 1986 was somewhere between 13 million and 16.5 million. That is why I estimate it at 14million. The population of Uganda is now 40million. It has been growing at the rate of 3% per annum.
Why has this population grown at the rate of 3.2%since 1986, yet between 1969 and 1986, it was growing at around the rate of 2.5%? Two reasons: Security of life and property and better healthcare for the population, especially immunization. Yes, there are still problems of shortage of drugs in hospitals etc., but the immunization, which is easier to administer and monitor, has done the miracle. In spite of the AIDs epidemic, which killed a total of 2million young Ugandans and left a lot of orphans, the population of Uganda has grown from 14million in 1986 to 40million today. This population will be 102 million by 2050, i.e. 32 years from today.
Although our economy, by 1986, had shrank to only US$ 3.4 billion, the NRM has been able not only to immunize against all those 13 killer diseases, but we have been able to guard them against terrorism (ADF, Kony, UPA, FOBA) and cattle rustlers as well as providing education to most of the young People. Defending the Ugandans, relying on our own means, was achieved by the NRA imbuing the young soldiers with a high spirit of patriotism that enables them to fight in the grasslands of Northern Uganda, the Cold Mountains of the Rwenzori (in Alphine conditions), in the forests of Congo and in the semi-arid conditions of Somalia without even a murmur or hesitation, at very low pay. They are never fighting for money but for patriotism. With the UPDF, we fight in spite of low pay; with the NRA (the fore runner of the UPDF), we fought long and hard in spite of no pay at all. That is why Uganda has no refugees outside our borders and doesn’t need the UN to defend her. It is defended by the UPDF fighters, imbued with the spirit of patriotism. On the contrary, Uganda that is maligned by some elements, is a safe – haven for 1.4 million refugees from the neigbouring countries of Congo, South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, etc.
On the side of health, as already pointed out, we have relied on immunization –just immunization plus security. If only the District Medical Officers could sensitize our People on hygiene, nutrition, malaria control, behavior change to avoid AIDs and the use of safe water, these measures would eliminate 80% of all the sicknesses. The limited efforts notwithstanding, the population of Uganda has not only increased from 14million in 1986 to 40million today, but life expectancy has gone from 43 years of age to 63 years.
On the side of how we educated these expanding numbers, as we caused recovery of the collapsed economy, a disloyal and corrupt Civil Service notwithstanding, I would like to remind the Country that we have built new classrooms, expanding the number of classrooms in permanent materials from 40,440 in 1986 to 160,381 in 2018. This is for Government Primary Schools. It does not include the figure of Private Schools which are 6,841 in number. The Government Schools are 12,048.The Government Primary Schools and the Private Primary Schools have a total enrolment of 8,655,924million. The Government Secondary Schools are 1,086 and Private secondary schools are 2,862. They have a total enrolment of 1,457,280. More schools –Government and Private – that is how we educated our population so much that the literacy rate rose from 43% to 75%.
We have, therefore, protected, immunized and educated the Ugandan population as it was growing in numbers. How did we do it when the economy between 1971 and 1986 had shrank by 40% to US$3.4 when the population had grown by 2.5% from the 1969 figure of 9,535,051 to the 14million of 1986? As I always tell you in my numerous speeches, the economy of Uganda, as indeed is the case with many countries wanting to modernize from the pre-capitalist state, has got four sectors (obubondo). These four are: Commercial agriculture; Industries (factories) big and small; services (obuwereza)that includes hotels, transport, banking, insurance, professional services such as medical, accounting, etc., etc.; and ICT, which involves using Computers (ebyuma bya kalimagezi–intelligent machines) such as using the internet to do business like BPOs (Business Procedures Outsourcing) etc.
Agriculture should be easy for Ugandans because God had given us very easy life which some do not appreciate, take for granted and carelessly mishandle. Around the Equator and to the South, we get two rainy seasons in a year: the small rainy season (katuumba –March to May) and the big wet season (Ituumba –August to December). Therefore, without irrigation, since time immemorial, the Ugandans indigenous to this area, know that we always have two harvests: obwijegashe (the small harvest of end of May) and Omwaaka (the big harvest of end of December and early January). Indeed, the month of January is called kahiingo orbiruuru. Biruuru because the bird chasers in the millet gardens are making alarms (enduuru) to chase away the birds from eating the crop and kahiingobecause the cattle keepers are not bothered to remove the mihiingo(miyingo), the log barriers that stop the cattle from getting out of the enclosure (orugo),early, because there is plenty of grass for the cattle. The cattle do not have to get out early. Whatever time of day they get out, say 9 a.m., there will be plenty of grass and it will still be soft enough for them to graze on.
One degree North (Kyenkwaanzi) up to the Sudan border (40North to the North West of our Country), we get rain, almost continuously, from the middle of March to December. I had noticed this in the War of Resistance to my surprise. When we attacked Luwero Town on the 16thof July, it was a wet season in that area; yet around the Equator and to the South, it would have been a dry season (ekyaanda –since June). Indeed, recently, my daughter, Kokundeka Museveni Rwabwoogo, a farmer and preacher of the gospel, was surprised to go to Gulu and find a lot of rain while it had been very dry in the Rwakitura area where she had come from. I told her that that is the Uganda God gave us but “you, the Dot.Com group”, do not bother to understand and appreciate – some of you flying to Dubai etc. I never go anywhere unless I am forced by the business of the Country. Uganda is simply too good. When we attacked Masindi on the 20thof February, 1984, we timed it because that was one of the few windows of opportunity when it would be dry and the grass would be burnt and the ground would be hard to allow for fast movement cross country.
However, this very environment has also bred an attitude of complacency by the population. When you see people invading the wetlands and cutting the forests, apart from telling them to get out, we should also pray to God that “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (the Bible says in the Book of Luke 23:34).
As I have been telling you repeatedly, many of our people do not only not know how to take care of the Environment, this good gift from God, but also do not know how to take care of themselves and their families. That is how you get 68% of the population still being stuck in subsistence farming (farming only for food for the home but not for money) even by the time of this last census (2014); or if they engage in commercial farming, they do so without ekibaro(proper family economics, aimar, cura, otita).
This phenomenon of 68% of the population being in subsistence economy (okukorera enda yoonka, okulimira olubuto kyokka, tic pi iya)is, of course, not new. By 1970 or by 1962, indeed, the economy of Uganda was being described as an “enclave” economy –an economy being comprised of an island (enclave) of modernity of 3 Cs and 3 Ts, surrounded by a sea of backwardness. The 3Cs were: Coffee, Cotton and Copper from Kilembe and the 3Ts were: Tobacco, Tea and Tourism. At that time, by 1970, a very small percentage of homesteads were in this island (enclave) of modernity. By 1986, this island had disappeared. Only 1 C, Coffee, was limping on. Copper was at zero production, Cotton was at almost zero, Tourism was zero, Tobacco was very much reduced and Tea had gone from 23 million kilograms in 1970 to 3 million kilograms by 1986. This phenomenon of enclave economies is, of course, characteristic of many African economies, the former colonies.
According to our bubondo(sectors), you see that the three sectors of that time had collapsed: commercial agriculture (coffee, cotton, tobacco, tea); Industry (tea, copper and tobacco –cigarettes) and services (tourism). ICT, at that time, had not come on the scene as a separate sector.
Meanwhile, everybody needs to be reminded that the 4 sectors cannot be revived or expanded if you do not have infrastructure, those neutral but crucial elements. These are: electricity, roads, the railway, water works, telecommunications, ICT backbone etc. Without these, no modern sector can operate. How can you transport farm produce if you do not have roads? How will you manufacture or run hotels if you do not have electricity? There is also linkage with the three elements I have already talked about: peace, education and health – which also need social infrastructure already talked about (schools, health centres, etc.).
However, before we link the four sectors with the infrastructure, we must ask one question: What caused the collapse of 1971? We say the island of the 3Cs and 3 Ts collapsed following the coup of Idi Amin in 1971. In fact, the coup of 1971 was the last scene in the collapse that started in 1964 when the unprincipled marriage between the UPC and KY collapsed on the nonsensical and sick quarrel over the “lost counties” – Buyaga and Bugangaizi (present day Kibaale District). You, then, had the 1966 crisis etc., etc. What was behind all this? Ideological bankruptcy. I do not want to go back to the pre-colonial times when our area was tormented by wars of the tribal Kings and how those fratricidal conflicts enabled the colonialists to take over the whole of Africa, with the horrors that went with it. I covered that in my Mzee Mandela speech at Makerere University last year and in other documents. The copies of that speech are here.
By confining ourselves to the events that followed the Independence, we find that on account of the ideological bankruptcy, of the unprincipled exploitation of identity (religion and tribes), the more useful issues, such as the interest (okugasirwa, okuganyirwa), were forgotten. Emphasis was laid on identity of religion or tribe (enzikiriza z’ediini or amawanga). Since all the religious sects and all the tribes in Uganda are minorities, one could not, therefore, get a party that could marshal enough support to form a Government. Hence, the alliance of KY and UPC. KY, a party for Baganda Protestants and some Moslems, UPC, a party for Protestants outside Buganda and DP, a party for Catholics. UPC had got 37 seats outside Buganda, with quite abit of manipulation and DP had got 24 seats outside Buganda. KY, which had blocked direct elections in Buganda, had the monopoly of the 21 seats in Buganda. I was a member of DP while my colleagues, the Kintu Musokes, Bidandi Ssalis, Kirunda Kivejinjas, Nabuderes, Chango Machyos, Kategayas, Rugundas etc. were in UPC. This sectarian and sterile politics of identity did not only block the emergence of viable national parties but also sabotaged the building of a national Army. Karugaba, the first Ugandan graduate from Sandhurst, could not be allowed to even remain in the Army because he was Catholic.
Starting with 1965, some of the youth from DP, like myself, as well as some of the youth from UPC, like the Kategayas and the Rugundas, partly on account of being exposed to global political movements, started seeing the danger of this sectarian politics. We started seeing it as bogus, false, sterile and dangerous. I have exposed that sectarianism elsewhere. Suffice it here to say that we evolved and held fast to the four principles: Patriotism, Pan Africanism, Social-Economic transformation and Democracy. It is around these four principles that we built the NRA (the National Resistance Army), the NRM and prosecuted the Resistance war until victory. After the victory in 1986, the mass movement around the RCs (Resistance Councils) has ensured the unity of the People. This unity, translated into repeated electoral victories ever since 1994 for the CA, has given us time to resurrect the island of modernity and expand it even when our population was growing. You remember that I rejected, repeatedly, the shrill cries of NGOs about population control etc. The problem of Africa has been, actually, under-population and not over population. Africa is 12 times the size of India in land area. Yet, even today when the population of Africa has somewhat gone up, the 1.25billion of Africans are still fewer than the 1.3billion of Indians.
Going back to the resurrection and expansion of the island of modernity (the former 3Cs and 3Ts), what are the figures like
Here below are the figures:
||Sugar (metric tonnes)
||Cotton (metric tonnes)
||Beer (million litres)
||Beef (metric tonnes)
||Soft Drinks (Sodas-million litres)
Fertilizers (metric tonnes)
Hence, in the last 32 years, the NRM, all other problems notwithstanding, has not only resurrected the island of modernity but has greatly expanded it. That is why the GDP of Uganda which was US$ 3.4 billion in 1986 by the PPP method, is now US$88.6billion. Only the other day, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade of Kenya told me that for some years now, Uganda has been exporting more to Kenya, month by month, than Kenya has been exporting to Uganda. Here below are the figures by months:
Uganda’s bi-lateral trade with Kenya:
|Source: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics
I never waste time finding out which pygmy is taller than the other one, which is a permanent occupation of some other actors; however, in terms of gauging Uganda’s recovery, it is not a useless yardstick
Therefore, fellow Ugandans, the NRM has protected the health of Ugandans by, mainly immunizing them; has protected them from war and terrorism; has educated them and has revived and expanded the island of modernity. The big four: peace, health, education and the minimum economic recovery and development. The NRM has, however, done something else. Together with the African compatriots, it has worked on the integration of Africa: East Africa Community (EAC), Common market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). While some other actors are always busy trying to revive the sectarianism of religion and tribes, the NRM is always working for patriotism (unity within Uganda) and Pan-Africanism. The biggest enemies of Africa (in the past, today and tomorrow) are the chauvinists of tribe and religion. We insist on the Patriotism and Pan-Africanism not only as a correct principle of brotherhood among similar or linked people, but also as an unavoidable strategy for ensuring the prosperity of our people. Some years ago, we had a glut (ekyengera, omweru) of milk because the production was higher than the consumption inside Uganda. Some people left the Dairy Sector altogether. Who rescued us? East Africa. The surplus 1.7billion litres is being taken by East Africa and also the World. Recently, we had a glut of maize. The price collapsed. East Africa is the only one that can rescue us. Patriotism and Pan Africanism are a matter of survival for our people. We shall always resist these misleaders and for good reason.
It is not enough to quote the figures of production of industry, agriculture, services or ICT without highlighting the role of infrastructure in all this. Infrastructure is the neutral but indispensable base of production. If you do not have electricity which is cheap, how will you produce factory goods that are able to compete in price and quality with other goods of other producers? If the transport costs are very high, how will our goods compete with the goods of other countries? If the costs of transport, electricity, etc., etc. are high, how will the companies make profit? The NRM had, therefore, to solve the problem of infrastructure even when we did not have enough money. Do you remember when we used Soya beans to construct Mityana –Mubende road with the Yugoslavs? Do you remember when we had to use the East African compensation fund to construct Mbale – Kapchorwa Road with Mzee Moi? In 2006, I put my foot down and persuaded the NRM leaders, in the Cabinet and in the caucus, to suppress the other expenditures and concentrate on the roads and electricity. That is how you now have the new roads of:
- Mbarara–Ishaka –Katunguru (on going);
- Mpigi–Kanoni –Maddu –Ssembabule –Nyendo;
- Musita–Namayingo –Busia;
- Mukono–Katosi –Nyenga
- Bwaise –Luwero–Kafu –Gulu;
- Olwiyo –Koch –Goma –Gulu –Kitgum –Musiingo;
- Moroto –Nakapiripirit;
- Moroto –Kangole –Katakwi –Soroti;
- Matugga –Semuto –Kapeeka;
- Hoima –Kaiso-Tonya;
- Tororo –Mbale –Soroti;
- Mbale –Tirinyi–Nakalama;
- Ibaanda –Kamwengye –Fort Portal;
- Mubende –Kakumiro –Kagadi –Ndaiga;
- Mukono –Kayunga –Kangulumira –Njeru
All these roads with a total length of 6,027 kms have been built or reconstructed solely depending on the Uganda Government Money. Then, there are other roads worked on using either grants from outside or soft loans. Of course, this is also our money because we pay back the loans, with interest, moreover. Each year we pay US$264 million in order to return the money we borrowed in the past known as debt servicing. Anyway, using loans and grants (the latter are only 1% of the two), we have done or are planning to do the following roads:
- Karuma–Pakwach –Arua - Koboko Road;
- Gulu –Atiak –Nimule;
- Soroti–Dokolo –Lira;
- Masaka–Mbarara –Kabale –Katuna;
- Kabale–Kisoro –Bunagana –Cyanika;
- Fort-Portal–Bundibugyo –Busunga;
- Kigumba–Masindi –Hoima –Kagadi –Kyenjojo;
- Nansana–Busunju –Kiboga –Hoima;
- Nyakahita –Kazo –Ibaanda;
- Mbale –Magale –Buumbo –Lwakhakha;
- Kapchorwa –Bukwo –Suam;
- Rwenkunyu –Apach –Lira–Acholibur; etc., etc.
By the same strategy of belt tightening, we have increased electricity generation in the country (the amount of electricity and the transmission of the electricity). In 1986, the electricity being produced in Uganda was a mere 60 mgws. When Karuma, Isimba and Agago (all nearing completion) plus the numerous mini-hydros are completed, our total production will be 2,216 mgws. We are aiming at 17,000 mgws in the next 10 years. We shall develop all the sites on the Nile (such as Ayago, Uhuru, Kiba, Oryang, Murchison etc.), all the geo-thermal potential (ebitagata - hot springs), all the solar potential, some thermal (oil) stations and nuclear stations using our vast uranium deposits. As of today, electricity has been extended to all the districts except for Kotido and Kaabong. Nevertheless, the implementation plan for connecting these districts is underway.
By these five measures (peace, health through immunization, education, regional integration and infrastructure development), we have been able to not only resurrect the small island of modernity of the 3Cs and 3Ts but have greatly expanded it as already outlined above. Here, I will not talk about the other strategic bottlenecks that are also being solved. This is to limit the area of scope for today.
Right now, with the phenomenon of having abundant electricity, which will be cheaper and cheaper as we solve the distortions caused by our corrupt officials, Uganda has reached the take-off point. When I started the Uganda Manufacturers Association with the Late Mulwana, our membership used to be around 80 companies. The factories that we have in Uganda are now standing at 4,725. Only last week, before I left for China, I opened four new factories in one week: one for cement, one for electronic products and 2 for tea. Many factories are in the pipeline for opening. You will be hearing about them. Namanve Industrial Park already has 31 completed, 197 being constructed and 74 in plan for construction. New Industrial Parks are springing up: Kapeeka, Mbale, Tororo, Mbalala, Kaweweeta, Luzira, Jinja etc., etc. This is apart from so many individual factories – like the ones one sees along Gulu road.
With the five points – peace, health, education, regional integration and infrastructure, Uganda is beginning to gallop. We shall soon add on the issue of a modern train that will make the transport of goods cheaper. Transport of a tonne of goods from Mombasa to Kampala is currently US$150. With the Standard Gauge Railway, it will come down to US$74 - a drop of more than 50%. I am not sure that this is all the savings we can achieve. We shall continue to study this. With the Uganda Development Bank, we are addressing the question of the cost of money for factories and agriculture. With low electricity costs, low transport costs, low cost of money and with the 10 years tax holidays, Uganda is unstoppable, given what we have already done with education, health, other elements of infrastructure already mentioned and regional integration. I have, therefore, taken the trouble to remind you about all this so as to help you reject and treat with contempt it deserves, the present campaign against Uganda by some indisciplined elements or those working with or on the behalf of some external groups that we have detected. Those elements, separately or jointly, cannot stop the galloping forward of Uganda’s economy. Their malice may temporarily affect sectors like tourism but that will be compensated for by customers from other sources. This take off point could have been achieved earlier if partners like the World Bank had been serious. Unfortunately, they never bother with the basics of the pre-capitalist economies, items like the railway, electricity etc. Instead, they spend so much time on social issues: women rights, homo sexual rights, education, etc. How will you handle social issues if the economy is not growing? How will the economy grow if you do not lower the costs of production and how will the costs of production go down if you do not work on electricity, railway, etc.? Anyway, we had to tighten our belts and build the roads and the electricity by ourselves. We are going to build the railway either by ourselves or with the Chinese support. The Chinese friends also helped us with the electricity and the ICT backbone.
Uganda has never had such a good chance in the last 500 years. The agents of foreign interests and some internal reactionary groups may not see this. However, the people of Uganda see this clearly. That is why, recently, the NRM scored 90% victory in both the LCI elections and the Women Council elections if you include the NRM Independents. Big shock for the mendacious Opposition and its foreign backers.
Nevertheless, there are six areas of weakness that we must address. The first is corruption by Government officials who take bribes. These are easy to uproot. Just get information on them and pass it on to the toll-free number 0800-100770 belonging to my office. This is in addition to a unit I announced during the June 2018 State of the Nation address. You will see what we shall do with them. You heard what I did with the officials in the Ministry of Finance, Immigration and Uganda Revenue Authority. This is a problem that persists because the crooks are not exposed.
Secondly, the indisciplined Opposition politicians that are accused of terrorism against the population, conspiracy to commit arson or treason should be handled firmly by all concerned – the Police, the Prosecution and the Courts. We should not allow these wrong doers to intimidate our people. Telling lies to foreigners will not help them because the facts are on the ground.
Thirdly, rescuing our youth from those indisciplined politicians. The allegations go that foreign money through NGOs, is given to some of our youth to burn tyres on the roads, to throw stones, to commit arson, to rig elections and to beat women. Sometimes, our youth go into these criminal projects because they want money. They do not enjoy doing this. I have this information on good authority. Many of the young people have some education or even good education but they have no jobs, no property and no capital. I addressed this issue during my State of the Nation address in June, 2018.
The effort that we have already deployed of empowering the youth to take part in producing products for import-substitution and export promotion will be expanded to include these youth. These youth are not a problem but an asset. The purchasing power of Uganda is growing. If our youth are helped to produce goods, the Ugandans will buy them; or they will be bought in the region; or, if the quality is assured, those goods will go to external markets.
The NRM MPs, working with me, will ensure that funds are available to expand what we have already started with the Kampala Girl Child, in Najeera, in Rukungiri, in Luwero, etc. All these products the traders are importing from Dubai, China etc. can be made here by our youth. Products like shoes, sweaters, leather bags, garments, processed foods such as maize flour (akahuunga), animal feeds, furniture, carpets, scholastic materials etc., etc. All they need is support and training. How many unemployed graduates do we have? Can’t these run a maize milling operation if they are helped? The ones we supported in Nansana are doing very well. How about leather tanning? How about shoe-making? How about knitting? How about weaving? The more educated ones are engaged in making the Kiira and Kayoola, the solar electric cars and mini-buses, as well as food processing using the Government provided Innovation Fund.
Fourthly, the urban crime that saw the death of the Sheikhs, of Joan Kagezi, Kiggundu, Kawesi, Magara, Abiriga had scared people. Some of the criminals in these murders have been identified, arrested and they are in Courts. We have built up capacity to defeat rural terrorism decisively and rapidly. This is because in the bush, if the enemy is walking through the grass and leaves a track (ekisinde, ekirari), you can easily trace him; in the mountain, he has to pass through certain choke points (obufuunda) where you can block and make it impossible for the terrorists to move. There are also other technical means that help to track the enemies in the rural areas. The criminals in the urban areas are not strong at all. Their main weapon is concealment. In the rural areas, we acquired all the means to nullify the concealment of the terrorists.
In the towns where the criminal does not create a physical kisinde, there are only three methods of shattering the terrorist concealment. First method is prior intelligence when you know who is planning a crime, you gather enough evidence, apprehend the criminal at the conspiratorial stage and bring him to the Courts of Law. It is clear that the intelligence has been weak in the cases where the murders have been committed, like in the cases of Kagezi and the others. This weak area is being strengthened. The second method is to rely on the human beings at the scene of the crime that was being committed – the eye witnesses and the other clues that the criminal may be leaving behind. The third method is to deploy more technical means in detecting and witnessing possible crimes. By the last, we mean cameras, drones and other means. All those areas are being strengthened in the towns as they were in the countryside. When we say strengthening, we mean strengthening. The proof of this is the fact that we have been having huge pre-announced events like the Commonwealth Meeting in 2007, the visit of the Pope twice, the annual Namugongo Martyrs Day when 3 million people gather there etc., without even a single incident of terrorism. It is only when we are relaxed that you get those gaps that the criminals and terrorists use. Another source of terrorist infiltration is, of course, Congo where the terrorists are preserved by the UN, just next to our border. Like we defeated rural terrorism from Congo without anybody’s support, we shall also defeat the residual urban crime and terrorism whatever the source.
Fifthly, is to bring discipline and balance in the media (TVs, radios, newspapers and social-media). These, most of the time, report in a tendecious and mendacious manner. The Government and the NRM have been asleep when it comes to media management. This is, partly, the old practice of the NRA. We never propagandized but fought and the victories spoke for themselves. Even when we captured Kampala, very few people outside Uganda believed we had that capacity. Even today, it is still largely true that doing does more publicity than just talking. The massive wins by the NRM in the recent LC1 and Women Council elections in spite of the massive lying by the biased press and media, confirms this. Even the win of President Trump in the USA in 2016 in spite of the papers there and the CNNs de-campaigning him, picking faults etc., points to the fact that media lying cannot, in some cases, obscure reality. To shout on social-media, NBS TV, NTV, Okot Ogong’s radio in Lira or even CNN that the NRM is useless to the citizens of Atanga, Acholibur etc. or the ones of Atiak, Pabbo and Bibia or the ones of Katakwi and Moroto when they are seeing brand new tarmac roads in their area, will discredit the media rather than the Government. That is why the people ignored the media and voted massively for the NRM in the LC1s, Women Council elections and in all the by-elections and elections since 2016 except for Kyadondo, Jinja East, Rukungiri and Bugiri Municipality. These are just four out of a total of 35 Parliamentary seats and LCV elections or the by-elections since the General elections.
It is actually the killings of the Sheikhs, Kagezi, Kaweesi, Abiriga and Magara that made many Ugandans worried about security. The same was true of the beatings of the NRM women and intimidation with impunity by the Opposition that gets people in the towns worried. Firm legal action, counter-mobilization and development efforts quickly stamp out this lawlessness. That was how walk to work in 2011 and “making Uganda ungovernable in 2016” were defeated.
Nevertheless, since Uganda today, given what we have already put on the ground as the foundation, being a very rich country in the first place, is on a rapid growth and transformation trajectory, we should not allow the diversion of any of our people by the tendecious and mendacious media – local or foreign. Organizationally and technically, we are going to deploy means to handle this sabotage. The fight between an Opposition MP and the Police may be interesting and should be reported. How, then, about the 600 megawatts Karuma hydro-power station for a country which had only 60 megawatts in 1986? Why don’t you report that also so that we know that you are a media person who is professional and informative? If you do not and instead you do only report the fight between the MP and Police, but you turn it into a campaign (kuyimbilila) hour after hour, day after day, don’t you lose your credibility as a source of information for the public and the world? Isn’t society, who desire and are entitled to develop their businesses, their areas, their country, justified in looking for ways of how to resist your unfairness? Young people have even been telling me that what matters is not facts but that it is perception. In otherwords, what matters is not what happens but what people perceive to have happened? Is it good for the world to only appreciate appearance rather than facts? Are you not deluding yourself when you believe like that
I have been watching the contest between these two ideas: “do not do but appear to do” versus “Do and actions will speak for themselves” for the last 55 years. In 1963, China had a GDP of US$. 50.7billion while the UK had a GDP of US$. 85.4billion France 85.6billion Germany US$44.5billion and the USA a GDP of US$ 637.5billion. It was number five in the hierarchy of development. Very few African countries had diplomatic relations with China because they were listening to the dictates of the Western countries because they were anti-China for ideology and political reasons. The Western media, believing in the principle of appearing and not doing, continually demonized the Chinese and the communists in general, never mind that the communist Soviet Union had just saved Europe from the demonic Hitler. Here, in Africa, only the far-sighted leaders like our elder Mwalimu Nyerere and some of us the students, saw the correctness of establishing close relationship with the Chinese because they had also been victims of colonialism and aggression. We were not communists, but we rejected the subjectivism of saying that those who do not do what I do are automatically wrong. Today, China is the second richest country in the world and it will overtake the USA by the year 2025 in GDP size. What, then, do the proponents of “appearing rather than doing” say? In the last Beijing Summit, 39 Heads of State and heads of Government from Africa were there in person. Then there were a number of Vice Presidents and Prime Ministers. Doing has overcome appearing in this case.
The NRM is strengthening Uganda actually as I have shown above in reality. Nevertheless, there is no harm in having a responsible and truthful press, at least, within Uganda. We can, then, see how to deal with the racist foreign media which believes that Africans are incapable of doing anything right unless they are puppets of Western interests. The West has had a lot of puppets in Africa since 1960 – Mobutu, Banda, Idi Amin, Habyarimana, Kayibanda etc. – who destroyed those African countries. Patriots, some of whom may have their own mistakes, where they are in charge, have reversed the decline of Africa. Uganda is certainly on the ascent.
Sixth and, finally, the NRM must stand firmly and unequivocally with the Bibanja holders in Buganda, Ankole, Tooro and Bunyoro where that evil system had been introduced by the British. The British in 1928 had seen the evil of that system of theirs and introduced a Decree to ameliorate the suffering of the Bibanjapeople in the form of the Busuuluand Nvujjoso called Law (in effect a Decree because there was no Parliament) of 1928. This provided that while the collaborator landlords retained the ownership (obwananyini), the bibanja owners could not be evicted except with the permission of the Governor and would only pay nominal rent, not commercial rent, of only Shs.8 per annum. The Bibanja owners had some relief and the Law stayed like that until 1975 when Amin brought in his Decree which, actually, abolished the Mailo-land but, of course, without discussion because that was Amin’s way. The NRM would have whole-heartedly supported Amin’s Decree except for one point. When, in 1928, the British had reigned in their collaborator chiefs by stopping them from excessively looting the Bibanja owners, many landlords had sold off their ownership to new people. It was, of course, wrong for anybody to buy land occupied by people unless you were ready to equitably negotiate with them and compensate them fairly on a willing buyer, willing seller basis so that you use the land for production, not for the feudal relationship of owning people instead of owning cattle, goats or coffee. Nevertheless, since the NRM never wants to be unfair to anybody – Bibanja owner or landlord, in the 1995 Constitution we, more or less, went back to the British position of 1928: ownership for the landlord retained; no eviction for the bibanja owners except for the refusal to pay the nominal rent; and only nominal rent to be paid and never commercial rent. We also established the Land Fund which could be expanded later to enable the bibanja owners to pay off the landlords so that the latter also do commercial agriculture in part of the land that is free or go to industry, services or ICT, the other sectors of the economy.
This was a deliberate, win-win compromise so as to keep our people united. After all, both the landlords and the Bibanja owners were members of the NRM. In Kufu, Namwandu Mulyanti, a landlord, was our supporter. The other residents – Muburizi Wamala, Kakwaya, Sinabulya etc., etc. were bibanja owners and were the main support of the NRM. It was our duty to harmonize the interests of our people. Unfortunately, some myopic and greedy people think that they are too clever and what the NRM thinks does not matter. Working with the corrupt Magistrates and the security personnel, they have been massively and illegally evicting the bibanja owner families, many of them the historical supporters of the NRM and, in the main, being responsible for the return of democracy to Uganda and the return of the traditional institutions like the Kabakaship through their support for the NRM. Therefore, the bibanja owners be assured that the NRM and myself, as your leader in the resistance, will not abandon you. If some of the landlords do not want a win-win solution, which is the NRM way, we shall stand with you. I thank Justice Bamugemereire for moving in some of the areas and exposing the criminality of the landlords.
Therefore, Ugandans, this lengthy speech is to assure you that Uganda is on the ascent; nobody will bring it down, no matter how hard they try. We have very powerful internal forces that will combine to defeat the primitive fascists backed by external parasitic elements. We are in the process of tightening the weak points. Be calm and supportive. The rest we shall handle.
As far as the external relations are concerned, we always work with the African countries, the Asian countries, the Latin American countries in the South-south Co-operation. This is what we did in the anti-colonial struggle, this is what we are doing now. We work with the Soviet Union (Russia) because it stood with us in the anti-colonial struggle ever since 1917 when the communists took power in that country. We work with the countries of the British Commonwealth and with the European Union under the ACP-EU Lome arrangements. We work with the USA under the AGOA arrangement which, helped by our sister Rosa Whitaker, I negotiated with President Bill Clinton. With the European Countries, we share the religion of Christianity and basic principles of democracy. With the USA, 12% of the population of that country are Africans. In all these arrangements, it is important that external players refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Interfering in the internal affairs of other countries is morally and practically wrong. Morally wrong because the question is: “What superior intelligence do you have to think that you can understand the problem in my house better that we the occupants? If there is a problem in our house, we the occupants will solve it. Keep out. It is also practically wrong because outsiders cannot have enough information about a foreign situation. They are most likely to make mistakes. The examples are numerous: Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya. When foreigners were chased from Vietnam, it is now one of the fastest growing economies in the World. What was the justification for foreigners making so much chaos about something they did not understand? Besides, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Why does a section of the USA spend so much time trying to prove that President Trump’s election was, somehow, through the hacking of some computers, aided by external forces and see no problem in openly encouraging indisciplined elements from friendly countries? If there is any problem in Uganda, I, surely, will handle it better than the outsider. I think the accusation against President Trump is that the Russians hacked the computers of somebody to get bad information about Hillary Clinton, the candidate that was competing with him. It is so serious that some of them talk of impeaching President Trump if it turned out to be true: yet, it would be merely giving information by the Russians to the detriment of the candidate they did not prefer. Assistance with information. In Africa, on the other hand, NGOs funded by foreign Governments, actually give money to opposition players, give advice, lie on their behalf etc. These foreigners may think that Africans are weak and foolish. Indeed, that is what Henry Kissinger is reported to have said once in 1973 in the Arab-Israel war.
However, God, sometimes, stands with the weak. Africa may one day surprise those who abuse her. In this case, we, the sleeping Ugandans, seeking to operationalize Article (1) of our Constitution which says that all power belongs to the people of Uganda, may have to enact the Sovereignty Act where citizens who helped foreigners to interfere in our politics would attract appropriate legal sanctions. I thank the Americans for reminding us by harassing Mr. Trump on this alledged connections with the Russians.
The issue of torture which has been bandied around so much in recent times, like all the issues of security in Uganda, is something that will not take me 10 minutes to understand. I have either been watching or observing these issues for the last 56 years. Indeed, on the 20thJune, 2018, I wrote a circular letter to all the security personnel when this issue was raised in the media. Which genius in the World can understand this issue more than some of us that have been handling all this for so long? Here is a copy of that letter.
There has been so much talk about the torture by the security forces of people like Hons: Bobi Wine and Zaake. This talk is in the media and in other non-Court fora. Yet, these are matters in the Courts of Law. The questions in the minds of those who love fairness are the following: “What if those allegations turn out to be false? How will the accusers, local and foreign, rectify the injustice they have done to the Security forces? If any one of them implied or said that where I commented on the Arua events since I was on the scene, I was telling lies, will I be entitled to damages? That will be good for my Party, the NRM. Some of the NGO money via the Opposition may, in the end, help to fund the NRM. Final question in this connection: “Do the Security Forces personnel have rights according to these “human rights” activists or are they to be assaulted, beaten, stoned or maligned with impunity?.”
Uganda is not a failed state. It has powerful institutions: the armed forces, the LC structures, the Leagues, the District Parliaments (Councils – 123 of them), the National Parliament, the Ministries etc., etc. These have handled the issues of Uganda from a very low base to where it is now. If there are people of good will, the World is not short of vacuum areas, where there is no state authority. They could, surely, help there if they have some redundant capacity. There is Afghanistan, Somalia, Eastern Congo, Iraq, Yemen etc.
Ugandans you liberated yourselves from tyranny and death. See the mass graves in the Luwero Triangle. We are the only ones that can guarantee our future. The way it was in the past, so it is today and so it shall in the future. We are the ones to guarantee our future working with friends that respect our sovereignty and our intelligence.
Coming to the Political Parties, apart from the legal and court solutions, there is the standing arrangement of political dialogue through Interparty Organization for Dialogue (IPOD). I am going to ask the NRM delegates to that forum to raise the issue of political violence, the issue of alleged torture, the issue of inter-party support for taking advantage of the youth dividend by expanding their empowerment that has already started. Cabinet decided that the State House Comptroller, Madam Lucy Nakyobe, should head this effort because she has already started and what she has done has been successful.
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
Sunday, September 9, 2018