Uganda: 2021: A sneak peek into Museveni’s 6th term bid

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President Museveni and his wife, Janet, at the NRM party headquarters in Kampala last week. He was nominated as the party’s presidential flagbearer. PHOTO | PPU 

By Misairi Thembo Kahungu

President Museveni is set to appear on the ballot paper in the 2021 General Election after Parliament amended Article 102b of the Constitution to lift the presidential age limit in December 2017.

Last week, the ruling NRM electoral commission nominated Mr Museveni after the party’s Central Executive Committee, parliamentary caucus and different regional leaders endorsed his sole candidature last year.

A virtual delegates conference on Friday and Saturday is expected to confirm him as the party’s flag bearer.

The district executive committees will send their decision by resolution as one of the regulations recently approved by Parliament to help political parties hold meetings without putting members at risk of contracting Covid-19.

During his nomination, President Museveni told NRM members that if he is elected for the sixth term, he will focus on deepening modernisation and promoting East African regional integration to strengthen markets.

Mr Museveni said the rest of the details will be captured by the manifesto committee chaired by Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
What lies ahead?
Nearly 50 people have written to the Electoral Commission (EC) expressing interest to run against Mr Museveni for the country’s top job.

This newspaper understands that the number may even grow with the EC yet to respond to a letter by Mr Eric Bunnet Kitsa, a resident of Kasese District, who has also expressed interest.

With the four-time challenger, Dr Kizza Besigye, still undecided on whether to run or not, Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, of the National Unity Platform and Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu of the Alliance for National Transformation, are already set as flag bearers for their political parties.

Scientific election
Considering the global trends, Uganda’s next General Election has already been termed as “scientific” after the EC banned public rallies and opted for media campaigns.

The next president will, therefore, have to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Uganda like the rest of the world must participate in research to find a vaccine or a cure for the coronavirus.

Mr Museveni has promised this in his addresses about the country’s fight against Covid-19.

Regarding his manifesto, Mr Emmanuel Dombo, the NRM’s director of communication, says it is yet to be completed and made public because the President still has unfinished business.

Mr Dombo says the NRM’s principle has always been about improving the welfare of citizens, adding that if the President is re-elected, he will build on his achievements to ensure the country attains middle-income status in the next term.

“The President will be building to improve the welfare of Ugandans. The political stability of this country needs to be managed by guaranteeing security and there is no best option other than our President,” he says.

However, Mr Dombo cites some challenges that the party has to deal with, including industrialisation, job creation for youth, increasing revenue collection to finance the country’s budgets and achieving the EAC regional political federation.

Ms Florence Kintu, the former Kalungu Woman MP, and now the chairperson of the Rwenzori Women Peace Forum, wants Mr Museveni to implement a rehabilitation programme for the sub-region, which has faced decades of ethnic conflict and insurgency.

The sub-region witnessed clashes between the Bakonzo and Batooro in the 1960s. Other conflicts have been between the Bakonzo and Bamba/Bawisi in Bundibugyo District, Bakonzo and the Basongora in Kasese. These have led to repeated calls for creation of districts to settle the tribal scores.

“In all these [clashes], people have lost lives and property, and they needed to be addressed through special programmes,” Ms Kintu says.

At the start of the current term, Mr Museveni referred to it as kisanja hakuna mchezo (a term with no playing games) as he declared war against corruption.

Midway through the term, he publicly expressed displeasure in the efforts of the Inspectorate of Government in the fight against the vice, and created a parallel organ — the State House Anti-Corruption Unit. But the vice is still persistent.

“Corruption is killing the nation and I hope the President and the leaders, who will be elected to serve with him, can find a lasting solution to this problem. Otherwise, the corrupt are doing it with a lot of impunity,” Ms Kintu says.

With the number of challengers likely to increase in the next election, Mr Museveni will be seeking to raise his bar in the overall performance.

During the launch of the NRM register last week, Mr Sam Engola, the vice chairperson for northern region, hinted that basing on the performance of this term’s manifesto, the party was assured of “90 per cent victory on all positions.”

With reports that Dr Besigye is reluctant to run again, Bobi Wine is expected to be the main challenger.

This means that the NRM campaign taskforce must assemble a manifesto that deals with youth issues that Bobi Wine has focused on to attract the masses.

NRM party manifesto highlights
Security, good governance and democracy: The Uganda People’s Defence Forces is steadily turning into a professional Force. Its capability has been greatly improved through acquisition of modern equipment, regular maintenance of equipment and human capital development. The police on the other hand, has expanded in structure and numerical terms leading to improved service delivery.

Consolidating growth, employment and macro-economic stability: There has been continued prioritisation of maintenance of macro-economic stability through continued pursuance of prudent monetary policies that support growth and low inflation.

Public and private sector institutional development: Government has continued to provide requisite skills to its employees in all sectors to foster implementation of its policies and programmes.

Agriculture: Government has continued with distribution of improved seeds and breeding materials under Operation Wealth Creation.

Industry: Supporting technological innovations by increasing the innovation fund the government has established iron and steel industry in Kabale, Kisoro and Kanungu; Lake Katwe salt factory revamping is on, sheet glass project in Masaka and establishment of seven zonal agro-processing facilities in Arua, Soroti, Luweero, Kayunga, Ntungamo, Masaka and Kasese.
Culture: According to the mid-term manifesto performance review, 57.1 per cent of the promises under this area had so far been achieved. A total of Shs60m is annually released to each of the 14 cultural/traditional leaders; four intangible cultural heritages have been documented and the Uganda National Culture Forum has been formed and operationalised.

Labour and employment: The mid-term review revealed that 60 per cent of the planned actions are on track and 25 per cent likely to be achieved and 15 per cent off track. Government has empowered disadvantaged groups of society through Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme, Youth Livelihood Programme and Social Assistance Grants Empowerment (SAGE).

Tourism: This has been booming until it was affected by the global pandemic. Mr Museveni has utilised every opportunity to market Uganda as a potential tourism destination. Six roads have been paved with completed civil works while 16 roads have ongoing civil works while designs have been completed for eight roads but funding for construction is yet to be secured.

Trade: In the mid-term review, 40 per cent of the trade NRM commitments have been achieved, 30 per cent was likely to be achieved and 30 per cent off track.

ICT: The review indicated that 33.3 per cent of the pledges have been achieved.

Source Daily Monitor.

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