By Patrick Nakabale
The President has been at the forefront of rallying support for industrialisation, investments, peace and security interventions within the country and the region, increasing household earnings and eradication of poverty all which have faced stiff resistance from a cross section of leaders.
At a number of addresses, the President has challenged leaders why he should beg them on issues of supporting the industrialisation drive, and yet it is from the same industries that the government collects tax from which the leaders and civil servants earn a salary through the Consolidated Fund.
The President is spot on here because, like he has often argued, Uganda’s massive unemployment problem can only be solved by establishing and supporting industries in the various parts of the country.
When the President led a spirited campaign to solve the country’s energy needs beginning with the Karuma and Bujagali power dams, some politicians shot down his interventions on the mantra of protecting and preserving the environment and natural heritage in the form of waterfalls, surrounding fauna and flora, etc, whose eradication would ostensibly lead to ecological imbalances.
But with the switching on of Bujagali, which, at peak, will generate 800MW of power, and the commissioning of mini-hydro power stations which bring to the grid not less than 700 MW of power, the President has proved his critics and detractors wrong, but too late after learning an unforgettable lesson of power shortage that has paralysed our economy to some extent.
The other area where the President has proved his detractors wrong is in regional peace and stability. In 2007 when the President decided to intervene in the Somalia pacification process by deploying our gallant men and women of the UPDF in the country that had been torn apart by over 20 years of civil conflict, a number of leaders and the public voiced themselves against this noble cause.
Five years down the road, Somalia is on the road to recovery and the country is for the very first time since the ouster of Siad Barre testing real peace. The mighty UPDF has scored exceedingly well against the terrorist al-shabaab militias and engaging communities on the road to development.
In fact when other AU countries saw the courageous exploits of the UPDF, they followed suit with Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Algeria, Mali, Nigeria, etc sending troops to Somalia.
It is the same situation currently with the deployment of troops to stop ethnic massacres in South Sudan. South Sudan is currently involved in a full-scale civil war in which more than 4000 have been killed and over 200,000 civilians displaced.
South Sudan is one of Uganda’s leading trading partner with an estimated $250m (sh625b) a year flowing from South Sudan to the Ugandan economy. This war is not only a South Sudan affair but it affects Uganda and the entire region.
Those criticising the President’s intervention in this matter are short-sighted forgetting security threats such as the LRA and ADF.
The President, as the chief executive of the country, needs all the support he can get from his citizens and fellow leaders. The President always thinks in the best interest of the country’s development and stability, and as such it is not in his desire to put his country in harm’s way.
This notwithstanding, the President needs enough time and space to think about the country’s priority needs. There are people who are in the habit of ambushing the President with matters that do not add up to national development, and distracting the head of state from the steady course of thinking and planning for the nation.
We as leaders should support each other in the course of supporting the nation’s development objectives, as opposed to fighting each other and pulling our country down. Cheap fights and opposing for the sake of drawing attention won’t take us anywhere. It is sabotage and a form of corruption.
The writer is Youth MP Central Region/General Secretary NRM Caucus in Parliament