In a pivotal gathering at the National Leadership Institute (NALI) in Kyankwanzi, the Minister of Presidency, Hon. Milly Babirye Babalanda, presided over the launch of a retreat for leaders from the West Nile region.
The event, held on November 21st, 2023, became a platform for Hon. Babalanda to deliver an awe-inspiring address, outlining the government’s commitment and vision for securing the future of Uganda.
The purpose behind organizing this retreat, facilitated by the Manifesto Implementation Unit under the Office of the President, is to address the commitments outlined in the 2021/2026 manifesto and the 2023 Presidential strategic directives and guidelines.
The event was embraced by local government leaders in West Nile region, including Resident City Commissioners (RCCs), Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), LC5 chairpersons, Chief Administrative Officers, town clerks for cities and municipalities, NRM district chairpersons, mayors, representatives from Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), presidential advisors from the central region, and commissioners from the RDC secretariat.
This 5-day retreat is designed to achieve several other objectives. It aims to disseminate information about the manifesto commitments and accomplishments to both citizens and leaders, comprehend the challenges faced in implementing and adhering to the manifesto, identify strategies to mitigate these challenges, and foster better collaboration among local government leaders responsible for executing government programs.
Addressing these leaders, Minister Babalanda emphasized the government’s dedication to fulfilling the promises laid out in the 2021/22 manifesto. “The mantle of securing the future is a commitment of the NRM government,” she declared, articulating the core pillars embedded in their manifesto.
She highlighted the government’s strategic efforts, particularly the introduction of the Parish Development model. This model, designed as a vehicle for extending governmental services to citizens, aims to stimulate wealth creation by focusing on data gathering, enterprise development, cooperative and financial service growth, community mobilization, and a transformation in mindset.
“We expect your support in propelling the progress of the Parish development model,” Hon. Babalanda urged the leaders, emphasizing the pivotal role of executive committees in effectively utilizing resources for the outlined duties.
Reflecting on the ongoing implementation of the political term 2021/26, Hon. Babalanda shared insights on performance analysis from the initial two years. The assessment indicated that despite a commendable 64% progress, there remained challenges, notably in combating corruption, addressing delays in project implementation due to land acquisition issues, and refining the program approach to planning.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of local government leaders as frontline service providers, the Minister underscored the government’s expectations. Quality education, healthcare, access to water, energy, and sustainable resource utilization stood as key areas requiring focused attention and proactive management by these leaders.
Mr. Bashaasha Willis, the Director of the Manifesto Implementation Unit at the Office of the President, conveyed while addressing West Nile leaders that it had been a deliberate effort by the office of the President to bring together all local government leaders, and those from West Nile were the last cohort.
He explained that this initiative aimed to prevent instances of finger-pointing among different groups, fostering a collaborative environment even for those who may not have interacted previously.
Mr. Bashaasha emphasized the importance of unity, stating, “Our goal is to ensure that despite any prior differences, by the time you conclude this gathering, you function as a cohesive team, capable of effectively communicating the government’s significant achievements and vision to your respective electorates.”
Additionally, Mr. Bashaasha conveyed a message on behalf of Haj Yunus Kakande, the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President, in his absence. Haj Yunus Kakande expressed his desire for the time spent during the retreat to be productive. He also stressed the importance of teamwork and highlighted the significance of the manifesto in delivering service programs.
Brig. Gen. Charles Kisembo, the Director of NALI, whose teachings were premised on ideology and leadership philosophy urged West Nile leaders not to prioritize their positions but rather focus on the extent of their achievements, through collaboration and collective action in addressing the country’s issues
“We are all leaders, we shoukd not focus on our positions we hold, but how much we can achieve in terms of interaction, working together to address the issues of this country,” he said.
The gathering in Kyankwanzi served as a crucible for shaping a collective vision, one where government and local leaders harmonize their efforts to steer Uganda towards a future defined by prosperity, inclusivity, and sustainable development.
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