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NRM is Delivering on most of its Election Promises

By Ofwono Opondo

 May, 10, 18

It is two years today, since President Yoweri Museveni swore-in for a new term after general elections whose manifesto theme was “Steady Progress; Taking Uganda to Modernity through Job Creation and inclusive Growth,” reflecting the continuous achievements scored since 1986. This was the third election since the re-introduction of multiparty politics in 2005, and sixth competitive direct presidential elections first introduced in 1996.
In all these elections, President Museveni and the NRM, the political grouping he has led since 1986 has massively won between 75.6% in 1996 and 62.8 in 2016, demonstrating the popularity of its policy platforms. In each election, President Museveni and NRM have had a manifesto whose theme rhymes with the stages of the country's progress. The progress registered so far are grounded in the original Ten-point programme that the NRM/A came with bush war that toppled Gen. Tito Okello Lutwa. Perhaps as a fashion, other candidates too have published manifestoes, although in 2010 Kizza Besigye was scorned by the Uganda media for plagiarizing word for word, UK David Cameron’s 2010 manifesto.
The 1996 manifesto theme was “Talking The Tasks Ahead,” in 2001 Museveni ran and was re-elected on “Consolidating past achievements,” in 2006 it was “Prosperity for All,” and 2011, NRM won on the theme of “Peace, Unity and Transformation for Prosperity.”
Unfortunately, the creeping insecurity since 2017 involving yet unexplainable kidnaps, murders, and disappearances of persons, is casting blight and undermines NRM’s credibility and competence, and provides the unhelpful political opposition with some ammunition to appear relevant. The persistent reports of large scale corruption involving senior government officials, poor and low quality, irregular and inadequate service delivery to the public due to weak supervision all conspire to undermine NRM’s legitimacy. On these fronts, NRM’s mantra of Kisanja Hakuna Mchezo is being sneered at by many Ugandans as a joke, and so, drastic measures are needed to help restore public confidence in government.
However, since May 2016, NRM government has realised various achievements in key strategic sectors of infrastructure development especially energy, roads, and information, communication technology (ICT). In health and education sectors, rehabilitation, new construction, expansion, and equipping are on-going. As well, in the oil and gas sub-sector, this year government signed the agreement for the construction of a 60,000 barrel per day oil refinery, and 200MW power plant worth 4bn with a consortium of US and Italian firms AGRC.
The construction is already underway as over 98.3% project affected persons have been compensated and vacated the site. In the midstream project, the oil pipeline from Hoima in Uganda through Tanga and eventually Dar es Salaam was signed off in May 2017, and both parliaments have ratified.
From under 60MW hydro power that NRM found in 1986, today Uganda produces 862MW which is set to hit 1692MW once Karuma and Isimba power dams are commissioned by mid 2019. Under various programmes electricity connectivity across the country has reach 117 district headquarters and close to 1300 sub-counties out of 121, and 1600 respectively. Electricity connections now stand at 21% and steadily climbing. These connections of high, medium and low voltages mean that large scale industries can be established in many parts of Uganda to power services, health and education, and homes to boost economic productivity. Indeed, entrepreneurship is beginning to flourish in the farthest nooks of Uganda from Kisoro to Zombo, Kanungu to Koboko and Yumbe, and Bundibugyo to Lamwo and Kaabong bordering South Sudan and Kenya.
The electricity grid connectivity has more or less followed the road pattern. Between 2016 to 2018, the following roads under UNRA have been completed, Mukono-Kyetume-Nyenga (74km), Gulu-Acholibur (77km), Acholibur-Misingo at the south Sudan border (86km), Kanoni-Villa Maria-Sembabule (110km), Mbarara-bypass (14km), Ibanda-Kamwenge-Fort Portal (77km). The Kampala-Entebbe Expressway (50.6km) is slated to be opened by the end of 2018. This year alone UNRA added 436km of tarmac roads. A number of the oil and tourism roads that are expected to spur more economic growth are either under construction, or contracts have been awarded. In addition gravel roads connecting villages where most Ugandans live and engage in agriculture and livestock agriculture, the mainstay of the economy have visibly improved.
In addition, construction of major bridges across the country like Apak in Lira, Manafwa on Tororo-Mbale road, Goli and Nyagak in Nebbi, Leresi in Butaleja, Aswa connecting Gulu and Pader, and Kabaale bridge linking Kyanwanzi and Nakaseke districts have been completed. Again, the new, truly artistic and tourism 525m cable stayed bridge over river Nile in Jinja is due for completion by November 2018.
Contrary to the naysayers, reports by credible institutions like the World Bank, IMF, Standard and Poor, Bank of Uganda and UBOS among others, all point that Uganda’s economy has maintained one digit inflation rate, and growth is rebounding at about 5.3%. And while our politics remains toxic, democracy, rule of law and good governance is reliable, stable, and getting consolidated. So, those like Besigye, opposing NRM by propagating outright lies perhaps need to trade very carefully because Ugandans know the truth, otherwise, voters may not be kind to them at elections.