On November 6, 2015, the chairperson of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), President Museveni, who was also the party’s presidential candidate, was in Kampala where he launched the party’s manifesto for the period between 2016 and 2021.
“NRM will now embark on addressing the strategic goals for prosperity to happen and these are security, health, roads, electricity, education and creating jobs, among others,” Mr Museveni said.
Ugandans must have been impressed with the manifesto that the party claimed would be “taking Ugandans to modernity through job creation and inclusive development” for Mr Museveni and the NRM were declared winners of the February 2016 polls.
The Electoral Commission (EC) announced that Mr Museveni had won the presidential elections with 5,617,503 votes representing a 60.75 per cent of the 9.2 million votes cast.
Dr Kizza Besigye was said to have come second with 3,270,290 votes representing a 35.3 per cent, while the others, former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi came third with 132,574 votes (1.4 per cent).
Following the election, the party convened a retreat at the National Leadership Institute (NALI), Kyankwanzi, between July 25 and August 2, 2016 where the political leadership and technocrats engaged with a view of aligning government policies to the party’s manifesto.
“We told the ministers and technocrats that your policies in the next five years should be in line with our manifesto because this is the manifesto that made people vote for us as a party. We do not want any of our ministries to deviate from what we promised in the manifesto,” Mr Richard Todwong, the deputy Secretary General of the NRM, said shortly after the retreat.
In May while launching the manifesto week at his offices, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said at least 77.9 per cent of the manifesto had been implemented and that the remaining threshold would be completed before the general election.
As the party prepares to launch a new manifesto, we try to look at the document to see what has been achieved and what is pending.
Strengthening security and good governance
“In order to ensure security of every person and their property, the NRM government will invest in crime prevention and reduction, promotion of peace and internal security”.
This manifesto would be achieved by way of implementing a seven-plan course of action with the first being “continued professionalising and modernising defence and security forces”, by way of “further improvement of the capability of the defence and security forces” including the acquisition and maintenance of equipment, human capital development and establishment of a National Defence College and the Institute for Security Studies.
Whereas it was not possible to get details around the progress made, especially around acquisition of equipment, there has been evidence that this has been done.
In June 2018, Mr Museveni commissioned UPDF Marine boats at Port Alice Pier Military Base in Entebbe.
In August 2018, Mr Museveni commissioned a plant that assembles Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) for the army in Magamaga Ordinance Depot in Mayuge, presided over the graduation of 18 Air Force pilots and cadets in November last year at the newly upgraded Gulu Airbase and; in May this year commissioned a war gaming centre at the Senior Command and Staff College (SCSC) in Kimaka, Jinja.
Uganda also recently acquired five Huey II military helicopters, thanks to a $79 million military aid package that the United States Department announced in September 2016.
Defence College & Institute of Security Studies
In September 2018, the Ministry of Defence appointed and unveiled a steering committee headed by Maj Gen Nakibus Lakara to kickstart work at the opening of the National Defence College (NDC) in Jinja.
“Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) has made many strides in training but we have been missing a flagship institution that provides professional joint military education at strategic level,” said the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi, during the unveiling of the committee at army headquarters, Mbuya.
Former UPDF and Defence spokesperson Richard Karemire said efforts towards making the NDC a reality are still on.
“We are in the final stages of the process of confirming the actual site (where the college is to be constructed,” Brig Kalemire said.
What about the Institute of Security Studies?
“That is still a work in progress,” Brig Kalemire says.
Defence and security infrastructure
NRM promised to construct barracks by replacing temporary structures with permanent ones and providing other welfare facilities such as health, education and sports, infrastructure in every barracks.
During the 2018 manifesto week, Security Minister Elly Tumwine listed some of the achievements registered that included the construction of accommodation units in military barracks such as Katabi, Moroto, Nakasongola and Masaka Armoured Brigade; Construction and rehabilitation ofBombo Military Hospital, construction of some police stations, especially former war ravaged districts and construction of the Uganda-Iran hospital for the Uganda Police Force.
Despite those achievements and the ongoing construction in Naguru of the accommodation for the Uganda Police Force, accommodation for the disciplined forces remains a problem.
In the first half of 2019, Mr Museveni toured military barracks in country. The Minister of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs, Mr Adolf Mwesige, told Daily Monitor that housing remains a bother to the army, but hastened to add that the President was “already looking for money to have it fixed.
Strengthening research, development
The manifesto carried a promise to help the army keep pace with global trends in science, technology and innovation by developing the Defence, Research, Science and Technology Centre at Lugazi and the Avionics Research Centre at Nakasongola into centres of excellence for collaborative research with the private sector, universities and other agencies.
The two institutions have not yet been developed into centres of excellence and there is no evidence that they have made any strides in collaborating with others in research, but the Minister for Security, Gen Elly Tumwine, said in a recent manifesto week that the centres in Lugazi and Nakasongola gave capacity to produce “better scientific products” and absorb “foreign technology”.
Promoting production for wealth creation and self-sustainability.
It was promised that UPDF would henceforth be effectively engaged in primary, secondary and industrial production, initially for internal consumption within the force and later for commercial purposes. This, it said would “enhance professionalism within the forces and reduce the burden on the national budget”.
Gen Tumwine said the army has been involved in operation wealth creation, but it should be noted that this was not necessarily one of the achievements under the 2016 manifesto because the army took over activities under the National Agriculture Advisory Services (Naads) programme in 2014, almost one-and-a half years before the manifesto was launched.
The police, Gen Tumwine points out has established a uniforms tailoring centre in Lugogo, while the Prisons department is also involved in the production of a wide range of products including furniture and crafts.
It should, however, be noted that Uganda Prisons got involved in that kind of production long before the NRM shot its way into power.
Strengthening internal and external security
“The internal and external security of the country will be strengthened by enhancing information collection and analysis capabilities. We will also institute measures including advanced detection techniques and appropriate technologies to deter and curtail terrorists and other hostile activities against the country,” the manifesto read in parts.
The manifesto also carried a promise to continue paying ex-servicemen their retirement benefits.
Gen Tumwine says security agencies have so been able to generate and provide intelligence information, which had enabled government to take preemptive actions “against politically motivated crimes, terrorism, insurgencies, other forms of organised crime and espionage”.
Besides, carrying out sensitisation at the grassroots, he says, the agencies have been able to generate intelligence data that has been used to formulate policies that have helped prevent or control crime.
However, payment of ex-servicemen’s retirement packages remains a major problem. Government requires at least Shs500b to pay 79,000 army veterans pensions and gratuity, but funds to clear the arrears have not been forthcoming.
Establishment of National Service
A modern National Service programme will be designed and implemented for the youth, school leavers and pre-tertiary students aimed at inculcating patriotism, nurturing and mentoring for positive attitudes towards hard work, and equipping them with basic military skills for personal and national development.
The Parliament had in November 2015, a month after the NRM manifesto, launched a motion before it by the then National Female Youth MP, Ms Monica Amoding, calling for government to establish a National Youth Service and Internship Programme, to offer structured work such as placements, which would enhance their skills and employability.
Then in November 2016, Parliament granted Bunya East MP James Waira Kyewalabye Majegere leave to introduce a private members’ motion for a Bill for an Act of Parliament to cater for out-of-school graduates from institutions of higher learning.
The motion, which was seconded by John Bagoole (Ind), Luuka North MP, and Mr Mwine Mpaka, MP (NRM), Youth Western, sought to establish a National Service Graduate Scheme, through which the provision of social services would be integrated with the education sector and processes to the end compel government and the private sector to give fresh graduates a chance to gain some working experience through job placements by rotating them in various departments for at least one year.
“Under the scheme, we had envisaged that graduates would be paid a stipend or allowance to facilitate them during the period of service. We thought that this would inculcate social welfare and social responsibility in them. We thought that the same law would make provisions for the creation of a venture fund for graduates, but the bill was frustrated,” Mr Majegere told Daily Monitor.
He points an accusing finger in the direction of the Ministry of Finance.
“Parliament wrote to the Ministry of Finance to provide a Certificate of Financial Implication in June 2017, but the ministry never got back to Parliament or me. Eventually, the attention of those in government and Parliament shifted to Constitutional Amendment Bill Number one of 2017,” MP Majegere adds.
The Constitutional Amendment Bill, it would seem, had a predatory effect to all plans to establish a national youth service.
Recruiting more police
NRM also promised to recruit and train more police personnel to attain international requirement of one policeman for every 500 citizens; set up a police academy, which it said would be a regional centre for specialised police training in East and Central Africa; improve crime control, detection and investigation by deployment of appropriate technologies such as CCTV cameras; and investing in community policing.
As far as deployment of technology is concerned, cameras with facial and automatic number plate recognition facilities supplied by Chinese telecommunications giant, Huawei Technologies, have been installed in 5,552 locations across the county by in a $126 million deal.
Mr Museveni commissioned the National CCTV Camera Command Center at the police headquarters, Naguru, in November 2019.
A forensic and medico-legal services laboratory unit has been put in place to help with scientific evidence-based investigations.It was not possible to talk to the spokesperson of the Uganda Police Force, Mr Fred Enanga, as he neither picked nor returned calls to his known mobile number, but Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango told Daily Monitor that plans to set up the police academy are on.
“The police force has already acquired land in Jinja for purposes of establishing that academy. Actual construction work and operationalisation will follow later,” Mr Onyango said.
Other promises have, however, not been fulfilled. The promise to have one police man for every 500 citizens would mean it would take at least 84,000 police officers to serve the 42 million people, but so far, according to Mr Onyango, the force stands at about 43,000 officers with another 5,500 expected to join soon. Even after the 5,500 are added to the 43,000, Uganda will still be 35,500 officers short of attaining the promised numbers.
Community policing has been carried out in only a few areas such as Kampala Metropolitan Area and Greater Kampala, Masaka and Kayunga.