By Asiimwe Stephen
January 26 marks 28 years of National Resistance rule. Having born out of the realities of the history of Uganda, took over the mantle of leadership of this country.
The history of Uganda up to that time had been characterised by, among others, the weaknesses typical of pre-industrial state in addition to two decades of extra-judicial killings, political, social and economic anarchy that followed the independence as Tom Mboya said “A Nation without history is like a face without a nose”, the emergence of the National Resistance Movement in 1986 was a momentous land mark, and indeed President Yoweri Museveni said “This is not a mere change of guards but a fundamental change”.
Right from the onset, the National Resistance Movement stated its mission and vision for Uganda and Africa, all this was in the 10 point programme which later expanded to 15 and now Vision 2040.
There is no doubt in my mind and on the road, the way is clear; our challenge now is to increase the speed so that we are not left behind.
Our task is to transform from predominantly pre-industrial state to a modern thriving state in all aspects of life that is politically, socially and economically.
Uganda must keep its bargaining potential in the region and in the continent, we must make remarkable achievements in democracy and good governance as the day follows the night. Every five years, the political class renews its contract right from president to the local leader.
Free and fair elections are the foundation of any democracy; they are essential for the peaceful transfer of power.
When voters elect leaders, they elect them to shape the future of their society not to disturb it, that is why elections empower ordinary citizens, they allow them to influence future policies of their Government and thus their own future. All these are done under the pro-people Constitution which guarantees human rights and fundamental freedoms.
As a result, there is a free press with dominated by many radio stations, television stations and print media across the country. The open critics of Government has become “a fashion” to some politicians, we cannot forget our “vibrant Parliament”, an independent judiciary, “active” civil society and participation of formerly marginalised groups (women, youths, PWDs). What we can now debate is probably the quality of our MPs and local leaders may be they are also undergoing transformation? Therefore, as we celebrate 28 years of NRM, we must confront our challenges head on. This is where real leadership kicks in.
As leaders with vision, we must articulate our peoples’ deepest fears and accentuate their highest hopes. We must seize every opportunity on the Pan African front. The UPDF has done very well; we salute their efforts to liberate this continent and our prayers would be; if the political class can do at least one half of what UPDF is doing, Uganda would be facing the moon. We celebrated our 50 years of Independence in 2012, therefore we are not still young.
The English say that “fortune favours the prepared mind”, going forward, we must urge Ugandans to keep well-honed minds if the second half century of liberation and nationhood is to mean much for as many Ugandans as possible. Today ours is to consolidate and move forward, continue to domesticate our policies, articulate them to the people.
Our challenges are known and some of them come because of achievements, for example, when you educate many, there is a possibility of unemployment, then one wonders whether the Government should stop, but we welcome skilling Uganda and loan schemes for science students, adding value to agricultural products and increase in productivity in order to fill ever the increasing market, reduction of borrowing rates in banks and encouraging Ugandans to use banks, training and remunerating our teachers, all these notwithstanding, we must move forward. I wish you all happy celebrations, As Chango Macho said “Those who think resist, those who do not surrender”, we must think and resist backwardness.
The writer is a Pan Africanist and Member of Vision East African Forum.