Get Priorities Right in 2015 [editorial]

Today we say goodbye to 2014, a year that promised a great deal, but will probably be most remembered for costly political drama.

As we reported on Monday, the ruling party has spent billions of Shillings in various schemes and initiatives that climaxed with the removal of Amama

Mbabazi from the leadership of the National Resistance Movement. Obviously the NRM deserves space to handle its intra-party affairs the way it sees fit. But we live in a country with one dominant party that hardly tries to create boundaries between it and the government in such a situation the lines between party and national leadership and resources easily become dangerously blurred and of concern to all Ugandans.

In 2015, we urge the NRM government to get its priorities right. First, we need peace, security and stability on the streets and in the villages. With election year 2016 around the corner, political contestation is bound to heighten but a prudent government can ensure stability by respecting the rights of especially opposition politicians.

Seeing contrived security threats in legitimate politics only provokes needless confrontation. That should also allow security to focus on real threats to peace, including armed robberies and murders.

We also hope the NRM has learnt lessons from the last elections, when frenzied election-inspired expenditure helped to bring the economy to its knees.

As the party in government, the NRM can show leadership by seeking to win with superior arguments, instead of fearing that it could be outspent by its rivals. Uganda has to live after the 2016 elections and let us not ruin it.

Besides the NRM-centred political drama, news headlines have also been dominated by stories related to corruption and value for money in public procurement. Issues such as the Mukono-Katosi road and the standard gauge railway projects are being carried forward into 2015. The government must resolutely sort out the mess in procurement so that Ugandans are not short-changed.

For a country that aspires to middle-income status, it is worrying that almost every multi-billion procurement project gets mired in scandal and controversy – with billions of taxpayers’ money and the country’s reputation at stake

Source : The Observer

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