The National Resistance Movement (NRM) last week chose President Yoweri Museveni as party Chairman and presidential candidate for the March 2006 election.
Honourable Members of the National Conference. I salute all of you for the confidence you have put in me by electing me as the National Resistance Movement Chairman for the next Kisanja (term) of five years as well as electing me as your presidential candidate for the forthcoming presidential elections.
I am ready, as in the past, to lead you in the two capacities. I want, on your behalf, to salute the Honourable MPs of the Seventh Parliament that voted for the lifting of presidential term limit provision of the Constitution.
That provision was not wise at all because the problems Africa faces are not always time-bound. We needed a flexible constitution to deal with those very strategic issues that are not time-bound.
Your people in the South-West have a saying: â€œOtomize tahwa ikaranga(If your millet is not dry during the rainy season when you cannot put it in the sun to dry, you must keep on frying until it is dry enough for grinding into flour).â€ In other words, if a problem is not solved, you must keep on trying.
We are sure to win next yearâ€™s presidential elections because of the huge support we have in the whole country.
We need to consolidate and expand this support by eliminating all the unnecessary contradictions created by highlighting personal interests rather than always emphasizing the collective interest.
Individual excellence in our war of resistance, nourished and propelled by mass support, enabled us to score the victories we achieved. That permutation is true today as it was in the past.
Both individual excellence and mass support are needed in order to continue winning victories. One cannot do without the other.
Therefore, when we win the presidential elections next year, we need to deal with the seven points I put before you during the opening of the NRM Delegatesâ€™ Conference on 16th November, 2005:
1. East African Federation.
3. Universal Secondary Education.
4. Transforming small and medium scale traditional agriculture into commercialized agriculture. Our slogan should be â€œobuwangwa nâ€™essente.â€
5. A new micro-finance delivery mechanism relying on Savings and Co-operatives Credit Organizations (SACCOs).
6. Struggling for enhanced access to markets of EU, USA, Russia, China, India, Japan and Latin America.
7. Enhancing of the political hygiene by eliminating corruption in the electoral process.
In order to do the above, the President of Uganda needs ultimate executive authority over three important areas:
(i) Investment attraction and retention;
(ii) Environmental protection; and
(iii) Public Health.
This will consolidate the ultimate responsibility for project implementation in the three areas that are now scattered in various agencies (UIA, Ministry of Lands, City and Town Councils, regulatory agencies, etc.) that are never in a hurry to act decisively. Investors just lose interest and go away. In the next five years, we must, in particular, implement the construction of the Bujagali and Karuma hydro-power stations and also rehabilitate our railway system.
These two, power stations and railway transport, are a sine qua non of lowering costs of doing business in Uganda and they must be implemented. In order to continue winning and expanding our support, we must enhance cohesion, get rid of cliquism and use transparent methods of work.
Your people in the South West, again, say: Abaine enaama baita abatagiine (Those who have prior understanding always defeat those who do not have it). We must be close to the people by attending to their problems. Those people of yours, again, say: Efuka ebagara obuzaare nâ€™omurundi (The hoe that clears weeds (misunderstandings) among relatives are
constant visits). When you do not visit your relatives, they forget about you.
Apart from the seven (7) strategic points I have outlined above, there are some other tactical points we shall have to work on and they are:
(i) Malaria eradication: In the next five years, we will work towards eradication of malaria. Our programme in the past has been targeting expectant mothers to whom mosquito nets have been distributed. Our target is to eradicate malaria through provision of free mosquito nets and DDT spray in highland areas. In order to achieve this, we will supply 18 million nets to 80% of the population. The other 20% can afford them on their own.
Over a period of five years it will cost sh90bn to give free-treated mosquito nets to 80% of the population and another US $40 million to cover spraying in the highland areas. The people in highlands are more vulnerable due to low immunity against malaria.
We shall also fund the research work of Dr. Mukwaya of the Virus Research Centre and of Dr. Isharaza of Mbarara University. Their work may have the key for eliminating malaria by eliminating mosquitoes.
(ii) Health Insurance:
In order to further improve on delivery of better health services, the NRM government will introduce Social Health Insurance and Community Health Insurance to protect the formal and informal sectors against catastrophic expenditure on health services.
Through health insurance, employers and employees of both government and private sector will pay monthly premiums. This will enable the employees and their immediate families to benefit from this scheme for medical support. The management of the health insurance fund will be responsible for settlement of the medical bills incurred by the patient. Details will be worked out.
(iii) Establishment of soluble coffee processing plants in Uganda. The governments of Uganda and Libya are jointly setting up a soluble coffee plant in Kampala at the Namanve Industrial Park estimated at a value of US$25 million and TATA group of companies are also setting up another one in Jinja, early 2006. Mt Elgon Coffee Ltd is putting up a roasting plant in Tororo for exporting to its sister company in Denmark.
The three firms when operational will process only 20% of the coffee produced. Their annual output will be 15,000 tonnes of instant coffee which will earn the country about US $90 million in exports. These coffee- processing companies will create about 1,200 new jobs. The processing of our coffee into final products is again another fundamental change.
We shall end the slavery of getting only US $1 per kilogram of dehusked coffee (kasse) while those, like Nestle, who process that Kasse in London get, at least, US $10 per the same kilo.
Therefore, in each Kilo, Uganda donates US $9 to UK. The above practice of exporting unprocessed coffee is the source of Africaâ€™s poverty and under-development.
(iv) Land: To resolve the problem between landlords and bibanja holders, we are going to expand the land fund where the bibanja holders can borrow and pay off the landlords.
We have already started on this exercise in Kibaale district and in Ankole where we redistributed land to squatters by sub-dividing some ranches. In the meantime, I want to reiterate my directive to the RDCs in Buganda recently that the government will not tolerate eviction of tenants caused by the rulings of corrupt judges and magistrates. I will suspend any judicial officer and constitute a Judicial Commission of Enquiry into his/her activities if there is evidence of any violation of the Land Act (1998).
At the same time, land purchasers who buy land occupied by people should know that they may be buying air. They should be ready to use the principle of â€œwilling buyer willing seller,â€ to cause the evacuation of the land.
The RDCs are the ones responsible for monitoring and ensuring that the land law is followed to the letter.
(v) Mortgages: The Uganda Household Survey of 2002/03 indicates that Kampala has got 264,000 housing units with a backlog of 66,000 housing units.
We need to build 40,000 housing units annually to meet this demand. It is important to note that in 1986, the Kampala-Entebbe area had only 55,000 permanent houses.
More houses have been built in the Kampala area in the last 20 years than all the houses that were built in the same area for the previous 100 years. In order to make it possible for the young and middle income earners to own houses, they need mortgage facilities to borrow funds to buy houses and pay back the loan over a period of time. However, mortgage firms are poorly capitalized and cannot lend out to their satisfaction. In the early 1990s, government raised sh30 billion from the sale of pool houses to senior civil servants. We are going to capitalize Housing Finance Company with these funds. Since government has 50% shares in Housing Finance Company, the other shareholders will also be required to put in the same amount. Thus, Housing Finance Company will be capitalized by about sh60 billion.
This will enable real estate developers to engage in organized housing which the middle-income earners can buy on mortgage by borrowing from Housing Finance Company and other mortgage firms and use what they would otherwise pay as rent to pay back the mortgage over a period of time.
Funding our organization
It is now 35 years since I started fund-raising for our Movement. I remember the first contribution of f50,000 was given to me by Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, our late great leader of Africa and, then, President of Tanzania, through the Vice-President of Tanzania, then, Mzee Rashid Kawawa. Mwalimu kept giving our Movement financial, material and technical support throughout the years we were fighting Aminâ€™s dictatorship. The late Samora Machel also gave quite a bit of financial support during that very time of fighting Amin.
In our second war of resistance against Obote II dictatorship, we got some financial and material support from Muammar Gaddaffi of Libya, some financial support from the late Dr. Abiola that was, several times, delivered through Princess Bagaya of Tooro, some financial support from the late Max Rohrer, from President Moi of Kenya and big material support from Mwalimu Julius Nyerere just before he retired from leadership in 1985.
While in power, we have been, for electoral purposes, getting funding from friends and business supporters who normally do not want to be exposed because they do not want to show partiality in politics. We have also extended considerable financial and material support to various fraternal forces.
The NRM system, ever since 1986, has been, of course, being funded by the State to a large extent. This funding, now that we are going into multi-party, multi-organization competition, will stop. It is now time for you members to take over the funding of your organization. We do not want to introduce general membership subscription charges.
Some years I asked some of our members to compile for me the names of 100,000 NRM supporters of some reasonable or moderate financial means.
If each of these made a one-time contribution of sh300,000, we would be able to raise sh30 billion (US $16m) easily. We would, then, build our headquarters that would, annually, give us about US $4m.
We could, then, go into other businesses. During the presidential elections of 2001, we used sh13bn. During the referendum in July 2005, we used sh3.3bn. In order to organize this conference we used sh4.8bn. I always raise this money from friends. It is now time for members to take over this burden. â€œOrume kurukura rwonka abaana when the rabbit grows old, it is suckled by its offsprings). Therefore, I appeal to you, to give me 100,000 one-time NRM donors.
We shall, then, create a firm, autonomous and self-sustaining financial base. The issue of Primaries being manipulated by some actors should not give us a long-term headache. If it becomes necessary, we can resolve it once and for all. We can, for instance, provide that all our card-carrying members vote in the Primaries.
It can be done at each polling station of the Electoral Commission and we total up. This time round we do not have enough time. It can, however, be handled easily.
Soon after the next general elections, if it becomes necessary, this issue can be handled.
Finally, the issue of balancing political posts in the Movement will also be handled after the next general elections. We shall thoroughly debate this issue and, if necessary, adopt a formula on it.
I thank you once again.
Nambole, November 2005.
Museveniâ€™s speech accepting to be NRM leader