Masaka region official says people will punish NRM for deteriorating service delivery
President Museveni’s aisor has warned that NRM could lose the 2016 elections. Vincent Ssemakula Ssettuba, presidential aisor on the greater Masaka region in charge of political issues and local governments, said in a recent letter to his boss, that the government was not delivering services as it should, and so electoral defeat might be unavoidable.
Ssemakula told The Observer on June 15 in Kyotera, that he wrote to the president in his latest routine brief, warning that the opposition was likely to take aantage of the failed service delivery system.
His analysis, Ssemakula said, is based on responses obtained from NRM leaders in the area during the campaign to popularise the Kyankwanzi resolution. The said resolution attempts to ring-fence the position of NRM flag-bearer in the forthcoming elections for Museveni.
“I moved around the district (Rakai) with the MPs but wherever we went, the people were saying that [despite their] support for the president, he should address the burning issues… ,” Ssemakula said.
“If we want to sail through the elections without too many hurdles, I think we have to improve service delivery,” he concluded.
“If people continuously complain that there are no drugs in hospitals, that children are not studying because teachers have not been paid, roads are impassable, etc you can’t take people for granted, you should be able to listen to those complaints and address them before they become serious problems,” he said.
Ssemakula added that the loss suffered by the NRM candidate in the recent Luweero by-election is another important lesson.
“Poor service delivery was having a direct impact on the popularity of the government as we go to 2016, it is incumbent upon the leadership of the party to ensure that more resources are committed to local governments so that more services are delivered to the people otherwise the opposition is going to take aantage of that,” Ssemakula said.
Appointed presidential aisor only last year, Ssemakula first spoke out publicly on NRM’s failures during a church service held at Kyango Catholic church. Asked if he gets to meet the president to aise him directly, Ssemakula said his aisory role requires him only to write periodic reports.
He lamented that service delivery had deteriorated, citing health centres with no drugs, among other challenges. The president’s aisor also criticised the 201415 budget, saying it imposes high taxes but doesn’t allocate sufficient funds to local governments.
“When I was chairman [of Rakai district], we were getting about 25 per cent (local government grant), last year went down to 17 per cent, and now it is reducing even further to 15 per cent of the national budget,” he said.
Ssemakula describes this state of affairs as unacceptable.
“It is not workable because if the local governments don’t perform, the central government will also not be seen to be working,” he said.
Noting that some teachers in Rakai have not been paid for seven months, Ssemakula asked: “How do you employ somebody and keep them without a salary?”
Nevertheless Ssemakula believes it’s not too late for the ruling party, which he says still enjoys solid support within the population, to turn the situation around.
But that is if NRM can astutely negotiate another issue likely to hurt its fortunes, especially in Buganda – the confusion over returned Buganda properties. Attorney General Peter Nyombi recently indicated that 13 of the returned 213 land titles had been recalled because they were also claimed by the cultural leader of Kooki, Apollo Ssansa Kabumbuli II.
On this, Ssemakula warns the president to tread carefully and avoid breaching the 1896 agreement that annexed Kooki chiefdom to Buganda.
“We should be very clear, if the Kamuswaga is asking for a land title that is exclusive to him, then he has a point, but if he is asking for titles such as for land where Kooki county headquarters are located, then that belongs to the Buganda kingdom administration,” Ssemakula stated.
He explained that under the 1896 agreement, Kooki agreed without coercion to submit to Buganda’s authority. “Kooki is a county under the authority of the Mengo administration, under the Kabaka,” he said.
Contacted for a comment, government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said Ssemakula was not saying anything new.
“That is why the president is suggesting reforms, for example in Naads, education and health,” Opondo said.
“I would appreciate if he (Ssemakula) is proposing new ways of improving service delivery to strengthen NRM support… ,” Opondo added.
Yet Ssemakula is not the only NRM official warning of possible defeat. John Ssimbwa, the Makindye East MP, recently authored a document making similar claims.
Source : The Observer