Uganda can’t be lectured on democracy - Museveni

President Museveni says Uganda is too democratic that its citizens should be teaching the world about democracy
President Yoweri Museveni has restated that no one should teach Ugandans about democracy because their country is the most democratic in the world. 

Addressing the nation at the 32nd National Resistance Movement/Army power takeover anniversary in Arua yesterday, Museveni said Ugandans need not to get any lecture from anyone on democracy. He said to the contrary, Ugandans should be the ones lecturing the world about democracy.
Museveni said democracy is now ingrained in Ugandans, citing elections of representatives in parliament and district, sub-county and village councils, as well as the election of representatives of special interest groups like the youth, women, army, workers, disabled and elderly.

Museveni's remarks will not go down well with the opposition who accuse him of increasing presiding over an authoritarian government. Pundits say although the country goes through cycles of elections, like a ritual, the processes and outcomes are tilted in favour of the ruling party.

The president's comments come in the wake of the removal of the presidential age limit that paves way for him to run for at least two more times. The presidential age limit of 75 was the only stumbling block on his way for re-election for the sixth time.

Meanwhile, the undisciplined nature of many Ugandans, especially motorists, prompted Museveni to call for a culture of discipline in the citizens in order to project a good image of the country.

Museveni said although Uganda is growing steadily, one negative aspect is the indiscipline exhibited by especially motorists, particularly boda-boda's and taxis.

The president cited Kampala were motorists disrespect traffic regulations, like driving on road shoulders, pedestrian walkways and speeding. He said Uganda is peaceful and the people have the reputation of being welcoming and hospitable, indiscipline will scare off foreigners, particularly investors and tourists.

He said being disciplined would make Uganda attractive for tourists, whose numbers, he said, have increased from negligible in 1986 to now 1.5 million, bringing in over $1.5 billion. Tourism is the biggest foreign exchange earner for Uganda, ahead of diaspora remittances, coffee and others.

The president said many foreigners have complained to him especially about recklessness on Kampala's roads, a habit he appealed to Ugandans to stop. He ordered the police to insist on adherence to proper road usage and regulations, asserting that no one must abuse the road by driving on the pedestrian walkways.
Museveni congratulated the people of West Nile for their contribution to the pacification of Uganda when they collaborated with his then rebel outfit, the National Resistance Army, in the fight against dictatorship.
Museveni cited the involvement of local outfits like the Uganda National Rescue Front, led by now first deputy prime minister Gen Moses Ali, which fought in collaboration with the NRA.
Religious leaders at the celebrations
One of the top and most fiercest NRA commanders was the late Brig Peter Kerim, from Zombo district, who led major battles including those that led to the capture of Kampala.

The president also recounted two occasions - one in 1979 when West Nile elders peacefully met advancing Tanzanian army and Uganda National Liberation Forces near Pakwach, paving way for a peaceful takeover of West Nile after the ouster of then President Idi Amin Dada.
The second occasion was in 1986 when West Nile elders also denounced war and again led a delegation to welcome the advancing NRA forces.
Museveni thanked the people of West Nile for refusing to join the war in northern Uganda, stressing that by so doing they contribute to the peace in Uganda.
In 1986, the late Walter Ochora, the former Gulu LCV chairman, set up a rebel force near Nebbi Town, but the local chiefs and elders, led by the late King of Alur, Rwoth Obimo Valente Oyoma Jobi II, ordered them out. Ochora's rebel out was forced to abandon their activities and joined the NRA.
On pan-Africanism, the president also hailed Westnilers for knowing, first-hand, the importance of being pan-African. He cited the strong trade links between the region and neighbouring countries - the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Museveni said anyone who talks of tribe and religion in politics is an enemy who deepens people's poverty and denies them prosperity. Meanwhile, Museveni said West Nile's erratic power supply will be sorted by connecting the region to the national power grid.
West Nile is the only part of northern Uganda not connected to the national power grid, relying on an unreliable Nyagak hydropower dam in Zombo district that generates just 3.5 megawatts of electricity, far below the demand.

Connecting the region to the national power grid is one of the top demands of the people of West Nile, which is undergoing significant economic growth and urbanization. Museveni said the region will be connected from Pakwach to Olwiyo. The Olwiyo line will come from Gulu. Previously, Museveni said it wasn't worth it connecting West Nile to the national grid.

On roads, Museveni said government is building the Arua-Obongi-Moyo, Koboko-Yumbe-Moyo and Atiak-Adjumani-Laropi-Moyo roads. In addition to connecting the northern parts of West Nile, these roads are also vital for the humanitarian activities in the region.

Although welcome, the no-comment on other vital roads in southern parts of West Nile, particularly Nebbi-Paidha-Zombo-Zeu road, Zombo-Warr-Logiri-Vurra, and Pakwach-Panyimur-Parombo-Erussi-Goli roads, is disturbing to the people of Nebbi, Zombo and Pakwach districts.

These vital roads, connecting very large and fast growing urban centres, are also top of the demands of the people of the three districts.
On economic empowerment, Museveni said young people will be supported to own means and factors of production like land and maize mills, adding that these will be helpful only if the youths are disciplined.
© 2016 Observer Media Ltd