(President Museveni’s speech on 37th NRM day at Kakumiro)
Congratulations to all of you on this occasion of the 37th anniversary of the NRM victory in 1986.
That victory came about because of the NRM’s four principles that we had distilled out of the chaotic politics and governance that had bedevilled Uganda for almost 556 years, ever since the rule of the last Muchwezi king, Wamala – Ruhaanja, Njoojo Ebuunga.
The successor dynasties of the Babiito in Bunyoro – Tooro – Congo, the Balangira in Buganda, the Bahinda in Ankole –Karagwe – Buhaya – Bujiinja, etc., the Bashambo in Mpororo, the Bainginya in Rwanda, the clan Chiefs in Bukyiri (Lango) and Gani (Acholi), had been incapable of uniting our people and were in constant bankrupt wars of greed and ignorance, until the colonialists came on the scene and assigned them to the dustbin of history.
The colonialists, added to the bankrupt politics of tribal chauvinism pushed by the chiefs, the poison of religious sectarianism (Catholics, Protestants, Moslems, Jews, etc.), that had caused so much human haemorrhage in Europe, not to forget the conflict between the Hindus and the Moslems that caused the breakup of the Indian sub-continent into the countries of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
This bankrupt politics of identity chauvinism (ethnicity and religion), could not allow the young State of Uganda, following Independence, in 1962, or its democratic institutions, to survive.
The crises between Mutesa and Obote in 1966 and between Obote and Amin in 1971, forced the student revolutionaries to take up arms and lead the masses in the effort to destroy the colonial army, the Uganda Army, as well as putting forward the four principles of the NRM that, as pointed out above, we had distilled out of watching the chaos between 1960 and 1986.
You are familiar with the four: Patriotism, Pan-Africanism, Social-economic Transformation and Democracy. It is these principles that enabled Uganda to build institutions such as the patriotic political parties, the army, the judiciary, etc. that have guaranteed peace, all these years. That is why we are celebrating now.
Patriotism (loving Uganda) and Pan- Africanism (loving Africa) re-oriented the Ugandans from following the politics of identity (tribes, religion, gender, etc.), to following the politics of the legitimate needs (interests) of the people (peace, consumer goods, health, development, education, wealth creation, markets for our products, etc.).
On account of that, our economy has grown from a miserable US$1.5 billion in 1986, to US$48 billion; by end of June 2023, the GDP per capita will be $1,067. You remember that to enter the middle-income category, you need the GDP per capita of $1,039. This is now the second financial year we have been in that category.
You need three years, consecutively, to be recognized as a middle-income country. However, in my view, all those are low targets, which Uganda will easily surpass. Why? You remember my admonitions about losing value through the export of raw materials.
This low middle-income economy we are now talking about is still, actually, mainly a raw-materials-producing economy, where for a kilogram of coffee, we get US$2 for bean coffee while the wiser foreigners who roast the coffee, grind it and pack it for sale in supermarkets, get $50 for the same kilogram.
I have, finally, woken up some Ugandans from this sleep of ignorance. We are going to add value to more and more of our coffee and the other raw materials – cotton, maize, forest products, minerals, etc. This broad-spectrum value-addition movement will jumpstart our economy in a fairly short time to a half-trillion economy ($500 billion).
We now have the electricity and we are adding more; we have the varied and massive raw materials and, increasingly, we have the entrepreneurs – local and foreign. We [also] have the African market that we have put in place with our pan-Africanist comrades.
Therefore, on this occaion, I want to emphasize five points. These are: (a) be clear about development (entunguuka, enkulankulaine, dongolobo, apolu, etc.) and wealth (obugaiga, obuguuda, lonyo, etc.); (b) be clear that social-economic transformation involves the whole society to move on two axises – money based wealth creation with ekibaro and mass-education; (c) stamping out corruption from all government agencies in the Central and the Local governments; (d) stamping out sectarianism; and (e) protecting our environment.
Those coming to Kakumiro today for the celebrations have seen how many tarmac roads we have done in Bunyoro and how much we have extended the electricity network. The NRM has, however, all this time, been telling you that you do not eat tarmac roads but you eat the food that you have either grown or bought. The same applies to clothing, housing, mode of locomotion, etc.
The latter are all part of wealth (obugaiga) and the former (roads, electricity, etc.) are part of development. Therefore, for wealth, we are telling you that every adult must engage in wealth for money with ekibaro, either as an entrepreneur or as an employee in the four sectors of: Commercial agriculture, Industry, Services and ICT. No excuses for the bakongozi.
You may have development, but if people are asleep, you can continue with the poverty. Why? It is because what eradicates poverty (obwooro, obwavu, obunaku, can, etc.) is wealth; development is a mere enabler of wealth creation.
Secondly, our principle number 3; social-economic transformation, okuva omumbeera y’obujajja, ne tubeera ab’omulembe. We need to go from okukolera ekidda kyoonka (tic me ic keken), subsistence economic activities and be commercial with ekibaro and also ensure mass education so that the whole society [becomes] a science-led society and gets out of
ignorance and superstition where people believe that etalo is caused by edogo (witchcraft), and not by a bacteria known as straphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria that cause that cellulitis.
REMOVING ALL OBSTACLES
Therefore, all emiziziko (obstacles) that interfere with education, such as school charges, must be removed. Since many families cannot yet afford the paying of money for education, the government must provide free education in government primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
The present drop-out rate at the secondary schools level of 64% is not acceptable. Stay tuned. You will hear what we shall tell you in a few weeks. Corruption will be stamped out. I congratulate some government agencies; I have seen people that had stolen PDM [Parish Development Model] and Emyooga money, being arrested or being forced to refund the money. That is good.
However, it is not enough. I have heard the bazzukulu crying about the District Service Commissions selling Local Government jobs. I have heard of girls being exploited sexually as bribes for jobs. Get evidence, please, devoted members of the public and we expunge and roast those pigs.
The DISOs and the CIDs should also be on notice. How does such corruption go on in your AOR (Area of Responsibility) and you do not know or, if you know, you do not report?
You still hear some elements pushing sectarianism of tribe and religion. We long ago banished sectarianism. I believe it is both a criminal and can lose his or her seat of an elected office if it is proved that he used sectarianism, even if he is already elected.
Why, then, preserve such parasites? Get the evidence and we get rid of them! They can also be persecuted criminally. Finally, the issue of the environment. The forests, the wetlands, the river-banks, the lake shores, the hilltops, etc. are crucial for our survival.
We need water and clean air. Both of them come from the wetlands and forests. You cannot say that you are a patriot of Uganda, but you damage our wetlands, our forests, our river banks, our lake shores, our steep gradients, on which our livelihoods depend. Even food is possible because of air, water, etc.
You become a munyanzigwa (enemy) when you damage these. [Some] 40% of our rain comes from these forests and wetlands. It is the 60% that comes from the oceans. How can we destroy ourselves in this way on account of some greedy people?
Therefore, be alerted! In a few weeks, I will launch a mega effort, to get rid of this parasitism.
I thank you.