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NRM’s promises: A midterm look at the ruling party’s manifesto

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Mr Norbert Mao, the Democratic Party president general, campaigns

Mr Norbert Mao, the Democratic Party president general, campaigns during the 2011 general elections. Next to him is his wife Naomi. Photo by Joseph Kiggundu 

By Isaac Imaka

Posted  Monday, December 30   2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Democratic Party president general says the opposition’s fragmentation in the past has played into the hands of President Museveni.

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KAMPALA-We are into the last half of this presidential and parliamentary term. From the corridors of Parliament, members have started sitting at the drawing board to plan how they can make it back.

In and outside Parliament, the Opposition is running around trying to find its compass– often times behaving like a gaggle of geese.

The NRM is, expectedly, giving them a hard time– It wants to retain the national cake come 2016, this time with a monumental percentage.

However, as the ruling party prepares to vie for another five years, how has it performed so far, based on what it promised its voters in the last campaigns?

A citizens’ midterm audit launched by the Uganda National NGO forum in October argues that so far, the NRM government has taken initiatives aimed at fulfilling the promises it made to the citizens.
In the last two pieces about the last NRM manifesto, we noted that the journey to total implementation has been one riddled with back tracking, and unkept promises.

Keeping true to promises
However, in this last part of the NRM manifesto sequel, focusing on the performance of the 2011 manifesto, the Uganda National NGO forum audit shows a noticeable shift from unkept promises to actually an attempt to keep true to the promises– although it still falls flat on job creation and fighting corruption.

The report is a juxtaposition of the demands in the Citizens Manifesto launched just before the 2011 campaigns on the one hand, what the NRM party promised and what it has so far done, two and half years down the road.

The Citizen’s Manifesto was drafted after consultative meetings were held across the country structured around a regional and interest group logic. It was about getting the ordinary person to set the agenda for political leaders; about holding elected leaders accountable using the citizens’ agenda as benchmarks.

The report notes that whereas there has been success in improving access to social services, for example in the health sector with the rehabilitation and construction of health centres and hospitals, it is still noticeable that the quality of health care, education and water remains a challenge and of lower value– putting lives of Ugandans at risk.

The Uganda NGO Forum was behind the Citizen’s Manifesto, an aggregation of citizens demands put forward in a manner that political leaders and government can respond to.

The 2011 NRM election manifesto puts emphasis on betterment and effectiveness in service delivery, creation of jobs and consolidation of rule of law, investment in commercialisation of agriculture, investment in the development of the oil and gas sector, and improvement of infrastructure and human resource development for prosperity for all Ugandans.

In an earlier interview on the performance of the party’s manifestos, Information minister Rosemary Namayanja said the NRM’s focus is issue-based politics.

“We want to move from politics of sentiments to politics of issues. Now if you (as a party) do not have a manifesto what issues would you be talking about? Manifestos emphasise issue-based politics, which is a good thing for democracy,” she said.

She talked of the party’s achievements across the board and slammed claims that the party’s universal primary and secondary education project is producing functional illierates.

Her reasons:
“If you put Shs3 billion in a project, you expect that the quality will improve but quality is not achieved overnight.

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