By President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
Countrymen and Country Women,
The NRM is presenting to you a Manifesto for the period of 2021-2026. This Manifesto builds on the big successes of the NRM eversince 1965 when we formed a Student Movement, on the basis of new principles, having come out of the old Political Parties of DP, UPC and Kabakka Yekka, that were based on sectarianism of religion, tribe and gender chauvinism.
Over the years, this Student Movement, came to understand the long journey of 4½ million years of the human race, on this Earth, as well as Africa’s position in that long journey.
In the speech I gave to the Conference in Namboole on the 25th of January, 2020, I pointed out to the country how the human being, initially only living in Africa until about 100,000 years ago, used his unique characteristics of his big brain, a hand that can shape things by holding and working and his bi-pedalism (walking on two legs), to make tools (stone, hammer, chisel, etc.) and use those tools to do work for purposes of producing or catching food (hunting, fishing, agriculture) and improving his quality of life.
In that effort, he was assisted by the continuous discovery of new technologies that used the laws of nature to assist production (the invention of fire 1.5million years ago, iron in the year 1200 BC etc.). These continuous discoveries changed the way of living of man and the way he was producing wealth and food or he was catching food (hunting, fishing). The invention of fire enabled man to descend from the trees and live in caves; enabled people to cook (kuteeka), roast (kwootsya), kukara (dry on fire), kutarika (grilling, to smoke), kujumbika (earth-oven, cooking pit), rather than eating the food raw (kukoota, kumeketa); and, eventually, enabled man to get the hard metal of iron (ekyooma) out of the iron ore, a rock or soil, known as obutare.
This ability of man to discover new technologies, reached a watershed point (a revolutionary boundary point) in the year 1440, when a German man by the names of Johannes Gutenburg, invented a Printing Press. Most of the previous tools were powered by human muscle. However, the Printing Press used technology of a screw press. In the year 1698, Thomas Savery, a person from England, invented the water pump that was being powered by condensing steam. Eventually, by the year 1812-1813, the water pump technology, was developed into the steam-engine technology that, started pulling trains. This change by part of the human race from the use of the muscle-power to machine power, came to be known as the Industrial Revolution – the first Industrial Revolution. The second Industrial Revolution was the invention of electricity and the third one was the automation of machines. The human race, is now entering the 4th Industrial Revolution of Artificial Intelligence, machines that have got artificial brains.
This is great for the human race. However, the problem is that Africa, the pioneer of civilization, the origin of the human race, had missed out on these water-shed phenomena. Why? Two reasons. The first, the failure by our indigenous rulers to detect the new danger of Europeans that broke out of Western Europe, blocked by the Ottoman Turks that captured Constantinople (Istanbul) in the year 1453 AD, when they started looking for a Sea route to the East (Asia) to replace the Marco-Polo land route that had been blocked by the Turks. These chiefs, failed to unite us to fight this new danger. Instead, putting on leopard and lion skins, pretending to be those animals in courage, they were busy fighting one another.
Secondly, at the very moment new inventions were being made in Europe and China, Africa came under assault by these new arrivals, starting with the bombardment of Mombasa by Vasco Da Gama on the 7th of April 1498, on his way to India. Indeed, the first slaves were taken from Sierra Leone in the year 1652. By 1862, when the first European arrived in Uganda, Uganda was still a three class society of farmers (livestock and crops) and fishermen, Artisans (black smiths, carpenters, banogoozi – ceramics, bashakiizi – herbalists, bakomagyi – bark cloth makers etc.) and the feudal rulers. The Europeans had used the 400 years since Columbus and Vasco Da Gama, to advance in Science (the steam engine, quinine etc.) and military technology (breech-loaders and the maxim machine gun).
Our chiefs, had misused the 400 years, fighting one another; but the Europeans, had used those 400 years to discover answers to our only reliable defenders: the long-distances of Africa and its jungle, rivers and forests; the mosquitoes and the tsetse flies; and the ferocious-tribesmen, but poorly led by the chiefs, poorly armed and isolated from one another by the same myopic chiefs but also by the difficult terrain.
By 1900, the Conquest of the whole of Africa was complete, except for Ethiopia. As I have told Ugandans repeatedly, this conquest of Africa was potentially fatal. Many of the other Peoples that were conquered, never survived. The Red Indians of North America, the Aztecs of Mexico, the Incas of Peru, the Indians of Bolivia, the Indians of Brazil, the Caribes of the Caribbean, the Aborigines of Australia, the Maoris of New-Zealand, etc. Many of these groups were either exterminated or are still greatly marginalized. Their languages and cultures were replaced by European languages and cultures. The languages in use now in those lands are: English, Spanish, Portuguese and French and not the indigenous languages of those peoples.
By the 1950s, part of Kenya was being called the “White Highlands”. South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia were being paraded around as White Countries. Angola, Mozambique, Guinnea Bissau and Cape Verde and Sao Tome were “Overseas Provinces of Portugal”. The complicating and redeeming factor in Africa were the genes of the Africans and the advanced civilization of Africa. We could not easily die because our cattle, goats, chicken, that stayed with us in our huts, had long inoculated us against the zoonotic diseases. We, therefore, survived in spite of the slave trade, the genocide, the colonial wars, the hard labour etc.
When we, therefore, met at Igongo as CEC on the 23rd of December, 2018, I proposed to CEC in the Paper I presented, that while addressing the issues of Uganda’s Political – Social – Economic metamorphosis, we should ask the following questions:
- How was Uganda’s economy in 1900?
- How was it in 1962-1971?
- How was the economy in 1986?
- How is it now?
- Where do we intend to take it? And what stimuli shall we use to achieve our goals?
This way of erecting milestones, can help us discipline the discussion. The Manifesto is a voluminous and comprehensive document that has dealt with these questions following my proposal to them. I thank the Manifesto Committee so much that was led by Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu.
To go back to the questions. In 1900, the economy and society of Uganda were pre-capitalist, of course, pre-industrial, mainly non-money (the limited use of ensiimbi – cowrie shells – notwithstanding), a barter trade economy, servicing a three class society of feudalists, Agriculturalists (cattle keepers and other livestock keepers, crops growers and fishermen) and artisans (abaheesi, ababaizi, abanogoozi, abakomagyi, abahazi, abaremi, etc., – blacksmiths, carpenters, pottery makers, bark-cloth makers, leather processors, shoe-makers, respectively). Quite quickly, colonialism suppressed the two classes – the feudalists and the artisans. The feudalists were suppressed because they were competing for power with the colonialists. The Artisans were suppressed because they were making products that colonialism was importing – plates, clothes, shoes, medicines, hoes, pangas, etc. This, therefore, left only one major social class – the peasants engaged in crops growing, livestock rearing and fishing. Slowly, this group came to be divided in two groups: a minority that was co-opted into producing cash crops for the colonial economy and the big majority that continued to only engage in subsistence farming (okukolera ekida kyoonka, tic me ic keken). That is how, by 1962, the economy of Uganda was characterized by the colonialists as an economy of the 3Cs and 3Ts, being Coffee, Cotton and Copper for the 3Cs and Tobacco, Tourism and Tea for the 3Ts. As you can see, the non-agricultural activities here, were only copper and tourism. The other four were agricultural: cotton, coffee, tea and tobacco. In the brief period after Independence of 1962-1970, this enclave economy, meaning an island of modernity in a sea of backwardness and moneylessness, grew quite abit. By 1970, coffee production was 3.4 million bags, tea was 18million kgs, cotton had reached 480,000 bales, tobacco was 3,414 tonnes and copper was 16,958 metric tonnes per annum. Out of a total of 2,012,000 homesteads according to the 1969 Census, 1,922,000 were involved with subsistence farming (okukolera ekida kyoonka), approximately 96% of the total homesteads. The workers in the mining and quarrying sector were 7,660 and those in the manufacture of food products were 12,696 and miscellaneous manufacturing Industries were 26,759. That meant that, by 1970, you had 1,922,000 homesteads in subsistence farming (okukolera ekida kyoonka, tic me ic keken), i.e. 96% of all the homesteads were in moneylessness.
With the coming in of Idi Amin, but also with the Nakivubo Announcements of 1970, actions that either uprooted the entrepreneurial class of the Asians and other foreigners or interfered with their ownership and also political instability and insecurity that ensued for 16 years up to 1986, the small enclave of a modern economy that had emerged between 1900 and 1970, almost entirely disappeared. Out of the 23 million kgs of tea of 1970, only 3 million kgs were being exported by 1986; out of the 480,000 bales of cotton, only 49,000 bales were being exported by 1986; copper was zero; tobacco had declined from 3,523 tonnes to 3,400 tonnes; sugar was zero; fertilizers – zero; coffee had fought on and 2,700 tonnes 60kg-bags were still being exported; etc.
It is against that background, that you should understand this voluminous Manifesto of 374 pages. The Manifesto, first of all, restates our ideological principles of Patriotism, Pan-Africanism, Social-economic transformation and democracy. These are principles designed to deal with the following strategic (long-term) questions:
- How shall we ensure the prosperity of Ugandans by removing all the barriers – conceptual and physical – to the rapid and free flow of goods and services within Uganda as one market? To make it clear to all and sundry that Uganda is more useful to the Ugandan producers of goods and services than the individual tribal areas – Ankole, Buganda, Acholi etc. To ensure that it is clear to all that mwoyo gwa Uganda will ensure our prosperity better than the mwoyo gwa gwanga of the tribes. It is the Baganda cattle traders – Walusimbi Mpanga and Bukyenya (Bukenya) of Mbarara and a Whiteman, Shear of Ishaka, that was buying slaughter cattle for Kilembe Mines, that supported my education, my eventual prosperity, by buying our cattle so that Mzee Kaguta could pay my school fees. Yes, the Banyankore of Ntungamo and Kashaari contributed to my education by also rearing cattle, like our family, so that there were enough cattle to attract the said cattle traders every month to come and buy our cattle. If it had been only our family rearing cattle and taking one cow or bull, once in a while, to the monthly kikomera (cattle Auction Market), the traders would not have come. Marketing for our lonely cow or bull once in a while, may be every school term, would have been impossible. Therefore, the Banyakole engaging in the uniform activity of cattle-rearing, also contributed to my education. However, the non-Banyankore, the Baganda traders and a White man buying cattle for Kilembe Mines workers and for Kampala, were our real saviours from moneylessness.
- The second question is: “Is the Uganda Market enough to guarantee our prosperity once all the Ugandans wake up from kulambaala (sleeping) and from okukolera ekida kyoonka and produce big volumes of maize, milk, beef, bananas, cassava, sugar, industrial products etc.?” The answer is: “No, the Ugandan market is not enough; we also need the East African market; the African market and the World market”. We shall get access to the East African and African markets through the economic integration of those areas as we have done under EAC and CFTA. We shall more easily access the global markets if we negotiate as East Africa or as Africa. Uganda alone, does not have the clout to negotiate credibly with the big markets of the USA, China, India, Russia, EU.
- Question No. 3 is: “How can we guarantee the strategic security, the long-term security, the eternal security, of the Ugandan people and the other African peoples against all possible threats of whatever capacity?” “Can economic development alone, through economic integration, guarantee this strategic security?” The answer is: “No.” During the Second World War, the first victims of the Fascist aggression of Germany, were the small but advanced countries of Belgium, Denmark and even France, not to talk of Chechslovakia, Poland, Norway, Yugoslavia, Greece, etc. Since 1963, we have been supporting the idea of the political re-organization in order to crystallize political units that have capacity to defend us against all possible threats. Certainly, Uganda cannot easily defend itself in a conventional attack by some of the super-powers. We would have to use the very expensive Afghanistan-style approach, of a protracted guerilla war. All the greedy actors, however, would be put out of temptation if Africa re-organized itself, as long advocated by some of our independence leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Modibo Keita, Muamar Gaddafi, Gamal Abdul Nasser, Sekou Toure and Abeid Karume. Some of these leaders advocated for the continental political Union – an All-Africa Continental Government. Others, however, supported regional Federations such as the East African Federation. I have always supported the latter, mainly, because of the factors of similarity in cultures and languages or, at least, linkages in culture and language. These similarities assist cohesion among these political units.
In the case of East Africa, we have, mainly, the Bantu speaking peoples, some Cushitics (Somalis), the Nilotics, the Nilo-hamitic and the Sudanic (Lugbara – Madi). The languages of all these groups, are either similar or linked. I always highlight for Ugandans, not just similarities among the Bantu dialects of Uganda and East Africa and Central Africa, but also their linkages with the Nilotic dialects and even the Cushitic languages like Somali. To take one example, the Somali word for cow is Saa. Many of the Bantu dialect speakers in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and, maybe even Burundi, I am sure, see the linkage of this word to our languages. Saa (busa, amasha etc.), in those Bantu dialects, the speakers of those dialects know that this is the word specifically for certain herbivore’s dung. It is only used for the dung of cattle, buffaloes and elephants. It is not used for the dung of goats, pigs, sheep, etc. It is these similarities and linkages that the African revolutionaries should use to crystalize powerful Federations that can ensure the future of Africa. You find those similarities and linkages, in Southern Africa, West Africa, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, the Mahgreb etc. In the case of East Africa, we have the additional advantage of Swahili, which is a neutral dialect that belongs to no tribe. A very powerful African State can be built around these similarities, involving the whole of East Africa, Congo and may be Zambia and Malawi. This would be a very powerful and cohesive State of 2.2 sq. miles, exceeding the geographical size of the United States, with, a potentially, huge population and alot of natural resources – rivers, Lakes, Oceans, forests, minerals, agriculture, energy etc. I am glad, the members of East African Co-operation (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi and Uganda), both by Treaty and by subsequent decisions, have agreed on the strategy of starting with the Confederation as a first step to the ultimate goal of the political Federation.
It is now 63 years since Ghana’s Independence in 1957. The Post-Independence African leaders, except for Mwalimu Nyerere and Mzee Karume, have succeeded in building a Latin America in Africa instead of building a United States of Africa in Africa as the wishes of the Wazee – Nkrumah, Nyerere, Modibo Keita, Sekou Toure, Nasser and Gadaffi – were. We have failed to build a centre of gravity, a guaranteeing force for the African Race, to guarantee a secure and prosperous future for that much traumatized race. The NRM has invested alot in that struggle in the last 57 years, eversince the Declaration of our leaders in Nairobi on the 6th of June, 1963. That is when Mzee Kenyatta, Nyerere and Obote, with delegations from Somalia, declared that the Federation would be launched before the end of 1963. We are glad, working with our brothers and sisters from the other East African States, we restored the EAC which had collapsed in 1977. We are also glad, as already said above, that the East African States have agreed to the creating of a Confederation as a first step to the, eventual, political Federation of East Africa, may be, eventually attracting other countries such as Congo, Malawi and Zambia because our languages and cultures are close. In this kisanja, therefore, we should vigorously continue pursuing this goal to ensure its realization. In case some of the sister countries have any hesitation vis a vis moving forward, we shall propose to the brothers and sisters, the concept of variable geometry. By this method, those States that are ready, should go ahead and the others can come later, just like Tanganyika and Zanzibar did while forming the United Republic of Tanzania – Serikari ya mungano wa Tanzania. It is amazing, that many political actors in Africa never talk about this, yet it is the only insurance for the future of the Africans. Why did we oppose Amin from the word go? We did not know that he had started killing people at that time. It was because we saw that he was incapable of understanding our principles of patriotism and Pan-Africanism, especially. We cannot be part of any effort that does not include patriotism and Pan-Africanism. It is on account of this long journey, that we, sometimes, get into collision with the arrivists, who think that by taking control of Uganda or any of the former colonies, we have arrived.
You have heard the Americans talking of four dimensional superiority which means being superior on land, in the air, at sea and in space. Some countries have started space Armies. How can Africa, for the second time in this Millennium, watch while other countries are building great strength to our disadvantage? My appeal to the NRM Members, the other Ugandans and the other East Africans, is to scrutinize this point and we move.
- Once we grasp that the NRM insists on Patriotism to deal with our prosperity and Pan-Africanism to deal with both prosperity and the strategic security of Africa, we cannot forget to remember that that prosperity will not come, until our society undergoes social-economic transformation as alluded to earlier. How will this come about? It will come about as a consequence of everybody going to school, having good health and entering the money economy by the masses invading the enclave economy and entering the four sectors for wealth and for jobs. The four sectors are: commercial agriculture with ekibaro, away from the ancient culture of a non-money economy of okukolera ekida kyoonka, tic me ic keken; Industries, big and small – based on agro processing, minerals beneficiation, marine resources Industries, Forest products Industries and the new capacity of knowledge-based Industries of medicine, vaccines, motor vehicles fabrication etc.; services sector; and ICT.
Since 1986, the economy has recovered and expanded. The colonial enclave has been restored after the destruction by Idi Amin. Coffee production is now 7million bags; tea has surpassed, the 1970 level of 18 million kgs – it is now 60 million kgs; sugar production is now 540,000 metric tonnes; cement production is now 8 million metric tonnes; steel production is 600,000 metric tonnes; beer production now stands at 647,123,215 litres; soft drinks production stands at 1,174,793,583 litres; the textiles now stand at 20 million metres; etc., etc. These are, mainly, industries that had collapsed during Amin’s time and subsequent chaotic times. However, there are some Industries that are totally new such as the ones making matresses, the milk industry, the motor-cycle tyres, the leather Industry, the medicines Industry, the vaccines Industry, the fisheries, the sanitizers, the furniture, the motor fabrication, etc., etc. It is important that we note the emergence of the knowledge economy-based on human intellect and skills and not based on agriculture or minerals (natural resources) directly.
The most inclusive effort we are making to change the structure of the Society, is abolishing the culture of subsistence farming. In addition to the programmes of Wealth creation (OWC), Women Fund, Youth Fund etc., we have launched the Myooga Funding which creates capitalization arrangements for specialized areas – metal fabrication, wood-work, ceramics, hospitality, Leaders SACCO, etc. This Fund will be Constituency – based – the all Constituency SACCO per activity, while the producers are organized at the Parish level.
The Manifesto details the achievements and the future plans. Here, having given this background, I will only conclude with two categories of points. Category one, is why and how we were able to repair the economy. The second category are the mass issues that we are continuing to address.
With category one, our recovery was and is quite organic – one thing leading to another.
- We started with sorting out the ideology of the management of society. What was more important identity or interests (okukyenuura)? The old politics was emphasizing identity – religion, tribes and gender – male chauvinism. By rejecting sectarianism, the politics of identity, we have been able to unite more Ugandans. That is why we get 60% to 76% votes in all the previous general elections. The people are more united. This has brought peace in politics in spite of some opportunists trying to create conflicts; it has created harmony among the communities.
- This political harmony, was re-inforced by a
good and strong Army that had been built on these correct ideological principles. That Army has been able to guarantee peace throughout Uganda for the first time in 500 years.
- These two have helped the rich people that had run away to come back and new ones have been attracted.
- In so doing, the rich people have produced goods and services, thereby resolving the problem of shortages that had caused so much misery to our people.
- The rich people have also created jobs for 700,000 of our people in industries, 1,300,000 in services and 15,485 in ICT.
- Those rich people also helped us with the raising of taxes. The goods and services they generated, are taxable. Hence, while our tax collection in 1986 was only Ugx. 5bn per year, our taxes today stand at Ugx. 21,000 bn, this is 4,200 times bigger than 1986.
- With this money, we are able to support defence, health, Education, infrastructure and support the Wealth Funds (OWC), Women Fund, Youth Fund, Emyooga, etc.
Hence, Uganda is now unstoppable. Even without including the Oil in the kibaro, Uganda is on the verge of becoming a middle income country. Our GDP per capita now is US$ 910. If it was not for Covid, it would have been US$ 920. To become a lower middle income country, you need US$ 1,039 per capita. With this enhanced tax collection, even though we are still collecting 12% of GDP in tax while others go up to 18%, we shall solve even the question of poverty among the 19% of our people still below the poverty line and also the problem of the 68% of our homesteads that are still working for ekida kyoonka – tic me ic keken (subsistence farming). The only problem we have, which we are already correcting, is engabula (distributing the food). We must poko marom (distribute fairly) and not poko-guna (distributing bringing to yourself). We must increase the money for the wealth Funds before we spend money on administrative costs and salaries. This proper kugabula, apart from addressing defence, infrastructure, health, Education, paying Government Scientists well, through the Wealth Funds, it will help us to fully monetize and modernize our economy by eliminating the bakolera ekida kyoonka and convert all of them into commercial actors.
The second category, the residual mass issues, are, of course, topped by the issue of the Abakolera ekida kyoonka which we have exhaustively discussed in the preceding pages.
Then the Manifesto brings us the issue of school fees. My concept of free education in Primary and Secondary Schools, has never been accepted by the Local elite. They keep bringing back school charges, claiming that parents must also contribute. The question is: “can they afford?” If they cannot, afford, then what happens? Who loses? It is the Country. The children in the Primary schools are 10,766,994 million. Why is it that the students in the Secondary Schools are only 2 million? The ones in Tertiary Colleges are 314,518. Where did the others go? They are back in the Villages. Therefore, the U.Shs 1.2 trillion we are spending on UPE and the U.Shs. 754.5bn we are spending on USE is not providing free education. It is providing subsidized education for those who can top up. This issue must be resolved with the advice of the Village Assemblies. If many parents cannot afford, it must be free education and not subsidized education.
The issue of land evictions from mailo-land and even from Public land. Anybody who evicts a lawful tenant admitted to the land by either the owner or his agent, the bona fide occupant that was on that land by 1983 or before, the ones who bought or inherited from the two above or being evicted from a customary kibanja on public land for any reason other than the non-payment of the nominal rent, commits a nullity. We do not accept that unfairness. The Manifesto gives quite a bit of attention to this and proposes measures, including the cancellation of such titles. The solution is to resolve this historical distortion by putting aside good money, paying off the landlords and giving ownership to the bibanja people. I have done this in Ankole in the areas of Ishaka, Kashaari, Isingiro, Kakigaane (Rwampara) and the Kirema area in Nakaseke. All the political leaders should defend the tenants on this. I want to salute the Hon. Judith Nabakooba for fighting for the people of Wabinyira, Serinya, etc.
There is the issue of the environment of people cultivating without contouring on hillsides, cultivating on the River Banks, cultivating on Lake shores, cutting forests, etc. Although we have never used rough methods, I want to advise our People to observe all these environmental issues. We shall enforce these laws with dialogue and understanding.
Finally, the tarmac roads, from corner to corner of the Country, have been constructed. However, there is now a problem of the murram roads in the rural areas, especially in the rainy season. Yet, we have first class road equipment that we bought from Japan. All they need is adequate fuel. We have provided Ugx. 146bn to provide this fuel. Each road must be graded, murramed and compacted. Such a road will be motorable; even in times of the rainy season, the roads will remain passable. We, recently, drove on the murram road from Pacilo, through the factory area, crossed River Unyama, drove though the sugar-cane plantations, all the way to River Aswa. This was a distance of 15.1kms. We had a long convoy of vehicles, but nobody’s vehicle got stuck. Yet, it was at the height of flooding. Therefore, the rural roads are maintainable. We need to budget properly.
Uganda is ready for takeoff.