NRM marks 37 years today

President Museveni (right) campaigns during the 2021 presidential elections. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • The Liberation Day is being marked in Kakumiro District under the theme “Our resolute efforts to transform Uganda is a promise we shall fulfil”.

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) party is marking 37 years today since the National Resistance Army (NRA) under the leadership of President Museveni captured power on January 26, 1986, after a five-year bush war.

The Liberation Day is being marked in Kakumiro District under the theme “Our resolute efforts to transform Uganda is a promise we shall fulfil”.

The day will be graced by the President as the chief guest and other members will include international delegates, ministers, members of Parliament and other dignitaries. 

According to the NRM spokesperson, Mr Emmanuel Dombo, today is worth being celebrated by Ugandans, especially by making a reflection on the post-independence non-democratic governments which engaged in a number of political struggles and conflicts.

“When the NRA/NRM government took over power in 1986, it promised democratic governance, rule of law and economic transformation based on the 10 points programme. It is now 37 years ago and the successes can speak for themselves,” Mr Dombo told Daily Monitor last evening.

“The NRM government is constitutional and we have maintained and observed our Constitution, which was not the case with all the previous regimes. The Judiciary, Legislature and Executive are operational and people fully participate in the decision-making through elections,” he said.

Mr Dombo attributed the improved quality of life to the life expectancy progressing from 48 years in 1986 to 68 years and liberalisation policy, which has enabled the growth of the private sector to the NRM regime, which has presided over the country for close to four decades.

However, the head of the Office of NRM Chairperson Hadijah Uzeiye Namyalo, who is also the coordinator of Museveni’s Bazzukulu group and the architect of Jajja Tova Ku Main slogan, applauded Museveni’s uninterrupted rule and asked Ugandans to return him in 2026.   

Ms Namyalo cited the current peace and stability in the country on account of what she called a strong and professional army, infrastructure development (roads, bridges, and power dams) and economic stability, the prevailing post-Covid-19 challenges notwithstanding. 

“You can fault NRM on other things, but not peace and stability,’’ Ms Namyalo said, adding: “The country has been peaceful for all these years. We defeated the Lord’s Resistance Army [LRA] and other rebel groups so that Ugandans can enjoy their country. Through the amnesty window, we pardoned our enemies and many of them have returned home. We believe in peace and reconciliation. We return the multiparty politics because we are a pro-people government that believes in rule of law, human rights and democracy.”     


She, however, cited corruption, land evictions, poverty and youth unemployment as the major challenges the party is grappling with. Ms Namyalo revealed that after building the base for national development, in the 2021 to 2026 Manifesto, the NRM government pledged to focus on wealth creation through the Parish Development Model, Youth Livelihood Programme, Women Fund and other initiatives. She appealed to the youth to tap into these anti-poverty initi watives, regardless of their tribe, religion or political affiliation.

Regarding the political space, Mr Dombo said the political ground is still fair with the exceptions of some groups of people from the ruling party and Opposition side, which have become intolerant to each other.

In a phone call interview with the spokesperson of the National Unity Platform (NUP), Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, says the 37 years of NRM have yielded fewer fruits to Ugandans, especially in the sectors of Education, health, human rights, and political tolerance among others.

“During the so-called bad regimes, many Ugandans were being treated from Mulago Hospital to the extent that even when President Milton Obote was shot at he was treated from Mulago hospital, to government officials are dying from other countries on medical tours just because of the rotten health system back home,” Mr Ssenyonyi said.

“Human rights have been deteriorating for years, many people are abducted, beaten and tortured in all forms just because of their political beliefs. The quality of democracy is also so wanting because the brutality on opposition members is the order of the day yet we are in a multi-party system,” he added. The NUP spokesperson says there is no need to celebrate the NRM liberation since most of the reasons why President Museveni waged the 1980 guerilla war have already taken shape in his own regime. 

However, the NRM Secretary General, Mr Richard Todwong, said: “As a party, we believe we shall continue to improve where we have not been able to do well. We could have stepped on other people in the wrong way, and we would have errored in one way or another, but as a party in government, it was intentional. We believe the general public would understand that governance is not something easy, once in a while, you might rub someone in the way or go against the rules of engagement which should be understood… if there are people who feel maybe we didn’t perform to their expectations, we just say you forgive us we shall improve.”