NRM Government: A Critique

Published on 26th January 2010

Your Excellency  Yower Kaguta Museveni, your illustrious political career has largely been and is still, a blessing to our country Uganda, in many respects. Ever since, NRM came to power under your leadership in 1986, our economy has been moving forward and performing well, due to the good micro and macro economic policies ushered in by the NRM. Extra judicial killings have reduced and we are now in an Era based on the rule of law. I was recently in northern Uganda. This former troubled part of the country is now peaceful and people are returning to their former ancestral homes.

With diplomatic relations fully restored with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, Uganda is now enjoying good external relations with all her neighbors and with other countries the world over.

However, Mr. President Sir, all these great achievements cannot exonerate you from many on going problems in our country which NRM under your leadership are responsible for. These problems are persisted high levels of corruption in various governments’ institutions, high levels of unemployment, poverty, environmental degradation among others. All these problems need to be dealt with an iron hand which you are not currently applying.

Although Uganda has over the years been registering high economic growth rates (currently standing at around 7.5% per annum) a large percentage of our population (68%) is solely engaged in a hand to mouth production. This definitely implies high levels of poverty amidst the highly acclaimed progress.

Alarming corruption in Uganda is hampering efficient delivery of services. This is a reason why, poverty alleviation projects like National Agricultural advisory services (Naads) poverty Eradication Action plan among others, have failed to lift Ugandans from the shackles of poverty. The billions of shillings injected into these projects are always stolen by the officials in charge of them.

You need to closely work with existing corruption fighting institutions to put in place and operationalise  tough anti-corruption laws like public execution of corruption  culprits, compulsory selling off of assets of corruption culprits, freezing off their Banks accounts both at home and abroad and imprisoning them for life.

Some government officials are hesitant to releasing information within the government departments for public consumption. How can we hold them accountable? Consider what is going on in our infant oil industry. A lot of developments are hidden from the public. You need explain how Ugandans will benefit from that oil and table the agreement your government  made  with  western companies engaged in prospecting and exploitation of oil.

The access to information act (AIA) 2005 which entitles citizens to information in government hands, needs to fully operatianulised. You ought to work with various stakeholders like media practitioners, lawyers, among others, to put in places an appeal mechanism where by any who fails to get information within the government department, can take his complaint and be heard. Additionally, an independent commission to monitor the implementation of the Act should be established.

Mr. President Sir, tribalism and nepotism are highly evident in your government. Ever since you come to power in 1986, the westerners have dominated other people in respect of sharing the national cake. Outside your family, the  chief of the defense forces Aronda Nyakairima is a westerner, so is the inspector General of police Kale Kayihura and commissioner General  of prisons Johnson Byabashaija. The Revenue authority privatization unit, Uganda export promotions board civil Aviation authority are full of Westerners. Tribalism, if left unchecked can promote ethnic violence and you know very well that some of the past wars in Africa and other on going wars in our continent have been and are due to ethnicity.

Your Excellency sir, there are so many incidences, where you have personally reversed decisions made by the institutions established by the Act of parliament. One wonders, whether you are really interested in building strong institutions.In 2005, you directed Prime Minister, Apollo Nsibambi to avail to BIDCO four central government forest reserves on Buggala Island in Karalangala district for the cultivation of palm trees, a decision which was fully implemented. You did this in total disregard of the National Forest Authority decision which had ruled out any proposal to turn the forest reserve into other uses. NFA had  by then carried out a study and found out that forest reserves were economically sensitive areas  with potential to support ecotourism. You have personally been involved in giving out land to some investors and directing certain markets to be given to certain groups of people.

You should let the established institutions do their work without you interference but only interfere if they are failing to execute their mandate as prescribed by  the law.

On the issue of land, the land bill which you recently signed if operationalised, will stop the rampant illegal evictions of the lawful and bonafide occupant in the country. But then, it will not address the real core land issues in Uganda like land ownership, land use and land management problems. We need a comprehensive national land policy  born out of  nationwide consultations.

Finally your Excellency Mr. president sir, I have written this letter for public consumption in good faith and with a profound belief that if the reforms that I have talked about are put in place in your government, our country, will move a step forward in becoming a better place to live in.

By Hategeka Moses,

A Ugandan based governance researcher and public affairs analyst.

E-MAIL:[email protected]

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