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Mr President, there is a lot to be done and little time to do it

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd February 2011 03:00 AM

DEAR President Yoweri Museveni,Congratulations on your most impressive re-election for a fourth term in office. You should be especially proud of this victory because it comes from all corners of Uganda without exception.

DEAR President Yoweri Museveni,Congratulations on your most impressive re-election for a fourth term in office. You should be especially proud of this victory because it comes from all corners of Uganda without exception.

By Dr Opiyo Oloya

DEAR President Yoweri Museveni,Congratulations on your most impressive re-election for a fourth term in office. You should be especially proud of this victory because it comes from all corners of Uganda without exception.

The clear message from Ugandans is stability, continuity, steady progress and development for the future.

Meanwhile from the north generally and especially from the Acholi sub-region, there are several important messages that voters wanted to send loud and clear by voting for you and for your party. The first big message is that of reconciliation. of not letting the past cloud hope of a better future for a people that has suffered through two decades of war and misery. The reading I take from your victory in Acholi is that people are very eager for a lasting peace.

Thanks to the consistent message and hard work of leaders like Hilary Onek and many others, the people of Acholi have categorically rejected the message from those in America and Europe who continue to cling to the hopeless dream of one day chasing you out of power by force.

However, there is a second more urgent message that I read in the mandate that the north gave you. They are saying: “We believe your government is best suited to bring swift development in the region over the next five years.” This, Mr. President, is the fervent hope that I saw last week in the eyes of many people in Gulu, Amuru and Nwoya districts. Indeed, as I told anyone who would hear me including your own officials, the north was going to vote for the NRM because people are trying to make up for lost time, and feel that they can make the gain under your leadership. There is a new-found energy and optimism that speaks of what is possible now that peace has returned. Many are working especially hard to start micro-businesses.

Women are starting business such as catering for big events in order to get steady income. Now, to be sure, the support you have in the north will endure when translated into actual progress on the ground. You should learn from Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) which failed to translate their big win in the north in the last election into tangible benefits for the people, and suffered ignoble defeat this time around. There is, for example, urgent need for infrastructure renewal; new roads must be built, old roads graded and even paved with tarmac, and agriculture cooperatives restarted.

The Gulu-Nimule road must be completed on time because of the huge opportunity for northern Uganda to become the bread-basket and business hub for oil-rich independent South Sudan. Schools need new libraries, more teachers, revamped curriculum that cater for their needs and committed educational officials. The youth in northern Uganda need access to post-secondary education in colleges and universities across Uganda. They voted for you because they hope you can deliver. Elsewhere in eastern, western and central Uganda, there is a palpable sense of optimism that your government will bring jobs. This, Mr. President, is the message I heard from all over Uganda. On the day that I returned to Canada, for example, I spent the morning pounding the pavement in Kampala, talking to Ugandans from diverse backgrounds. At Makerere University, I held impromptu discussions with students at various stages of their education. The consistent message that came out was the fear of becoming jobless graduates after finishing school. I told them that Uganda must become creative in thinking about job creation. I narrated my personal story of how most of my banking and computer technical problems in Toronto are sorted out in real-time by technicians based in New Delhi or Mumbai in India. The information technology revolution which Uganda is quickly adopting has allowed India to create jobs for many Indians who work for American and Canadian companies without leaving India.

Uganda must position itself to provide such services, even exporting labour to places that need it like Japan where the labour-force is greyer and older. Mr. President, if we need to teach Ugandan graduates to speak Japanese so they can serve the Japanese job market, then let that begin immediately.

The new mandate you got for the next five years, in other words, is opportunity to clean up house by ridding government of perennial corruption, bringing in new blood to add new vision to making Uganda a better place for everyone, and paving way for prosperity for young Ugandans who believe that if they work hard enough in school that their future is secure. This win is about hope for something better—a hope that you were able to rekindle during the months of campaign. Again, congratulations. Enjoy the moment, but get back to work right away. There is a lot to be done and not enough time to do it.

Opiyo.oloya@sympatico.ca

Mr President, there is a lot to be done and little time to do it

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