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Uganda’s Leap Forward | Rtd. Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu’s Speech at the launch of FDC Party Agenda

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Posted March 12, 2015 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Politics ~ 2,350 views

     

Your Excellencies — Invited Guests, Ladies and gentlemen in your respective capacities On behalf of the members and supporters of the Forum for Democratic Change and many Ugandans across this country who share the values and aspirations that we stand for, I welcome you to this historic event when we launch our policy agenda for triggering Uganda’s Leap Forward.

Let me first of all acknowledge with gratitude and respect the distinguished service of my predecessor Col.(Rtd) Dr. Kizza Besigye and all of you leaders of our party for your collective and individual contribution in building our Party. Party Chairperson, Madam Joyce Sebugwawo, thank you for your continued leadership and stewardship. Thank you Madam Secretary General and your team and everybody else that has worked tirelessly to organize this event.
Yesterday March 8, 2015 was the International Women’s Day. As a Party, we celebrate the great contributions of all Ugandan women. Those who till our farmlands, those who teach our children, those who spend sleepless nights looking after the sick, those who serve in our military, at home and abroad, those who serve in our police, prisons and intelligence services and all those running businesses, or work in our public service and the mothers of the Nation.
The values that I espouse are an outcome of the nurturing of my mother. I would not be what I am if it was not for the sacrifices and huge influence that my mother had on shaping my character. A tough disciplinarian, hard working woman of impeccable values, she was. May God rest her soul in eternal peace.
Thank you Anna Adeke for honoring this occasion and for your wonderful speech. There perhaps could be no better way to celebrate the Ugandan women and our young people than listening to you share their dreams and aspirations.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Today, I am profoundly humbled and honored to present to you our Party policy agenda for triggering Uganda’s Leap Forward. Uganda’s Leap Forward is our contract with you the people. It is a contract to create a new dispensation and build a new foundation for creating opportunities for all and bring about boundless opportunities and shared prosperity.

Today’s challenges are clear and we are conscious of the burden and task before us. We have had over two decades of jobless growth. Our country is among the 50 most corrupt countries out of 176 countries ranked in the Corruption Perception Index.
Our country is ranked as the most corrupt among the partner states of the East African Community according to the East African Bribery Index (2012).

And the Global Integrity Report 2011-12 noted for a second year running that corruption is the biggest obstacle to doing business in Uganda. Parents across this country work very hard and sell the last of their assets to send their children to school only for them to graduate into a jobless market.

Official statistics tell us that poverty levels have gone down but out of every 100 Ugandans, 40 of them live on the edge and stand the risk of slipping back into poverty. For over half a century since Independence, we have failed to restructure our curriculum to respond to the needs of a changing global economic architecture, the digital age and growing competitiveness.

The introduction of Universal Primary Education in 1997 has been hailed as a signature accomplishment of the ruling party. But we know that out of the 2.1 million children reported to have been enrolled in Primary One, only 485,703 sat for Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE). Since then, an average of 1.5 million children remain unaccounted for every after 7 years.
How is it possible that we keep on congratulating ourselves for improving education service delivery and yet we cannot provide a decent learning environment, much less provide a decent meal to our Nation’s children?

I can go on and on to highlight the many challenges and failures but this is not for this moment. Today, we want to share with you a policy package that will help create a new momentum to grow the economy, create decent jobs and expand opportunity for every Ugandan.

FDC

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Let me state clearly that we by no means discount the progress that we have made as a country. And we acknowledge each of our leaders who have made a contribution towards this progress, however minimal. However, we believe that the foundation beneath whatever progress has been made in the last 52 years is unstable and could give way when subjected to more stress.

The limits of the current leadership of our country need not be emphasized. More importantly, the limits of the policies that are being pursued are quite evident. Economic growth has slowed down over the last 5 years, income inequality is on the rise, levels of unemployment are frightening, the delivery of public services has almost ground to a halt, and we are experiencing systematic democratic reversals.

As a people, we can choose to remain in a state of denial. However, the idea that a new leadership with a new set of ideas, a new commitment and greater discipline is needed cannot be overemphasized. We need to trigger and sustain a new momentum to spur inclusive growth, eradicate extreme poverty that is trapping over 40 percent of our people in perpetual vulnerability and create a new optimism for our young people.
Today, I am greatly honored to present to you and the people of Uganda our Four Point Action Plan to trigger Uganda’s Leap Forward to a future of opportunity and shared prosperity.

• A plan to invest in our people and expand opportunity for every Ugandan;
• A plan to re-engineer new sources of growth and create well-paying and decent jobs for our people;
• A plan to strengthen our national security, create a new leadership and strengthen our public service; and
• A plan to build people-centered regional integration and global partnerships.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
For the FDC, human development is more than the mere production of goods and services, or the building of roads, bridges and dams, or even the rise or fall in gross national revenue and per capita income.
It is about creating an environment in which citizens can develop their full potential, lead productive lives in line with their needs, interests and our collective national aspirations.
This is why our plan to invest in our people and expand opportunity focuses on:

• building a people-centered and resilient economy built around economic freedom, free enterprise and strong worker and social protection programmes;
• giving every Ugandan child an opportunity to learn, compete and succeed here and abroad;
• building a functional, well-resourced public healthcare services system and establishing an effective national healthcare insurance policy that cares for all our citizens; and
• a systematic plan to accelerate the formation and retention of skilled human capital.

(Economic policy)
The overriding goal of our economic policy is to eradicate extreme poverty and accelerate the attainment of shared prosperity for all Ugandans, with particular emphasis on the 40 per cent of our fellow Ugandans who are at the bottom of our economic strata.
In pursuing this goal, we will guarantee economic freedom as the basic foundation for innovation and economic justice. Through appropriate policies and legislation, we will ensure descent conditions at the work place for Ugandan workers. We undertake to establish a strong social security safety net that protects every citizen.
We have outlined a package of policies that will dramatically improve the investment climate for both nationals and foreign investors. These include strengthening the rule of law, creating a skilled workforce, a strong monetary policy and, a systematic and comprehensive investment programme in transport and energy infrastructure.
I can promise you fellow Ugandans that Government under FDC will not stop at complaining about bureaucratic red tape, as is the habit of the incumbent ruling party. The FDC will promptly and expeditiously fix the problem, reduce the cost of doing business and get businesses growing and expanding.
We believe that strong local governments are the foundations for building local economic and social infrastructure, improving public service delivery, and increasing demand for accountability and good governance.
That is why we will dedicate a significant percentage of the national budget towards local government funding through discretionary funding mechanisms.

(Education policy)
We have outlined an education policy that puts emphasis on the collective responsibility of the state, parents and guardians in ensuring the delivery of quality and rewarding education for our children.
Our education policies and measures will tremendously and systematically transform our Nation’s education system to create the next generation of quality human capital needed to trigger Uganda’s Leap Forward, while giving all Ugandan children an opportunity to fulfill their dreams and contribute to growing our economy and strengthening our democracy.
FDC led Government will adopt policies and measures that give honor to our Nation’s teachers who do a heroic job operating at the frontline of our education system.
In particular, we are committed to establishing a remuneration and compensation system that honors the long hours that our teachers put in, build their pride and reward them for the sacrifice they make in the classroom every day.

(Health policy)
We have outlined a coherent policy agenda to address our health challenges including the commitment to revamp our Nation’s referral system. We will invest in inspiring our health workers to create a new generation of a health workforce that takes pride in patient satisfaction.
We will realign the health sector governance institutions to remove duplication of effort, improve intra-system accountability and resource local governments to take responsibility for ensuring effective delivery of health services at the local level.
i) Re-engineering new sources of growth and stimulating job creation by implementing game-changing initiatives
We have outlined a plan to re-engineer new sources of growth and stimulate job creation. The policies of the Government under the ruling party have positioned Uganda as a big, unregulated consumer market buying almost everything “made outside” from tooth picks to textiles and cell phones.
Our economy currently operates like a big supermarket run with a kiosk mentality.
In sharp contrast, the FDC-led Government will adopt and pursue game changing policy initiatives to trigger the Leap Forward towards building an economy that is inclusive, a society of entrepreneurs and innovators, and a country that operates at the frontlines of the regional and global economy.
That is why our policies will focus on putting women and the youth at the heart of our economic transformation agenda. Our policies will shift women and youth programming from the current patronage system.
The FDC-led Government will adopt very specific indicators for measuring the success of our youth and women intervention programmes.
Our goal is to see that on an annual basis, there is:
• Systematic and measurable reduction in youth unemployment;
• Increase in youth and women owned enterprises through credible and affordable credit schemes among others; and
• Creation of business incubation programmes for women and youth entrepreneurs.

We have outlined a set of policies and actions to boost export growth by systematically investing in the agricultural sector and protecting local agribusiness from harmful competition in contrast to the firefighting policy approach of the ruling party. This will include fast tracking the establishment of a national bank for agricultural transformation as the epi-center for agricultural finance delivery.
Consistent with our focus on the agriculture sector, we will adopt policies that create more responsibility and accountability in the governance of our natural resources. This will include a transparent and accountable regime for utilization of revenues from oil and other mineral resources.
The policies of the NRMO have suffocated our local governments and defaulted on the grand bargain set out in our Constitution. Power has been systematically grabbed from them, they are chronically underfunded but they are blamed for the failures of the regime.
Our policy package also focuses on strengthening our local government system and making them the epi-centres of local economic development and the effective delivery of public services to Ugandans. .
Our targeted investments in science and technology, the present and future cities programme and a dedicated National Venture and Innovation Fund will help create a new momentum and trigger a new wave of growth that is inclusive and sustainable.
iii) Leadership, National Security and a Commitment to Public Service
Thirdly, we have outlined our policy agenda to strengthen our national security, law and order while building a credible public service leadership that is patriotic, time conscious and confident.
Our policies will build credible leadership in the public service and strengthen our national security, law and order. We will focus on building the institutions of state, securing their autonomy, giving them the confidence to implement national programmes, rewarding them for exemplary performance and continuously holding them accountable for non-performance.
We are conscious of the fact that a full transition of our military into a fully modernized force subordinate to civilian authority is still constrained by an incomplete political transition process.

The FDC-led Government will build on the progress made to date by focusing on strengthening our military in the areas of:
• information acquisition and processing,
• guidance, energy and materials,
• environment, systems and modeling, and
• prioritizing the welfare of the men and women in uniform.
I had the honor and privilege to serve in our Nation’s military and I salute all our officers and men for their sacrifice in securing our countries borders and executing missions abroad. Our military has educated and well trained officers and men who have the capability to fully professionalize when the right political conditions are in place.

Government under the FDC will create the political environment in which the military and political leadership respect each other, and the military is fully subordinate to civilian authority. Military service is the highest form of sacrifice a person can offer for his or her country. Abusing the military to serving individual interests is the worst degradation that can be visited on the men and women in uniform.
The military needs to be honored and as such it is our intention to create an environment that honors and gives dignity to the men and women while in service and upon retirement. Government under the FDC will never tolerate a situation where our retired service men and women have to trek distances to come to our parliament as the only means to secure their welfare and a dignified retirement.
Our defense, security, law and order policy seeks to deal with newly emerging but also ever changing security threats including terrorism and its root causes such as widespread unemployment, poverty and marginalization.

We will establish an independent judicial system that is anchored on the rule of law, justice and the aspirations of our people. A police force that works for our people by ensuring the police is properly resourced and the welfare of police officers is given utmost priority.
Our investments in the judiciary and police seek to align these institutions to play a frontline role in confronting systemic and emerging challenges such as corruption, new forms of crime such as human trafficking, human sacrifice and drug abuse.
iv) Building citizen-centered regional integration and global partnerships

Finally, we will refocus Uganda’s leadership and engagement at the regional and international level to be anchored on national interest and guided by our role as a regional actor. All our foreign missions will be required to report on their work by reporting on our level of influence, how capable we are in penetrating regional and global markets, and how many jobs are created by our actions.
As I conclude, let me point out that going forward, we will have to continuously and systematically confront the culture of handouts that has been created by Mr. Museveni’s regime survival politics. This culture is having a negative impact on the National psyche.
While on the surface, his actions may be seen as acts of magnanimity, underneath, it can only be motivated by evil intentions.
There is a relationship between self-confidence, productivity and innovation. Our people have systematically been broken in spirit and have been turned into beggars in mentality. This dangerous trend has had direct negative consequences on the productivity of our people. We have to roll back this mentality if our policies are to work and our actions to have full meaning.

People need to be given a hand up on the ladder of economic success rather than handouts. Shortcuts and quick fixes can never be an engine for sustained, internally generated economic growth and social progress. It can never create a society that is affluent and at peace with itself.

Indeed the outcomes of what Mr. Museveni has systemically created through crushing the spirit of our people is a deep sense of hopelessness, frustration and steadily boiling anger. This situation needs to be defused before it boils over or explodes.

The tragedy of our current leadership is that they measure progress by the failures of the past rather than the promise of the future. The challenge of our time is not so much about whether we haven’t made progress but that the current regime measures progress in relation to where we are coming from rather than where we should be.

For example, we can appreciate that our revenue collection has increased from US$40 million in 1986 to approximately US$2 billion. What we should be doing is to measure our progress by what we have done with this increased revenues and where we should be if a significant part of it was not stolen or siphoned off through patronage schemes and corruption.

However, within the same period, countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam have made significant leaps in terms of their GDP. Even Vietnam which had an equally devastating conflict like our country was able to increase its GDP 9 times to reach US$124 billion compared to Uganda which increased its GDP on 5 times to reach US$17 billion over the period 1986-2011.

Because of leadership that is too much focused on our past failures as a measure of success, we are now stuck with two decades of jobless growth.

Massive unemployment have effectively excluded our young people from participating in the economy. Eighty three percent of our young people remain unemployed.

We have spent billions of taxpayers’ money to build a network of health centres but we are unable to staff them and equip or supply them with drugs.

The introduction of UPE, which is billed as a signature policy accomplishment of the NRM, has been mishandled. If government is telling the truth about the enrollment figures, then between 1997 and 2014, at least 16,913,105 children are unaccounted for since they never registered for PLE; completion rates remain dismal and the low transition rates are unacceptable.

An estimated 40 percent of our people remain in conditions of perpetual vulnerability and continuously hang on the cliff facing the reality of falling into poverty at the slightest shock.

The NRM regime has created a plethora of anti-corruption institutions and formulated a multitude of anti-corruption policies and laws but is incapable of implementing them. Institutionalized corruption, stealing and political corruption are standing in the way of our progress.

Fellow Ugandans, you know we deserve better than this.

Today, I am asking of each one of you to break out from the box confining us to the status quo of economic, social and political stagnation.

Like we read in the book of Deuteronomy 1:6-8, for eleven months, the children of Israel had lived at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Eleven months had led them into a state of complacency. They had grown accustomed to their surroundings like many Ugandans have grown accustomed to the ways of the current regime. But of course they had not reached the Promised Land.

And God told them, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance. See I have given you this land. Go in and take possession…”

Through this policy agenda, we make a contract with you the people of Uganda. We will offer a brand of leadership that respects our citizens, upholds values of honesty and respect for human dignity, and respect for public office and public property.

Let me assure you that we will be uncompromising in pursuing the policies and actions outlined in this policy agenda. Most importantly, we will continuously hold ourselves accountable to all of you Ugandans as we work together to create the necessary conditions for Uganda’s leap forward.

Fellow countrymen and women, we, like the children of Israel have been led into a state of complacency for close to 30 years. We have stayed on this mountain for too long and we must reject the status quo.
Jobless growth; a broken healthcare system; an education system that does not prepare our children to compete regionally and globally; a patronage system that has reduced many of our people to beggars; and a business environment that is biased against those who play fair; and a corruption machinery that is robbing our country to the marrow.

The Forum for Democratic Change is giving you a road-map to a future of greater promise, opportunity and shared prosperity. We have the will, the resolve, the commitment and the discipline to work for the future that we all deserve.

We have stayed too long at this mountain. This is our time to break camp and advance to the future of promise and shared prosperity.

God bless you.
For God and my Country

Serena International Conference Centre, Kampala: March, 9, 2015


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

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