A pile of Museveni’s unfulfilled pledges

Gen Salim Saleh in red shirt and Kabrole District leaders during the commissioning Agro Industrial Park site in Kabarole in 2018. Up to now, the site has remained bushy. Photo/ALEX ASHABA. 

What you need to know:

  • A 2015 report indicates that the President had not delivered on 817 pledges to Ugandans, which would cost him more than Shs12.9 trillion.

President Museveni has made several pledges, some in his individual capacity and others on behalf of his government, to endear himself and his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) to the voters.

While many pledges ranging from tarmac roads, schools, and factories to boost the livelihoods of the citizens have been fulfilled, some remain on his to-do list for several years.

According to the Rukiga District chairperson, Mr Robert Mbabazi Kakwerere, some of the unfulfilled presidential pledges in his area include, the tarmacking of Muhanga-Kisiizi Road, Kamwezi-Rutobo Road and support to Muhanga Progressive Secondary School and the family of the Front for National Salvation freedom fighter David Kangire, who was publicly executed by former President Idi Amin Dada’s government.

“We appreciate the fact that the presidential pledges on the establishment of an irrigation scheme at Kyerero in Bukinda Sub-county and the construction of a science laboratory at St Paul’s Secondary School Bukinda were fulfilled. However, a list of several other pledges as mentioned above are not yet fulfilled,” he says.

In Teso Sub-region, the elders’ council asked President Museveni to honour his pledges that were made in 2019.

Mr Alfred Okiria Aloka, the chairperson for Teso elders’ council, said they are still waiting for a seed capital of Shs50m for each district in the area, 32 seater coaster, and tractors and motorcycles the President promised. If received, he says the money would improve elderly’s welfare.

Sanitary pads

In 2015, Mr Museveni while campaigning in Alebtong District pledged that his government (if re-elected) would provide girls in primary school with sanitary pads.  The government is yet to deliver on this promise – just like many other promises made on the campaign trail then.

On March 10, 2018, Mr Museveni made an outstanding promise to donate 27,000 hand hoes to farmers in Dokolo District. To date, the would-be beneficiaries are yet to receive the farm tools.

On the same day, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) national chairperson promised to rehabilitate Bata Seed Secondary School in Bata Sub-county in Dokolo District so that rural learners could access decent education. However, no major renovations have been done to date.

The head of State also promised that the government would upgrade Aboke, Anyeke and Dokolo Health Centre IVs to district hospitals. To date, nothing has changed, with the health facilities facing stressing challenges such as inadequate drugs and supplies and inadequate personnel. 

Mr Rogers Mulindwa, the spokesperson of the ruling NRM, clarifies that not all requests made to the President are presidential pledges.

“It is the President to confirm a presidential pledge because his office has a book of records. But some of our people sometimes make requests or petitions to the President at functions and when he says we shall  see, they consider all that as pledges, which is not true,” he says.

Mr Mulindwa adds that if the President makes a pledge, sometimes he doesn’t put a time frame for implementation–meaning successive governments can take it up. He cites the tarmacking of Kampala–Luweero road section, which he says was promised by the Tito Okello Lutwa government, but was later fixed by President Museveni.

“We are challenged by a shortage of funds to fully fulfil all Presidential pledges, but I am sure they will be fulfilled,” he says.

Kabale District chairperson Nelson Nshangabasheija says although most of the presidential pledges such as turning Kabale University into a public institution and the construction and equipping the youth skilling centre have been fulfilled, the pledge of constructing  Batuma Mem worial Airfield is still pending.

During a thanksgiving ceremony for former vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi in Kyanamukaaka, Masaka District in 2016, Mr Museveni promised a juice processing plant, a glass factory, and also to tarmac the road connecting the landing sites of Namirembe and Ddimo to Bukunda on the Masaka –Mutukula highway.

Ms Prossy Najjuma, a fruit farmer in Kyanamukkaka, says the national coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation, Gen Salim Saleh, who is also a young brother to President Museveni on August 29, 2020, paid a visit to the area on a fact-finding mission and assured residents that the government was committed to delivering the projects to boost their livelihoods.

“He [Salim Saleh] promised us that the government was ready to give us the factory and we had to do one thing- to send back the former Vice President Edward Ssekandi to Parliament, who could easily follow up on the projects, but since he lost in the general election, I think that is why we lost all the projects,” she says.

In the run-up to the 2021 General Election, President Museveni blamed some of the government’s failures on a section of ‘lazy and useless’ lawmakers whom he criticised for not identifying problems affecting citizens and monitoring government projects. 

“Some NRM legislators are lazy, they cannot even monitor projects in their constituents,’’  he said then.  The NRM enjoys numerical strength in Parliament with more than 400 MPs. Mr Museveni said voting wrong people is the reason some areas suffer poor service delivery. 

Industrial park
In 2018, Kabarole Agro-Industrial Park was promised and foundation stone laid, but four years later, the project has failed to take off due to a land dispute. The 100-acre industrial park construction was supposed to house factories that add value to farmers’ produce such as bananas and coffee.

Last week, six people, including former Fort Portal City mayor Rev Kintu Willy Muhanga were arrested on charges of inciting violence and unlawful assembly after they held a demonstration over unfulfilled pledges by President Museveni to Kabarole and Fort Portal.

In Buikwe District, Njeru Central Division chairperson Michael Odeba says the President pledged a vocational training institute in memory of the late Sam Peter Kitaka who gave him a grinding stone (Olubengo) that became synonymous with his political campaign in 1996.

Buvuma District chairperson Adrian Ndungu Wasswa says one of the islanders’ demands is connecting the district to the national power grid.

“We are also still waiting to see two UPE and USE boarding schools get connected, which our President promised,” he says.

The chairperson of Rubirizi District, Mr Sylvester Agubanshongorera, says the President promised the district Shs500m for the construction of the administration block, which is yet to come.

West Nile
In West Nile, the connection to the national grid for stable electricity remains a thorn in the flesh of the taxpayers. The vast parts of the district such as Pakwach, Nebbi, Zombo, Madi Okollo, Arua district, Arua City, Terego, Maracha, Koboko, Yumbe, and Obongi are still waiting for decades to be connected to the grid.

The former Member of Parliament for Ayivu Constituency in Arua, Mr Bernard Atiku, said: “We need power that can enable industries to set up here. Investors here have potential businesses which they can tap into the monies from DR Congo, South Sudan, and Central Africa.” 
It is only the districts of Moyo and Adjumani that are connected to the national grid. The vast areas are served on a 3.5Mw power from Nyagak Dam and generators from Electromax Company.

While acknowledging the plight of the people in November 2020 during the campaign at Muni University grounds, Mr Museveni said: “I still have a debt for the road from Nebbi –Goli on the border to Paidha then to Vurra Customs. That road will have to be done. Then the road between here (Manibe) to Terego-Yumbe and then from Pakwach to Rhino camp will be done. These are the main roads to be tarmacked in West Nile.”

In 2015, the Committee on Government Assurances released a report that indicated that the President has not delivered on 817 pledges since coming into power in 1986. The presidential pledges, according to the report, could cost more than Shs12.9 trillion in key areas of infrastructure such as roads, hospitals, and schools.

Road promises

Kisoro District chairperson Abel Bizimana says some of the unfulfilled pledges the President made to the district include the tarmacking of the tourism roads, the expansion of Kisoro airstrip, the construction of John Kale Memorial Institute of Science and Technology, and the pardoning and redeployment of the former Inspector General of police Gen Kale Kayihura.

“We are happy that some presidential pledges such as the creation of Bukimbiri County and the tarmacking of Kabale-Kisoro-Bunagana-Chanika road were fulfilled, the pledge to pardon and redeploy Gen Kayihura, the construction of John Kale Institute of Science and Technology, the expansion of Kisoro airstrip and the tarmacking of the tourism roads that connect to Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks are some of the unfulfilled presidential pledges,”  he says.

In 2018, during national Women’s Day celebrations at Rwimi playground in Bunyangabu District, the President pledged to support the district with Shs4 billion under the Road Fund for the maintenance of roads which they are still waiting for, according to district chairperson, Mr James Ategeka. He adds that they were also given an empty promised that Kibiito Health Centre IV would be elevated to a district hospital.

During the 2016 presidential campaigns, President Museveni pledged the construction of Budiba Bridge on River Semuliki in Bweramule Sub-county that connects Uganda and DR Congo, according to the Ntoroko District chairperson, Mr William Kasoro.

“We are also still waiting for the government to fulfil its commitment of construction of a secondary school per sub-county because the three sub-counties of Kanara, Rwebisengo, and Karugutu don’t have any,” he says.

In Kabarole District, it is now 10 years since MrMuseveni pledged the tarmacking of the 30-kilometre Fort Portal-Kijura Road. The chairperson of Kabarole District, Mr Richard Rwabuhinga, said the president first made a pledge of the said road on September 29, 2012, as he commissioned the district headquarters.

Mr Museveni, again committed himself in 2013 to tarmac the same road while meeting district leaders from the Rwenzori Sub-region at his home in Rwakitura. In 2021, the same road appeared in the ruling NRM party manifesto. To date, the road is only being maintained by Uganda National Roads Authority, but during the rainy season, the road is always impassable, especially for trucks.

Compiled by Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Felix Warom Okello, Bill Oketch, Clement Aluma & Patrick Okaba, Robert Muhereza, Naume Biira, Emmanuel Arineitwe, Alex Ashaba, Longino Muhindo, Abubaker Kirunda, Denis Edema, Tausi Nakato, Richard Kyanjo, Felix Ainebyoona,  Simon Peter Emwamu & Susan Nanjala