As we celebrate the 28th Anniversary of the NRM Victory in 1986, we have, indeed, a lot to celebrate. First and foremost, we should celebrate the victory itself.
That victory has since, been able to bring peace to the whole of Uganda. This was achieved because of the correct line of NRM of organising the people on a patriotic, non-sectarian basis. That is how we were able to build a strong army that won that victory and also contribute to regional peace building efforts.
The Banyankore have a saying: “Orutetera rwa guli nomwongo” - the seed of a pumpkin produces a pumpkin that is similar to the original pumpkin from which the seed came from. The Bible puts it another way. In Mathew Chapter 7:16-17, it says: “You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?” “A good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit”. Verse 20, says: “Therefore, by their fruits you shall know them”.
An indisciplined and ideologically bankrupt army cannot create peace in the country. In spite of the general line of the NRA/UPDF of always being on the side of the people, there were incidents in the anti-insurgency campaign for which we are ashamed.
I do not know why the people did not report those incidents. Apart from the Mukura railway wagon incident and the Bucoro pit incident, which were reported, there were other incidents that are coming to light now.
These include: the incident at Kanyum where wanainchi were killed by elements of our army for no reason at all after the army had been attacked by the rebels; there were incidents of looting property including cattle; and other incidents of indiscipline reported in Nwoya. I am going to follow up all these incidents, unearth the culprits if they are still alive so as to hold them accountable and compensate the victims or their descendants.
It was a mistake for the wanainchi not to report these incidents. It was also a failure of the respective Division and Brigade Commanders not to have discovered these crimes that were committed under their command using, first and foremost, the wanainchi.
Where these mistakes were discovered, stern action was carried out. That is why, since 1986, about 23 soldiers have been executed for homicide, rape, etc. I will personally organise Mato-put (Okukaraba in Runyankore -blood settlement) - with the concerned families and communities. I appeal to the people to always report the misbehaviour of police or army personnel without any fear.
Now that the UPDF has pacified the whole country, it is only the ordinary criminals that continue to disturb the people. One solution for crime is identification. Identification enables us to fight crime accurately and promptly. Hence, the importance of the identity card project.
The computerisation of the identities of all Ugandans and all the residents in Uganda, will enable us to identify criminals accurately and promptly.
The computerised record of all persons living in Uganda will capture everybody’s fingerprints, picture and bio-data. This is not only good for fighting crime but also for elections by ensuring that the crooks, who have been tampering with the voters register, will be exposed. It will be impossible to engage in multiple voting, etc. with the computerised record of persons.
Apart from stability, the NRM has been able to cause the recovery of Uganda’s economy. Uganda’s economy in 1986 was a mere $1.5 billion. Today, it is Shs64 trillion, which is about $ 24 billion.
Therefore, in terms of size, the economy has expanded 16 times in the last 28 years. The economy could have expanded more if it was not for the internal sabotage we normally have to deal with, especially the delay of projects by the different power centres.
The proportion of the people below the poverty line has declined from 56 per cent to 22 per cent. The GDP per capita is now $600 in spite of much of the population still being mired (stuck) in subsistence farming. If all the homesteads in Uganda wake up and engage in small scale commercial farming, the GDP per capita will be more than double.
This is because many families are either not contributing to the monetary economy or are doing so marginally. I have repeatedly told you that for the rural population, with small pieces of land (4 acres and less), need to listen to our advice of the 1996 Manifesto of selecting enterprises with the highest return per acre per annum.
Back, then, we recommended one acre for clonal coffee, one acre for fruits (mangoes, oranges, pineapples, apples or grapes), one acre for food-crops (bananas, cassava or Irish potatoes) and one acre for elephant grass as livestock pasture for zero-grazing dairy cattle. Add to these four, two backyard activities such as poultry and pigs for those who are not Muslims. Such a family will get an annual income in the region of Shs40 million. In dollars, this will be $ 16,000 per family.
Since an average family may have five persons, this will be $ 3,200 per capita. On account of reasons I can not easily understand, this simple anti-poverty formula could not be grasped by many actors. This is what Naads and all those agencies were supposed to implement.
Army in development
Recently, I started using the army in the Luweero Triangle, the Rwenzori region and other Fronasa bases to implement this 17-year-old plan. Here in Mayuge, Lt Colonel Dhamuzungu has distributed 68,390 seedlings of coffee, 5,000 seedlings of fruits, maize and beans. Overall, General Saleh and Hon. Sarah Kataike have distributed 5,540,074 seedlings of coffee, 1,000,000 seedlings of tea, 230,324 seedlings of fruit, cassava, beans, maize, etc.
We are going to expand this programme in the coming financial year. Here in Mayuge, Dhamuzungu distributed the 68,390 seedlings to 102 families, orange seedlings to 37 families, etc. With UPDF, we are not populist actors.
Each family must get, at least, 450 coffee seedlings per acre and 120 orange seedlings per acre. We want impact and results and not show for cheap propaganda. This financial year, we needed Shs810 billion to role out this programme to as many families as possible, throughout Uganda. We only managed to get Shs57 billion for this purpose. We are restructuring Naads in order to do away with the coordinators so that most of the money goes for breeding and planting materials instead of being consumed by salaries.
With the increase in the size of the economy, our tax collection also went up. That is why we are now able to fund very many infrastructure projects by ourselves. Here in Busoga, we have been able to take power all the way to Bukhungu and reconstruct Jinja-Kamuli road, complete Iganga-Bugiri-Busia/Malaba road and we are going to tarmac Musita-Mayuge-Nankoma-Namayingo-Majanji and Busia road using our own money. This capacity to fund our infrastructure projects by ourselves is a source of great pride to me. It is a harbinger of things to come. Those with eyes to see, should be able to discern its importance.
Throughout the country, there are numerous road and electricity projects that are being executed with government funding. We are grateful to friends from the USA, EU, China, India, etc. that have been funding or offering to fund various infrastructure projects.
These projects include Karuma, Isimba, Ayago, Oraba Rd, Nimule Rd. etc. With discipline and the greater resources at our disposal, the future is bright. We should discourage the thinking that all problems can be solved at one go. Our time-tested way of solving problems is “kamu-kamu gw’muganda” - one by one makes a bundle.
I am told that the recent fighting in South Sudan has caused the decline of prices for agricultural and industrial goods.
The prices have come down. While this is good for consumers in Uganda, it is not good for farmers and for the industrialists. The higher prices, on account of the bigger markets in East Africa, South Sudan and Congo were greatly boosting and stimulating greater production in agriculture, industry and services.
The South Sudan factor
The obvious linkage between bigger markets, greater production, job creation, wider tax base and, eventually, more prosperity, again, expose the bankruptcy of those who push sectarian position. If tribes, gender chauvinism and religious sectarianism are very important, then, why were so many Ugandans caught inside South Sudan?
What were they looking for? Why abandon their tribes, their religious groups and their social peers and go to South Sudan even, when the situation is not very stable. The answer is simple. One’s prosperity and that of his family depend on taking the advantage of the opportunities available and opportunities may be outside the tribe, the religious sector or the gender fraternity. I am sure given all the concerted efforts, South Sudan and DRC will stabilise so that regional trade can resume in full force. This will be good for everybody.
I would like to conclude today’s remarks by talking on health. By emphasising immunisation, hygiene, nutrition, behaviour change and malaria control, we would eliminate more than 80 per cent of the sicknesses. Sicknesses like hepatitis-B, hepatitis-E, Aids/HIV, etc. are preventable by either behaviour change, immunisation or hygiene. Health is wealth. Let the District Medical Officers educate the public about these health issues so that everybody participates in promoting health and we get rid of these diseases of ignorance. Some of these diseases are very dangerous and yet they are easy to avoid. Hepatitis-E, for instance, is caused by either open defecation or uncovered latrines.
It is oral-faecal - from faeces to mouth. Hepatitis-B goes through sex, kissing or sharing injection instruments. Both these diseases affect the liver very dangerously and can lead to death. Yet, they are easy to simply, avoid. I do not have to talk about Aids. You know that story.
Let us wake up from sleep and transform our country. In the coming years, let our slogan be: “Improved service delivery, improved infrastructure and wealth creation by all persons and all households”.
Mr Museveni is the President of Uganda. This is a speech he delivered at the 28th NRA/NRM Victory Day Anniversary yesterday