NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE NRM PARTY
HIS EXCELLENCY YOWERI K. MUSEVENI
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE NRM PARTY
25TH JANUARY, 2020
Today, January 25th, 2020, is almost exactly 61 years since I started my personal involvement of waking up (kusimula) the Banyankore that were nearest to me from the sleep (nino, kugwejegyera, lambala, kwebaka, lilo) of money-lessness in almost all the homesteads in the area, atop the very fertile soil (good for crops and pasture), supplied with flowing fresh water in every valley; starting from below the Indian and Arab (Abasiiri) shops at Ntungamo, you had the Nile tributary of Kyamate, coming from Kankingoola and joining the branch from Kaita-nturegye below Nyamabaare hill and flowing all the way to Katinda-Kyamugaashe, Kamira and on to Kategure and Rufuuha and on to Ekyaambu (Muvuumba) and River Kagyera. From the West of that tributary, in every valley, you had streams joining it: from Kabahaambi, crossing the Rukungiri Road below the Bafumbira of Ntungamo hill (Munyanshongore, Kasabariinga etc); Kafunjo through our land that we sold to Kampororo; Rwekigyera – on to the West of Sorugyeendo; Akabaare, below Katukuuza, the mad man; the Nyakaziba – Kabagyenda valley, starting below the SDA Church of Omusheenyi (which the SDA immigrants erroneously call Kikoni, I think); beyond Kikoni, you had the streams of Rukora – Kamarebe, Kyangara – Rujumo etc. - all pouring into the Katiinda – Kyamugaashe branch; and, then, at Kamira (which the Bafuruki erroneously call Omungyenyi), you had the big Nyarwaambu, coming from Lake Nyabihoko and contributing alot of water.
I know these Rivers and streams because I walked across them going to and from school, looking after our cattle or visiting relatives like when I visited relatives in Rugoongyi and Kagugu. I cannot describe the Nyakisa side well because I did not get opportunity to walk frequently there except once when I walked from my grandmothers’ home in Kirama to – Ihuunga, in 1954. What I have described is a portion covering a mere 8 miles – Ntungamo – Trading Centre – Mailo 40 and Kamira bridge – Mailo 48. Coming from the left (East), there are some streams I was about to forget. These are the Muchwankwaanzi streams and the Nyamaambo – Nyamabare streams, joining the Kyamate – Katiinda tributary of the Kagyera.
It is from this rich land of good soils for crops and pasture and with alot of fresh –water, but with universal money-lessness in the families, that I came in 1959 to join Mbarara High School for Junior Secondary One to 2. Having lived in those surroundings for 14 years of childhood and early teenage, I did not know anything better, other than looking at the only globe in one of the class-rooms and being told that there were some powerful countries in the World: Great Britain, France, USA, USSR etc. In the 6 Indian shops, we were buying textiles of Marekani (American) or Japani (Japan); soap was coming from companies known as Sunlight, Life-buoy, Lax etc., that I doubt very much whether they were located in Uganda; much, later, I started seeing Nakasero soap for washing clothes – that appeared to be local; even the refined salt – Kanyenye – appeared to be coming from abroad – only Mahoonde – the crude salt- appeared to be coming from Lake Katwe. Bicycles were Raleigh or BSA (Raare and Byeeshe – from UK); gamatox, the anti-tick acaricide, was from the UK; Pepsi-Cola, Fanta and Coca-Cola, were all imported; and there was even a picture of a dog that was drinking some strong intoxicant known as Karizootsya (the spirit that would burn – something – I did not know what). Even the Kahuunga (packed maize flour), was being imported and so were the tea-leaves until 1958 when the Banyankore started growing and processing tea in Kyamuhunga. There were tins of condensed milk that were being imported from Switzerland. The milk therein had a viscous texture and the Banyankore gave it an unfriendly name as they did for the imported rice. Sugar, however, even at that time, was already being processed by our people, Madhvani and Mehta.
As I said above, it is from this situation that I came in 1959 to join Mbarara High School, having lived in it for 14 years. If you discount by 3 years of serious childhood where one may not know most things around, then I had had 11 years of observation and some participation by that time. Talking of participation, I was, indeed, a participant of no mean proportions: milking cattle (kukama), kukwatira (holding uncooperative calves while adults milked their mothers), kukumirira enyena in ekihongore (better organised blocking of the aggressive calves contesting the right to their mothers’ milk by the cattle-owners in the calf-pens), grazing cattle (kuriisa), watering them (okweshera), okuhatika (mild obstetrics for cattle), okuzaaza ente (midwiving cattle in calf – birth), kubanjura (breaking ground), kutabira (re-ploughing an old garden site – ekishaambu), kuteera amatsiinde (second ploughing), kwombera (second weeding), kubagara (first weeding normally done with very small hoes) etc. With cattle chores, it was always at home or with my uncles Riisi and Rwamunono. With cultivation, it was, mainly, with the school system.
Therefore, by the time I arrived at Mbarara High School, having used the 14 years of my tenancy on Earth well, I was an expert in all the indigenous technology of agriculture (livestock and crops) and, through the 6 years of the school system, I had heard, or seen through the school maps, of countries in the World that were more developed and stronger. By that time, I did not know why.
At Mbarara High School, the Sundays were visiting days. You could go out and visit places and people of choice. The first Sunday, I visited the Kamomos who were friends of my family. The second Sunday, together with another boy whose identity I cannot remember, I visited the Mbarara Government Stock Farm- where cattle, goats, pigs etc., were reared and crops grown according to scientific practices that ensured higher yields. To be fair, even in the school garden at Kyamate, the teachers had, using written instructions they were referring to, shown us how to make composite manure from grass, plant in rows (enyiriri), spacing etc. This was just for tomatoes which ended up with bigger tomatoes, having also used improved seeds. At Kyamate, however, we had not had the chance to see the improved rearing of cattle, goats etc.
With my visit to Mbarara Stock Farm (Kitaka Farm according to the Banyankore), my journey of transforming the communities had started. When I went for the April holidays, I told my father that we must change our ways for better results. By the end of my 8 years of stay in Mbarara town (2 years Mbarara High School and 6 years Ntare School), my thirst for waking-up the Ntungamo – like people of Uganda, was becoming the most important mission of my life. Why were the Ntungamo people and those like them money-less, yet they had very fertile land with alot of fresh water, they were hard-working and all of them had livestock wealth of cattle, goats, chicken and sheep? The money-lessness, translated into poor housing (there were only 3 mabaati homes in the Parishes of Kikoni and Nyaburiiza by 1956) and short-lives. By 1959, the average life expectancy in Uganda was 40.8 years. Since education was being paid for, many children could not go to school. By 1961, only 548,634 pupils were in the Primary Schools and 21,881 were in the Junior Secondary Schools in the whole of Uganda. The Secondary School’s enrolment was 6,500 students. Therefore, this money-lessness, was not a pleasant sport. It had lethal consequences for livelihood and progress of the country and society.
By 1966, I had augumented my stock farm visit with visits to Mr. Mbiire’s farm, the only farmer with freisian cattle at that time and I had also visited the newly commissioned ranches (the Ankole-Masaka Ranching Scheme). Only the chiefs and a few of the new political elite, had been invited to the heavily Government supported Ranching Scheme. Why not the masses of the other farmers? Apart from these local examples, our classroom studies had also given us a telescopic view of the humans’ journey. The universe, in which we live, is 13.8 billion years old. 4 ½ million years ago, man evolved from the lower primates (monkey-like creatures) into homo sapien sapien (the wise man). This was an improvement on earlier attempts at human evolution. The Neanderthal man and homo-erectus, had now been superseded by the homo sapien sapien. This man, unlike the other creatures of God, had three unique characteristics: a large brain, a hand that could hold and shape tools and bipedalism – walking on two legs, which fact freed his head to thinking better and his eyes to see far. On account of these, this homo sapien sapien, was able to think of solutions to the problems he faced and to make tools that could assist him in all those chores. Eventually, man invented fire one and a half million years ago. He invented the science of agriculture, around 12000 years ago. He started domesticating animals, around 15000 years ago. He invented the use of iron-tools in the year 1200 BC. Africa took part in all these Revolutions. Each invention, made life for man easier.
However, Africa’s problems started when a German man, by the names of Johannes Gutenburg, invented the Printing Press, in the year 1440. An English man, by the names of Thomas Savery, invented the steam engine for pumping water in the year 1698, another Englishman, by the names of John Stevenson, adjusted the steam-engine to the pulling of the train – working as a locomotive engine in the year 1812-13. These inventions introduced a new element in the 4 and a half million years’ journey of man. All the other inventions had been powered by the muscle of man or beast – the hoe, the machete etc., were always powered by human muscle. The chariot, the donkey loads, the plough etc., were always powered by beast power. Now, for the first time in human history, machine power was replacing human and beast powers.
It is, at this point, that the African missed the bus of history. He continued using muscle power and, in some cases, animal power, in the age of machine power. To compound the problems of the Africans, around the Tenth Century, the Chinese invented gun-powder. The peaceful Chinese, never thought of using gun-powder for weapons. They just used gun-powder for fire-works for amusement. It is the Europeans who, in the year 1327, started using gun-powder to propel projectiles – bullets, shells etc. The combination of machine power and gun-powder, by 1900, had caused the total conquest of the whole of Africa, except for Ethiopia.
By 1961 when young Yoweri Museveni went “abroad” to Mbarara from Ntungamo (only 40 miles apart), 521 years from the year 1440 when Gutenburg invented the Printing Press, Africa, which had missed this bus of gun-powder and machine power, had been through the years of slave-trade, colonialism, incredible up-heavals including genocide as in Bunyoro, etc. Africans, however, on account of their strong heritage, had survived and, in combination with other freedom fighters in the World, were on the verge of defeating colonialism. Yet they were still relying on the human muscle (the hoe, the machete, the grinding stone, the engozi for carrying children on the back, the ensuwa carried with enkatta on the head for bringing water from the well etc.) and, in some areas of Uganda, the beast muscle, like the donkey for carrying loads in Kapchorwa and the oxen for pulling the plough in Teso, Lango and Acholi.
The use of machine power, introduced the phenomenon of large-scale production of goods and services which, in turn, caused sociological, economic and, even political, changes in societies that had embraced machine power. New social classes that had never existed before in human history, emerged. These were the middle class (the bourgeoisie) and the industrial working class (the proletariat). These added themselves to the old social classes of the feudalists and the artisans and the peasants (the serfs as they were called at that time). The middle class are the big producers of goods and services and they, therefore, think of markets and so do the proletariat because the more buyers that buy their products, the more prosperous they become. The industrial societies, therefore, thought of markets, of class interests, of interests (okukyenuura). In the pre-industrial societies, like the Uganda of 1959, where production was human-muscle-based and of very limited quantities, they did not understand the importance of markets and, instead, continued to think in terms of identity of religion, tribe and gender (men looking down upon women). When you are looking after goats, you just need one hill. You do not have to bother thinking about the whole of Uganda or Africa.
The 8 years of the school system in Mbarara (1959/1966), showed us clearly the difference between the two sets of human beings: the industrial societies of Western Europe, North America and Japan that had benefitted from the combination of gun-powder and machine power for now 639 years on the one hand and the pre-industrial societies like Uganda that were still using human muscle or beast muscle, were determinedly money-less and socially stunted – no middle class, no skilled working class, only with peasants, some artisans (black smiths, carpenters etc.) and an emasculated feudal class, the colonialists having taken political power from them, on the other hand.
In the school system, we had picked up two historically more recent cases: the case of France and the case of Germany. France had been a united kingdom ever since 843 AD. However, there were internal fiefdoms (areas badly dominated by a group) in the form of the internal provinces of France: Burgundy, Brittany etc. Although France was one kingdom, to go from one Province to the next Province, you had to pay a tax known as Traite. This escalated the costs of doing business in France. The new middle class (the bourgeoisie), would not tolerate this. It was one of the reasons for the French Revolution of 1789. The feudal class, was for localism. The middle class, was for integration. As late as 1870, Germany was not one Country. It was 39 kingdoms: Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria etc. They, of course, had taxes on the borders. There was a class of big landowners in Prussia who were producing alot of grain and grapes. You could, however, not freely access the markets of the German mini-states (the kingdoms). This group of big land owners in Prussia, were known as Junkers.
This is how a Pan-German Movement, under Bismarck, started, resulting in the Franco - Prussian War of 1870 and resulting in the birth of a United Germany, in 1871. The Middle –class and the skilled working class, were for modernization, for mass production using machines and better organised and were motivated by the concept of profit and were for integration and cosmopolitanism. Yet, it is precisely, this agent of growth and transformation that Africa, including Uganda, lacked. Instead, the population was pre-dominantly peasant, either engaged in subsistence farming (okukolera ekidda kyonka according to the Bagwere of Eastern Uganda or tic me cam keken according to our Acholis), or were growing, by force, crops ordered by the colonialist such as cotton and coffee without any kibaro, cura, aimar, otita or economic assessment to use the English equivalent, which assessment would have told us whether those crops were good for the families growing them or not. They grew the crops because the colonial system needed them and not because they aimed at emancipating the people from poverty. That is how Robusta coffee is called Kibooko (caning), in Uganda. It was introduced by forcing Ugandans to grow it, through caning.
Having keenly studied this and having continued to refine our ideas in the University, we saw that the diagnosis of Uganda was social under-development, social stunting (kuningama). The absence of a middle class and a skilled working class, was a serious disability factor. That is why we were determined to work for the development of a modern society that could ensure the prosperity of our people through the total monetization and commercialization of our economy, working on developing the middle class and skilled working class through two routes: convincing all the homesteads to join the commercialization movement by producing food for home consumption but also producing products for selling, guided by ekibaro, cura. Secondly, education for all, so that we get our people out of ignorance and they are able to read, write, understand numeracy and some are able to advance to intellectuality and the mastery of technical and scientific skills. Get the people out of negative obujajja (traditional way of okukolera ekidda kyoonka) and join the culture of creating wealth and jobs in the four sectors. Which are the four sectors? They are: Commercial Agriculture for all the homesteads that have rural land; Industries –big or small; services (hotels, shops, transport business etc.); and, more recently, ICT using the byuma bikalimagezi (the computers and other ICT machines). In otherwords, modernize and transform our society. Waking up our society from okulambaala – nino matek (sleeping).
If, however, everybody wakes up and they start producing wealth and jobs in the four sectors, who will buy all that production? That is how we evolved the four principles of the NRM. These are: patriotism within Uganda (unity within Uganda – no sectarianism), so that the Uganda market is together; since the Ugandan market is, however, not enough with our 42 million people, we found we needed the African Market to ensure the prosperity of the African people, hence the principle of Pan-Africanism; however, we cannot have the capacity to produce for these markets, unless we get out of the negative bujajja (traditional way of life) and the isolated colonial distortion of growing a few crops by kibooko, by becoming modern people through social-economic transformation, through education and engaging in money-making activities of our choice from the four sectors; all this needs, democracy so that the people keep checking on the leaders.
This was the diagnosis and prescription of the NRM for Uganda that formed the ideology and strategy of our struggle and efforts. When the civil wars were forced on us between 1971 to 1986, we were able to build a National Army, the Fronasa – NRA, that prosecuted and won that civil war. After 1986, we had alot of security challenges from Lakwena, Kony, ADF, FOBA, the cattle-rustlers in Karamoja armed with modern guns and, more recently, killers with bijambiya (by matcheting people); but, as you all witnessed, the NRA/UPDF, overcame all those challenges. Why? It is because we created a capable state with a capable Army and other Security Forces. On the side of education, we introduced UPE in 1997 and USE in 2007. These have helped the literacy rate to come from 43% to 75%. The numbers in the Primary Schools and Secondary Schools are now about 10.7 m pupils and 2 m students, respectively.
On the side of monetizing the economy and society, the production figures have gone up. Coffee from 2 million 60kg bags, we are now producing 5 million bags; bananas, we are at 10 million metric tonnes and have the capacity to go from 5.3 tonnes per hectare to 53 metric tonnes per hectare as Dr. Muranga has done at Nyaruziinga; maize, from 200,000 tonnes to, now 5 million tonnes per annum; tea, from 3 million kgs per annum to 60 million kgs: milk from 200 million litres to, now, 2.5bn litres; 5.6m metric tonnes of cement; 216,000 tonnes of steel products (mitayiimbwa); 530,000 metric tonnes of sugar; 10 bn. litres of soft drinks; 2.7 m tyres and tubes of piki pikis; 37m metres of textiles; 345 m litres of beer; pharmaceutical drugs; the Kiira electric car and the Kayoola mini-bus that are powered by solar energy; and many patents by Ugandan Scientists that we try to help with the use of the Innovation Fund – Dr. Muranga, Kyamuhangire, Musasizi, Tikodri Togboa etc. This is how you hear that the economy has been growing at the rate 6.3 % per annum for the last 33 years and it now stands at US$.34.2.bn.(FY 2018/19) by the exchange rate method or US$ 87 bn. (FY 2017/18) by the PPP method having been only US$0.4bn. in 1986. This growth would not have occurred if we had not semi-modernized the infrastructure. Power generation will soon stand at 1,767 megawatts with the commissioning of Karuma, Agago and other plants from the 60 megawatts of 1986. We have linked, with tarmac roads, the 6 directions of the compass from border to border as follows: East – West:– Busia – Malaba to Busuunga – Mpondwe in the West (625 kms); North to South:– Nimule – Musiingo to Entebbe (475 kms); Oraba in the North-West to Murongo – Mirama hill – Mutukula in the South East:- (783 kms); Cyanika, Bunagana in the South – West to Moroto in the North East:- (945 kms); and Malaba – Busia to Hoima –Kaiso-toonya in another section of the East-West direction:- ( 477 kms).
This does not include the other internal roads such as the Kigumba – Kyenjojo Road (242 kms), Musita-Mayuge – Namayiingo – Busia (84.7 kms) etc. Together with our brothers in Kenya and Tanzania, we are developing the standard gauge railway system. On the Uganda side, we have concluded everything and we are ready to start with the Kampala – Malaba section. These efforts, will lower the costs of doing business in Uganda. Especially for the manufacturing, I intend to move the cost of electricity to 5 US$ cents per unit from the present US$8.7 cents. It used to be US$ 10 cents. By solving the mistake of the expensive financing of Bujagaali, we shall attain the 5 cents target for manufacturing. The power of Kiira/ Nalubaale is at US$1.1.cents per unit. The power of Isimba is at US$4.16 cents per unit. The one of Karuma is at US$4.97cents per unit. It is only the power of Bujagaali, that is distorting our pricing formula because of the mistake of accepting expensive money and without consultation.
Therefore, delegates of the esteemed NRM Party, your Party and its pre-cursors, have done quite well for the last 60 years. We were able to correctly diagnose the problems of our society, early on, as social economic underdevelopment, caused by missing the historical bus of machine power and gun-powder power, which missing caused the phenomenon of a sociologically stunted society that lacked the modern middle and skilled working class societies. Given our huge natural advantages, however, we came to the conclusion that these were easily curable just like the Chinese, the Indians and the South Koreans have done in the last 60 years. That is how we rejected the line of identity of religion and tribes in politics.
We also correctly identified the importance of the private sector in terms of creating wealth and jobs. That is how we now have 4,920 factories, 8,400 service companies, 4,100 ICT companies, employing: 700,000, 1,300,000, 15,485 workers, respectively, giving a total of 2,015,485 workers. These are the beginning of the proletariat class that Africa should have developed in the 1800s- i.e. 200 years ago. It is better late than never. Our proletariat are actually better than the European proletariat and I even suspect they are better than the more recent Chinese and Indian proletariat. Our proletariat are mostly quasi-proletariat because, on account of the vast natural resources of Uganda, they also own land, cattle, goats, pigs, chicken etc. The European proletariat, in the past and even possibly today, were a desperate group. According to Karl Marx, ‘they only owned their labour’. The exact quote goes as follows: “Normally, the worker is legally the owner of his labour power and sells it freely according to his own wishes.” Ours, have their new jobs, their NSSF savings and their properties which are being managed by relatives. The more factories and service companies we are attracting, will also absorb more of our youth. The proletariat mentioned above, do not involve figures from agriculture.
Mr. Nyakana of Rwengaaju Village, Kabarole District, testified that since heeding the NRM message of going from okukorora ekkida kyoonka and looking after chicken commercially, he now employs six workers. Previously, he was unemployed himself and he was, of course, employing nobody. If all the other 8 million families of Ugandans that own an acre or more of land did some business or copied Mr. Nyakana of Rwengaaju Village, the issue of unemployment in Uganda would be solved. Even just 2 million families of farmers, each employing 6 people, that would absorb 12 million Ugandans.
Therefore, our diagnosis and prescription has already started changing the Ugandan society. By 1969, the factory workers were only 39,154 and those working in services companies were 66,953 workers.
Yet, we could have achieved more. I have, however, noted that some NRM leaders and cadres have not absorbed very well the NRM ideology, philosophy and strategy, as outlined above which is, first and foremost, pro-the ordinary people, especially the ones that are still in the okukolera ekidda kyoonka or the factory workers. We must, therefore, always understand well their issues and always defend their legitimate interests – because they are the ones who may not be conversant with the dynamics of the modern world. In particular, I have identified 6 areas in which the NRM must closely guide the people. These are: house-hold incomes; education for their children; opposing their illegal eviction from their bibanja; opposing the stealing of drugs in the Health Centres; opposing the corruption of Government officials – Policemen etc.; and working on the feeder roads.
As I said, right from 1959, I started working on waking up the Ugandans that were near me from the kulambaala (sleeping) of okukolera ekidda kyoonka – tic me cam keken, working only for eating, what, in English, you have nick-named “subsistence agriculture”. Between 1966 and 1970, I participated in a concerted effort in the same vein in the Kiruhuura area. After the bush war, I resumed the same campaign. The people in the Kiruhuura area had, by 1995, positively responded to these efforts by taking the radical step of adopting the more milk yielding friesian breeds in addition to or, sometimes, even instead of, the indigenous Ankole breeds. Having succeeded in the North Ankole area, in 1995, I took the message to the whole of Uganda. Those that are old enough, remember the catch words I was using at that time: okulembeka, jolopii, aiga-akipi, okubarira, cura, aimar, otita etc. These different words in our respective languages, were exhorting our money-less people who, nevertheless, have land and other assets, to select some profit making enterprises they could do on their land or other work sites. Starting with entandikwa, PMA, Prosperity for All, NAADS and, more recently, with the OWC with the UPDF soldiers, we have been attacking the same problem – “money-lessness” by abstaining from doing any money-making activity, just because of bad attitude, because of ignorance.
Even by the Census of 2014, about 68% of the homesteads, were still outside the money economy. This is the greatest challenge to our country and society. OWC has distributed 1 bn. seedlings of coffee, 3.8m seedlings of fruits, 5m banana suckers, 5,321 heifers, 2,106 pigs. Recently, we launched the Myooga Fund – 18 of them – funds to support livelihood activities based on commercial principles. It is the same effort that aims at monetizing our entire society. The Parish must be the centre of auditing this effort. There are 9,748 Parishes in the whole of Uganda. The NRM leaders, especially the MPs, LC3 Chairpersons and the RDCs, must ensure that all the homesteads wake up and join the money-making campaign, based on ekibaro, cura, for the benefit of their families and for the benefit of the country. This is the best support for the people; it is the most pro-people policy measure the NRM has come up with. It is sustainable and very profitable.
The next important measure, is the free education we launched in 1997. As I speak today, many UPE beneficiaries have graduated from Universities. Unfortunately, however, some saboteurs, have been sabotaging UPE and USE by re-introducing school money charges in Government USE and UPE Schools. This is a wrong move. The question is: “Can the parents afford the charges that are being imposed on them?” If they cannot, then what will happen to these children who drop out of school? Whom are you punishing by expelling from School, the student that cannot pay? I am now going to ask the new Minister of Local Government to get every Village Assembly in the 67,392 villages in the whole of Uganda to pass a Resolution on this. Can all the parents afford these charges? If they cannot, it is a crime to re-introduce them. Check in your villages. How many children have dropped out of school in each village? Even from far, I can tell that many children are dropping out of school. How do I know? I know because, while there are 10.7 million children in the Primary Schools – seven years of study -, there are only 2 million children in the Secondary Schools – 6 years of study – almost the same length as the Primary Schools. Where have the others gone? If the UPE and the USE are not needed and if the parents can afford, then let us withdraw the Shs 1.830 trillion that we spend every year to support UPE and USE, so that we use it to do other things.
Then there is the issue of land evictions, especially for the Bibanja owners in Buganda where the colonialists had introduced the iniquitous Mailo land. In the 1995 Constitution, we tried to be balanced between the Landlord and the tenants. We recognized six categories of bibanja owners: the one that was given ekibanja by the landlord or his agent; the one who was on that kibanja in 1983 or before – whom we termed bona-fide occupant; the one who bought from one of the two above; the one who inherited from one of the two above; the one that was first to settle on the Public land (kutembuura); and the ones that were settled by the Government like the ones we settled in Kisiita, Kanyaryeru etc.
These six, were lawful tenants and we agreed that nobody should evict them and that the rent they should pay, should be nominal, not commercial. We also agreed that when we are able, we should expand the Land Fund from the Shs.39.5 bn. per annum, we have been putting in the budget, to compensate the landlords so that they pull out completely and end this shameful arrangement. It is, therefore, illegal and a provocation to the NRM to evict these people. Recently, in our walk, I interacted with some of the victims. We are going to defend them. Many of them stood with us in the struggle. We cannot abandon them. If you do not fall in the 6 categories, do not tell lies. Speak the truth and we shall see how to handle your issue. Even the land we returned to HH the Kabaka and other traditional leaders, must be handled in the same way. If it is heavily settled by the 6 categories, then the traditional leaders, should discuss with me how we can empower them but should not disadvantage our people in any way. They should not introduce any formula that is at variance with the 1995 Constitution. That Constitution, in respect of land, was deliberately crafted to capture the historical compromise between us, the freedom fighters and our peasant supporters, on the one hand and other interests on the other hand. In the month of February, I will discuss with the concerned traditional leaders a definite solution to this issue.
We, then, have the issue of the stealing of Government drugs from Health Centres. What are the GISOS doing? There is a GISO in every Sub-County. Why should the theft of drugs go on and the GISO is doing nothing about it? How about the DPC? How about the Sub-county Chief? They are responsible for knowing and stopping these thefts and so is the CAO at the District.
Corruption has become a big problem for the people. Yet, it is easy to stop. You saw what happened to the Officers in the Prime Minister’s Office. They are all in jail. There are some colluders who have been trying to help them to keep some of the money they stole. We know who they are. They will be netted. I do not want to list all the other fellows accused of stealing because I do not want to be accused of going against the law of sub-judice – do not comment on matters that are in Court. We shall defeat the corruption, like we defeated the other challenges.
The network of tarmac roads is expanding. We now have 4,966 kms of tarmac roads and when the roads under construction are finished, the total will be 7,000 kms. However, the murram roads are not maintained systematically. The machines we bought from Japan, should be used to maintain, with good murraming, certain categories of roads without fail. How about the linking of Constituencies? Surely, these should always be in good condition. So must the inter-Sub-County roads. The Sub-counties/Town Councils in Uganda are 2,003. Many are already connected by the big national and inter-District roads. If those are well maintained, the problem will be less. If I take the Sub-counties of Gombe, Masuliita, Makulubita, Semuto, Kapeeka, they are already connected by the tarmac road from Matugga to Semuto and Kapeeka. However, the Ministries concerned, should identify the other crucial links between the other neighboring ones: Wakiso, Kakiri, Namayumba, Busuunju, Kikandwa, Dwaniro to the left and in front as you face the Kapeeka direction and Bombo, Nakaseke, Kiwoko, Wakyato etc., to the right. You do not have to take on too many of such. One good one for each of the Sub-counties would be good enough. I was happy to see that the Kapeeka – Nakwaya Road was good during my recent walk. Then work out a plan for the smaller roads. Affordability is always very crucial in planning.
Home-stead incomes, free education for the children of the poor, stopping the stealing of drugs in Government Health Centres, stopping evictions of bibanja owners by the landlords that do not respect the historical compromise put forward by the NRM, fighting the corruption of Government officials and working on the feeder roads. Today, these are the very important pro-people measures, that we need to ensure.
As you can see, my emphasis is on the ordinary people. It does not mean that we have forgotten the 32% of the homesteads who are already in the money sectors. Actually, in some areas, this figure has now gone up-reducing the portion of people still in subsistence economy (okukolera ekidda kyoonka). In Mityana, my people told me that the households in the money sector have now reached 50%. Not too bad, but not enough. The people in the money sector are bound to do well, now that we have given them better infrastructure and lowered the costs of doing business. The manufacturing, services and ICT Sectors, will grow tremendously and so will commercial agriculture provided we stump out corruption among the Government officials handling these issues.
Remember that the historical mission of the NRM is to make the Ugandan jump on the historical bus of machine power and gun-powder power that they missed since 1440 when Gutenberg invented the Printing Press and, as a consequence, cause the metamorphosis of our society into a middle class, skilled working society and away from the society of peasants, low skill artisans and a miniscule and powerless feudal class. We have already created some impact as pointed out above with the workers in factories etc. Even though alot is yet to be done, the little we have done has already caused big changes that have now crystallized new challenges. We now have surplus bananas, surplus sugar, surplus milk, surplus maize, surplus cement, surplus steel products, surplus textiles, surplus tyres and tubes for motor-cycles etc., etc. The long - held analysis of the NRM that tribal and religious affiliations were wrong and suicidal and that the legitimate interests of the people should be to work for the prosperity of the people, has now been vindicated. Prosperity means the sale of goods and services one produces in big quantities and with good prices. It means the market. The internal market of Uganda is not enough. We need the regional market of East Africa, the continental market of Africa and the international market. However, we cannot credibly negotiate for the international market, if we do not have a strong African market to use for counter bargaining. This means that the patriotic political parties in Africa, in order to support the prosperity of the African people, must support the economic and, where possible, also the political integration of Africa. You have heard of us supporting the Abuja Treaty of 1991 and the CFTA of 2017. These were all to create the Free Continental market of Africa, so as to, precisely, solve the problems Uganda is facing right now – too much sugar, too much maize, too much bananas, too much cassava, too much milk etc. It is not too much of anything. It is only too much of disorganisation. How can the 2.5bn. litres of milk Uganda is producing now be too much? Holland in Europe produces 10bn litres. It is all sold. Why? It is because of the EU market mechanisms. With a well-functioning African free market, the issue of marketing will be addressed. The even more decisive way of addressing the issue of the market is to work for both economic and, where possible, also for political integration. That is why, eversince 1963, we have been supporting the creation of the Political Federation of East Africa. We never support the political union of the whole of Africa, because we prefer political units that have got internal cohesion. The whole of Africa does not have that sort of cohesion – language, cultural etc. East and Central Africa have – the Swahili language, apart from the inter-lacustrine Bantu and Nilotic dialects, is a very strong adhesive for unity. I am glad, the East African Countries have agreed on the issue of the confederation as a first step. Justice Benjamin Odoki is leading the Constitutional Drafting Committee. The media, however, is not paying attention to this earth-shaking development in Africa, of un-paralleled historical importance. The Press is, instead, awash with accidents etc. They left undone what they ought to have done and they did that they ought not to have done and there is no truth in them, it says in the Church of Uganda Common Prayer Book, on Page 5. The Ugandans need to wake up and completely debunk the trash of the politics of identity: tribe, religion, gender-chauvinism etc. Interests for prosperity and strategic security, not identity politics with its sectarianism. Let those who have been promoting sectarianism of religion, tribe and gender –chauvinism, provide market for our products. Let them buy the sugar, the milk, the maize, the bananas, the cement, the cooking oil etc.
Therefore, the diagnosis and prescription of the NRM and its precursors, have been accurate all these years and so has been the strategy that identified the 10 bottlenecks. The Ugandans and the other Africans must, finally, get on to the bus of history which has been by-passing them for the last 600 years. We must build a modern-science-led society and the society itself must metamorphoze into a middle-class skilled working class one, running a fully monetized economy of the four sectors of: Commercial Agriculture, Industries, Services and ICT in addition to the Public Service (Government Departments). This is the mission of the NRM and it has been the mission for the last 60 years. There were other Ugandans that also contributed to this vision such as the Movement of I.K. Musaazi in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Unfortunately, Musaazi’s Movement, was torn apart by the sectarian politics of the 1950s. He had, however, made his humble contribution to patriotism. Let us consolidate our achievements. This was the main reason of calling this Conference. To revisit the ideology of the NRM. Ideology and strategy are most important issues for a political group. What is the message of a political force? Meetings without understanding the ideology, are a waste of time. I have never met Jesus, but I am a Christian. Why? It is because I read the Bible and Priests keep reminding us.
On the issue of marketing our surplus products, however, we shall not wait, passively, for the maturing of the CFTA etc. There are other measures we are already taking that will broaden the demand. We say there is too much maize grain. However, when I look at the import figures of Uganda, I see that maize products to the tune of US$118,597,120 millions are still being imported. That means that we are only using maize for kawunga – maize flour. We are bringing investors to make all the types of animal feeds, industrial alcohol, pharmaceutical and industrial grade starch etc. Those will absorb this artificial surplus we are talking about now. How about baby formula milk we are still importing? It seems that food preparations, that may include baby foods, are consuming US$29m and are still being imported. How about the industrial and pharmaceutical grade sugar? We are still importing these types of sugar to the tune of US$192,070,689million per year. While the demand for drinking sugar in tea may be saturated in Uganda and the region, the demand for the more refined sugars for the use by Coca-Cola and for medicine is still unattended to, both in Uganda and the region, if not the whole of Africa.
Let us broaden the spectrum of the final products. It will address, in part, the issue of demand. Besides, even for maize flour, powdered milk etc. there is alot of demand in Iran, Egypt, Algeria etc. However, the quality of our milk and the other products must meet the required standard in order to access these markets. The grade of our maize, for instance, is undermined by the bad post-harvest handling – putting food on the ground (soil), where there is fungus. This is the fault of the Ministry of Agriculture who do not educate the public. During my recent walk, I noticed many farmers drying coffee, maize etc. on canvas or cemented ground. I, however, saw somebody in the Masuliita area, who had harvested unripe coffee. These are enemies of our prosperity. We must be strict with them, even legally. Otherwise, even today, there are many friends that could buy our products but we must solve the problem of quality.
Recently, I was in the UK and the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson, declared that my cattle will have an ‘honoured place’ on his breakfast table. We had not followed so much the issue of Brexit. It seems, however, that that event may have global significance by undermining the unfair cartel the EU built starting with the Treaty of Rome of 1957 which shut out of Europe the products from Latin America, Africa, Australia etc. By 1955, in the school system, we were being taught that one of the richest countries in the World was Argentina. Why? It was the biggest producer of beef and of wheat in an area known as the Pampas. With the European Cartel, Argentina’s prosperity, it seems, collapsed. Therefore, the UK market is now open for our products provided they are of good quality and, of course, of competitive prices. Therefore, Ugandans, No excuses. As we work on the African market, there are plenty of other opportunities.
The second and smaller reason is an organizational one. How to handle primaries? Due to ideological limitations, some actors take political leadership as a matter of life and death and are ready to cheat in order to get the flag of the NRM. This annoys the population and, if not checked, can lead to disenchantment by the population. That is why we thought that we should go back to lining behind candidates. This is transparent and definitive. There are no arguments as to who won. Some people have brought out some arguments against the lining up. They have quoted three reasons as follows:
(a)Politically discordant couples are protected from conflict by the secret ballot;
(b)Candidates will hate the people that did not vote for them;
(c)It will not solve the problem of independents because the national Constitution provides for them.
We considered these side-effects of the lining up medicine which is the real cure for cheating. The main answer to the two above is that even with the secret ballot, political contests attract supporters and opposers. A candidate’s supporters form task forces, campaign for the candidate etc. Many of the supporters are known – secret ballot or not. The question, then, is: “What percentage are those discordant couples or those whose candidate preference they prefer not to be known?” It cannot be the majority. It is the majority we want to cater for so that they stop blaming the leadership – rightly or wrongly, for instance in the primaries, apart from the huge expense. On the issue of independents defying the lining-up and going as independents, they will have a weak case because everybody would have witnessed the lining-up. The potent point of independents is the claim that they were cheated. If that is removed, their claims will be weaker. Besides, the NRM will not tolerate such members. In the past, we hesitated because we were not sure about who was right and who was wrong. It will, therefore, improve discipline in Parties. This is why we are recommending it.
I thank all of you.