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.