IT is two years away from the heated electioneering. Like the old man who wishes to keep his fire burning, the Office of the National Chairman (ONC) has started in high gear. This time around away from the usual pressure group mobilization but engaging in critical monitoring of government programs, thematic areas and stakeholder engagements like I will expound later. I wish to commend the good work done by the ONC under the new leadership of Hajati Namyalo Madiina Uzeiye and the indomitable PRO Hajji Kitatta Ibrahim who is also Lwengo LCV Chairman – Keep the fire ablaze! I share an eagle’s eye view of the ongoing programs/projects at the ONC in the short period of time of their holding of office as such I will not dig deep into their ideology but as a by-stander or the “muntu wawansi” that many will only remember to claim to fight for in the dawn of 2025.
“Omalako Jajja, Tova ku Main 2026 & beyond” literary translated to mean “You are still competent to compete in 2026 and beyond” as a slogan, is simply dedicated the NRM Party Chairman and Chairman of the very office championing the campaign President Tibuhaburwa Yoweri Museveni. I will start by looking at a few things here below;
- Early functionalizing the mobilization arm of NRM.
For long the NRM has grappled between fulfilling the mandate and manifesto implementations for lack of a better strategy, it has always appeared as if the NRM Secretariate does ONLY administrative work for the party – which is okay! The operationalization of the NRM-ONC is a big rescue effort, its works in the previous term would also easily be confused as largely a monitoring tool more so during the Milly Babalanda leadership. The previous leadership in my view did not bring out the proper mandate of the office as is the situation today, they conducted an exhibition kind of agenda to show the party chairman his works as opposed to showing the same to the masses, as the situation has always been by election time, the party was still fidgeting to make audio-visual content for the NRM campaigns. Thanks to Covid19 lockdown and restrictions on movements and group gatherings that helped a few people turn on their TV’s and tune into radios to have information of such achievements, short of that the usual question of “Otukoledeki” would still have re-surfaced.
This time round, as early as January 2023, highlights of NRM achievements are clearly visible through social media handles, whatsapp platforms and mainstream media that has been deliberately dominated by the PRO- Kitatta Ibrahim most times presenting hard-talk arguments that are not only pro-NRM party but exhibiting a spirited fight to ensure that the grass root listener attains what is due to him by those that are meant to make it reach him. He has endeavored to explain comprehensively the various government programs discussing both the achievements and shortfalls but most importantly standing strong against corrupt and non-preforming government officials. This kind of person was needed yesterday, informed and straight to the point contrary to many NRM mouthpieces like Hon. Kiwanda, the fourth in line that thought their mandate was convince the world that NRM had no single fault – Kitatta is a true mobiliser who is informed, articulate and eloquent. Many should learn from him, if not emulate him!
- Empowering ONC program coordinators/Mobilisers.
The lack of capacity building in NRM has been and is still on a great demand despite the new effort by the ONC to start in the same. A few weeks ago, a 3 to 4 days’ workshop was conducted by the ONC through which over 150 (regional/sub-regional) coordinators where oriented on how they should conduct their “operations’. With different facilitators ranging from NRM ideological king pin David Mafaabi, the 1st National Vice Chairperson Al Hajji Moses Kigongo among other trainers, anyone can surely appreciate that the coordinators are at least half a cup full of information required of any political coordinator before they embark on their assigned duties. Most notably the over 150 were passed out with modern-tech mobilization machines. Computers & Smart Phones – which somehow explains the increased online presence.
This kind of orientation will help to do away with the previous model of political rumor-mongering that has been the order of the day in NRM circles, it is no wonder that during the campaign period security offices like ISO, DISO’s etc eventually turn into campaign avenues – not by design, but by necessity. The main reason being that some NRM campaigner has to report his NRM district chairman who has not delivered posters. By having such capacity building programs (hoping they will be continuous) I will help cover up so many gaps more so, in service delivery. As of now, the oriented regional coordinators can ably speak or discuss the PDM program with both the program coordinator and beneficiary from a knowledge-based perspective being a government program to benefit all than the usual mindset of such programs benefiting “NRM mobilisers”
Like the Senga who has been informed of the Muko’s homecoming ahead of time, there is a registered NRM visibility both on ground and online. Media reports show a more coordinated approach/intervention in the handling and management of ongoing programs, many of these coordinators have started out a vigilante model of operation visiting several stakeholders like notably, Mukono Region Coordinators led by Julie have had an engagement with the area DPC and OC’s, Rubaga division coordinators where recently engaged scrutinizing NAADS beneficiary lists and together with the area RCC Anderson Buroora, they managed to observe several discrepancies in the beneficiary lists. Such activism has lacked for long and thus creating a huge dilemma which the president has always used and analogy of water pipes being rusty.
- Inter-sectoral coordination of service delivery
Just to expound on the words of Ssenga ow’ensonga– Chief Muzukulu – “How can a technocrat refuse someone to monitor the implementation of a duly elected president? It simply means such a person is fighting the president” Not only fighting the president but also biting the hand that feeds him knowingly or unknowingly.
This would equate to a customer walking into a bank branch to ask the types of accounts they have or and ask for an explanation of his/her bank statement from a branch manager and the branch manager refuses to provide such information. Creating a bridge between to hills is very critical for any pathway. Technocrats have always taken it upon themselves not to be answerable or accountable for their acts to the common voter this has bread the idea that NRM Party activities and technocrat work are two different, if not rivaling entities with the former only minding about making reports to supervisors and attending budget conferences to plan for voters/tax payer’s money than give any explanation to the voter for any shortcomings. Such acts of resistance are signs of pockets of corruption, as such ONC’s waking up to act as katumwa will help to play a very vital role for the arrival of the guests. Well as public offices owe a duty to explain the implementation of government programs to the citizenry, it could also be observed that there is no defined arm to create checks and balances on the same, The RDC/RCC’s who’s mandate is stipulated under the Local Government/City Authority laws have largely turned into political mercenaries engaging in some places, in corrupt activities. Thus, a desired call for having a neutral inter-sectoral player to feed the required information to the grass-root voter.
For now, we should believe that this office will be instrumental in checking on many inaccuracies by public officers, technocrats and agencies including but not limited to corruption and corrupt officials which is the biggest challenge ahead of them. But as long as long as it is for the good of providing feedback to the common voters. I hold a strong belief that if the coordinators are empowered, first with the required information, technical guidance and a few resources to do their work then there could be a slight realization of early economic assessment/monitoring – I also hope that they will be in position to make verifiable reports share with them populace on a timely basis – good enough they have the reporting tools.
The challenges ahead.
The office starts its work in a period and environment full of anticipation and speculation of whether the expected muko is indeed coming, the more reason we are seeing more coordinated “endorsements” than works. The one thing we can be sure of however is that “omuko yawandiika ebbaluwa” which is a very important aspect for Ssenga to mobilize all friend, family and relatives “bekiwatako” so as to have a colorful function otherwise ebintu tuyinza okubyelira. Among these challenges is the MK wave, which has also shown interest but with a largely undefined agenda for the one fact that the MK wave seems to be building its foundations as opposed to relying on the already set achievements of the NRM party.
I refuse to accept that emerging NRM leaning campaigning camps like “NRM Rescue Team, Jajja Tova ku Ballot” and many other groups that may crop up in the meantime are any threat to the functionality of the ONC. From the onset they have no agenda.
I will stop at the biggest challenge of any muko – “Omuko tayogelera ku buko” – How and when should the ONC and its coordinators condemn acts of corruption, embezzlement and misappropriation of government resources mainly committed by NRM leaning Ministers and MPs? – this becomes the biggest test of this office between now and 2026 and we shall keep our eyes open as we wait for the outcome of the OPM Mabaati fete – Ssenga, essuubi tulirina mu gwe. Gwe atulaga omuko!
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