Uganda: 33 years of NRM: The gains and promises

Kampala. Thirty-three years ago, the National Resistance Army (NRA) captured power after a five-year guerrilla war popularly referred to as the Luweero Bush War.

The new era ushered in President Museveni, who went to the bush over claims that the 1980 general election was rigged.

In that election, which Milton Obote’s Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) won, Mr Museveni’s own Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) party got only one seat in Parliament.

The Democratic Party (DP) carried the second highest numerical strength in that Parliament after UPC.

Today, Mr Museveni is leading the National Resistance Movement (NRM) legion in celebrating the 33rd victory day with the national event to be held at Muwafu Primary School playground, Nabuyoga Sub-county, Tororo District.

The Minister for the Presidency, Ms Esther Mbayo, this week said the day will be celebrated under the theme: A moment of glory that set a new chapter for unity, peace and prosperity in Uganda.

She said at least 114 people will receive different medals for their contribution to the liberation struggle and other distinguished services to the nation.

“The President will, among the many functions that he is expected to preside over, offer different categories of medals to 114 Ugandans who have offered distinguished services but most importantly those that have sacrificed to protect and defend motherland Uganda.

This is a form of appreciating Ugandans who move an extra mile to offer a unique service to their motherland,” Ms Mbayo said in a statement.

She said the NRM government has stabilised Uganda whose post-independence history is dented with violence and unconstitutional change of leadership.

Ms Mbayo also said because of the stability and peace, which net gain has been extended to other countries in the region, Uganda’s boundaries have continued to be a safe haven for refugees from conflict-plagued neighbours such as South Sudan, Somalia and DR Congo.

Safe place to live
“Owing to the sustained peace within the boundaries of Uganda, the country has become a safe haven for refugees fleeing conflict around the region. Consequently, Uganda is the largest refugee holding country in Africa and fifth in the world” the minister said.

With its 10-point programme, the NRM government made a host of promises to Ugandans as it assumed power in 1986. Mr Museveni has since been accused by critics of diverting from its hallmark promise.

Lately, the NRM government has been working to deliver on the new 10-point programme that President Museveni announced on October 9, 2012 as the country celebrated 50 years of independence.

Some of the new key promises include fighting ideological dis-orientation; eliminating sectarianism; improving education to refine human resource; facilitating private sector-led economic growth; and developing road, rail and electricity infrastructure.

Others are market expansion through regional integration; pursuing industrialisation for exports’ value addition; developing the service sector to create jobs; modernising agriculture to increase household incomes; and, deepening democratic governance.

On the occasion of celebrating 32 years in power while at the Boma Grounds in Arua Municipality last year, President Museveni also hinted on his government’s continuous pursuit of this programme.

“As you can see, we have been handling many of the strategic bottlenecks: ideological disorientation, a weak State, emancipating the private sector, the human resource development (education and health), modernising the infrastructure, integrating the fragmented markets, etc,” the President said.

He added that the country has now got a “better base than ever before” to tackle the problems of the past as the journey to achieving middle income status by 2020 and upper middle-income status by 2040 is on.

The NRM website has listed at least 10 areas the regime considers it has made tremendous achievements in.

These include security, health services, infrastructure development, electricity power generation, youth empowerment, lands housing and urban development, water and sanitation; economic growth, zero tolerance to corruption, and, international and regional cooperation.

By Daily Monitor

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