The high political season in preparation for the long awaited 2021 general elections is on. It is time to reaffirm the power that lies in the hands of Ugandans as it has been since 1996 through 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016. In NRM, we are confident of happy returns. NRM has put in genuine effort to maintain its dominant position using lawful and legitimate means.
NRM, the party, is a purely civilian organisation which conforms to all democratic requirements and exists and functions on the basis of support and belonging from the common person. All party leaders, including the party’s top most leader, the National Chairman (President Yoweri Museveni) are either civilians or retired officers. NRM is separate from the state; any member of the NRM executing roles connected with the state does so within the confines of the Constitution. Some roles, like enforcement of law and order, are purely the work of state organs charged with those responsibilities and not NRM as a party. NRM competes favourably with other parties and it is on that footing that we go into 2021 believing that the better prepared competitor will take home the prize.
NRM has kept its machine functional since we last held and won elections in 2016, unlike other parties which went into hibernation while others were “unborn”. NRM has been recruiting and fishing, from other parties, and growing its fold. With an estimated membership of 15million, even if just half of those presented as voters, the elections would be won hands down. Not withstanding other modalities in motion in accordance with the internal party road map, a commanding turn up of all our members of voting age for every exercise indicated on the electoral roadmap of the Independent Electoral Commission will secure our advantage.
I urge our yellow teams, please rise to the occasion and perform a patriotic duty, promoting our candidates and being vigilant so that nobody takes advantage of our structures! In some areas, I have heard of unknown persons claiming to issue NRM membership cards or registering new members, which process ended early in the year. All official programmes of the party are announced through the appropriate organs of the party, dully endorsed by relevant officials.
As we head into the deep end of the election cycle, there will be masqueraders working to disorganise our teams; some dwell on spreading false information about individuals and the party at large.
The teams I lead include coordinators under the Office of the National Chairman (ONC)-Kyambogo and a huge network of volunteers. These teams will deliver worthy returns in their jurisdictions. They were instrumental in delivering victory in the countrywide Local Council 1 and II elections, which momentum has been maintained. It only needs firing up to the appropriate temperature for the most important democratic ritual of our times.
For NRM, we don’t approach every election the same way; how we approached 2006 was different from 2011; how we approached 2011 was different from 2016 and how we are approaching 2021 is different-since there are new players and, generally, the terrain has changed. What remains the same is that we do this for Uganda, owing our best effort and idealisation to the current and future generations.
Whatever pledges were made previously, those we accounted for and we got additional blessings of Ugandans.
In regard to the 2016-2021 manifesto, by May when the Manifesto Week was marked, it was reported that Manifesto commitments had been met by 80%. No entity, human or corporate, as far as I know, came out to dispute this record. Given the eagerness that the opposition has in finding fault with NRM, that there was little or no disputation of the record shows that NRM performed and delivered. In school, 80% is distinction 1. By May next year when our dear leader swears in afresh, the rate of delivery will have neared totality.
I usually dislike speaking about achievements. Rather, I prefer that the achievements are observed by the people, who benefit from them-the roads, dams, schools, hospitals, factories, industrial parks, and so on. Ugandans will and should judge NRM on the basis of what was promised and what was fulfilled, remembering that other parties delivered nothing since they were not accorded the mandate to do so. They have nothing to show and, all the while, they have been benefiting from NRM’s service like all other Ugandans, which they should acknowledge and be grateful for.
Going into 2021, the incoming Manifesto promises to be better than any that NRM has filed before. NRM National Chairman Museveni last week unveiled the party’s Manifesto drafting committee, urging them to prioritise export promotion and import substitution strategy in the real economy that deals with nine basic human needs of food, clothing, shelter, medicine, security, physical infrastructure (railways, roads, electricity, telephones, etc), health infrastructure, education infrastructure and spiritual work (churches, mosques, radios and televisions).
He declared that the Manifesto “shall be science driven and based on science, technology and innovation.” Further, he directed that like in previous manifestos, the new one will further push forward the implementation of the four NRM principles of Patriotism, Pan-Africanism, Socio-economic Transformation and Democracy, plus other policy measures steering Uganda from backwardness to modernity and take-off to, eventually, first class status.
I believe that the Committee, led by Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, will compose and present a master document that will leave nobody in doubt of NRM’s suitability to continue leading Uganda.
The author is a Personal Assistant to the National Chairman, NRM, and Senior Presidential Advisor (Political Affairs)
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