Over the past two weeks, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) has been highlighting the achievements of the party manifesto for the last five years (2016-2021) under what has come to be called the Manifesto Week.
On April 30, while launching the Manifesto Week, Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda said the manifesto implementation is rated at 95 per cent of performance. He said to reach this level of manifesto implementation, performance was based on the guidance by 23 directives issued by the President at the first Cabinet meeting in June 2016.
The Manifesto Week came days leading up to the swearing-in of President Museveni for the sixth term in office, which took place on May 12.
To the critics, 35 years in office, with another five years on the cards is too much for a leader and that he should have given way to a younger person.
This article is focussed on appreciating the achievements of Mr Museveni and clearly portraying the exaggeration of his failures by his critics.
The strongest and number one achievement of Mr Museveni has been to ensure political stability. Before Mr Museveni came to power in 1986, Uganda’s politics was marked by incessant military coups and civil wars. But the President stopped all this and ensured that the military has control over any form of violence.
To achieve these aims, Museveni took effective personal control over the security apparatus and disciplined the army. Even when individual cases of indiscipline among soldiers and Local Defence Unit personnel arise (this is where the critics put their efforts), the army has structures to handle them.
This political stability has established some degree of individual freedom and given room to the economy to thrive. Many people are doing their businesses and investments, knowing they are safe and secure.
The second achievement has been to start and initiate economic growth over the last 35 years.
Uganda’s economy has grown at an annual average rate of nearly seven per cent during his presidency, making it among the best performing economies in the world. GDP has expanded from under $4 billion to $34 billion today. That is a performance few nations across time and space have registered over such a long period.
For instance, Uganda has been named among the fastest growing economies in the world for the year 2020 that was pulled back by the coronavirus pandemic. The listing was extracted from an opinion edition by Bloomberg, a media company that delivers business and markets news, data, analysis.
This economic performance has been enabled by infrastructure development, improved health access and education, among others.
In terms of agriculture, Mr Museveni has been persistently advocating for the transformation of the economy from subsistence to commercial farming through the four-acre model, which apportions land use on the basis of activities. This has been reflected in his government’s poverty alleviation programmes specifically to the local, ordinary people.
I admit that several challenges remain; corruption, limited funding and bureaucracy, among others, but the fact remains that President Museveni’s achievements are visible and after his next five-year term, more will be achieved.
Mr Kefa Mafumo is presidential aide in-charge of youth