By Milly B. Babalanda
Last week, the Office of the National Chairman (ONC), NRM-Kyambogo hosted a one-day seminar for newly selected “wealth ambassadors” (not “wealth creation ambassadors”) drawn from all over Uganda. The ambassadors, who were selected recently in a rigorous exercise conducted by the ONC, were inducted in their function of assisting (and complementing) Government (efforts) to fight poverty among communities using the four-acre model popularised by President Yoweri Museveni.
As witnesses and facilitators, ONC hosted the vice chairman of the NRM, Al Haji Moses Kigongo as guest of honour, Lt Gen. Charles Angina (who preached the gospel of operation wealth creation), Lt Col. Edith Nakalema, head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit (who lectured on the drive to defeat all forms of corruption) and Ofwono Opondo, executive director of the Uganda Media Centre who gave the ambassadors high level strategic communication tips.
More motivation and intellectual briefs came from Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, Col. Shaban Bantariza, Godfrey Nabongo (of UBOS), Dr Daniel Ssekiboobo and Ambrose Mwesigye, both of ONC.
There were also representatives from security agencies whose addresses were perfectly in tandem with the theme of the training-wealth creation as a form of security.
Kigongo assured the ambassadors that NRM is very strong and here to stay because it was given a strong foundation which was built from scratch. The historical perspective was vital to give the ambassadors, most of them youthful, a feel of the ideological foresight that has enabled NRM to lead for 33 years. They were challenged to think ahead and plan to fulfil their own historical mission-to weed out poverty from among the masses.
With all honesty, the NRM historical decried how corruption is a headache to the Government.
“Corruption is giving us a headache because people let us down,” he stated. The expectation is that the ambassadors will fill the gaps left by the “traitors” by being clean themselves and ensuring that services reach the people as should be.
On my own, I noted that the team of ambassadors comprising of regional coordinators, sub-regional co-ordinators, civic educators, researchers and mobilisers is of committed cadres who we trust to do the correct thing to achieve noticeable transformation. Working as volunteers, they have already proven capable of causing a perceptible shift in how things are done in their communities. I urged them to use their constitutional mandate as wakeful, patriotic citizens to demand accountability. The knowledge they acquired should be passed on to district leaders and to the public through media and community appearances.
I reminded them to maintain communication ties with the public and sticking to guidelines of respecting other officials if they are to succeed and serve harmoniously in their communities. As Gen. Angina stated, Uganda is the “promised land” with the best soil and climate for anybody to prosper in the farming business. The army is there to ensure that the country remains stable for them to work and prosper in peace. Nakalema told them how “Uganda is admired globally and is an extremely beautiful country which should be treasured”.
Connecting her duties and the appeal by Kigongo, the team of ambassadors was left in no doubt as to their mission and the amount of goodwill, support and partnerships that they will enjoy while out in the field.
As a follow up to the training, there will be a subsequent one taking care of district coordinators and media analysts. ONC is building the team as an effective game changer in mobilisation for wealth creation with a plan to expand the network beyond those selected in the initial exercise that we have been conducting with the overall guidance and supervision of President Yoweri Museveni, in his capacity as National Chairman of the NRM. The training came at a time when the President is on a countrywide tour promoting “wealth creation” and at a time he is rallying everybody-without any iota of discrimination to be part of the drive. Indeed, our ambassadors were encouraged not to leave out anybody from their programme on the basis of political thinking, religious, cultural, personal or any other consideration.
ONC will set a target of objectives for the team to score in a specified period of time in order to measure the impact of the operation. Things must be done differently to achieve new results. On my own, I am always available to hear from anyone regarding any issue as long as it builds on our objectives.
I appeal to all the lucky ones that are now part of the team and who have been equipped with winning tips to take this exercise seriously. We shall get the necessary support from those who wish Ugandans the best, but we may also encounter some resistance along the way. Either way, we have to fulfil our unique responsibility as model citizens of the country in serving of our celebrated motherland Uganda. I thank everyone who made the training possible.
The writer is a personal assistant to the NRM national chairman and a senior presidential adviser