Namboole – Prosperity to Sole Candidate [opinion]

The pride of residing near Namboole stadium, which enables me to avoid traffic jam because of proximity to the Northern bypass, Kinawattaka and Jinja roads diminished as I approached it on Monday morning.

The two roads that go round the stadium and connect to the bypass and Jinja road had all been blocked by military trucks. Armed men forced all motorists to squeeze through the usually-crowded Bweyogerere town. If you didn’t know the reason, there were posters of our beloved sole candidate all over to remind you.

The bridge at which the Northern bypass connects to Jinja road was covered with his posters. Indeed, apart from the inscriptions, they were the official 20062011 campaign posters. What had changed was the wording. In the previous campaigns, it was “prosperity for all.”

The new posters read: “Yoweri Museveni Kaguta NRM sole candidate 2016”.

The same posters were pasted on the perimeter wall of Namboole stadium, venue for the NRM national delegates’ conference. And all delegates I passed by on foot and in school trucks were donning yellow T-shirts with the portrait of the sole candidate on the chest.

The stage had been set for the revolutionary leader to shed off any pretence. And it is this pretence that has cost Africa a whole century. And the sole candidate, to his credit, diagnosed this problem long ago in his book, What is Africa’s Problem?

The part of the Middle East that is developing steadily and competing favourably with the West is one that is under monarchies. This includes countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi with over a trillion dollar sovereign fund, I think, is the first or second richest nation on earth. Its sovereign wealth is only rivalled by China-Hong Kong’s $1.4 trillion. Just to help you readers grasp this matter, Uganda’s total wealth is $20 billion, the president says $29 billion. And our foreign reserve is just about $4 billion.

Saudi Arabia with $762 billion, Kuwait with $548 billion and Qatar with $256 billion sovereign wealth, puts these Gulf kingdoms among the top 10 in the world. There are no elections, even mock ones, in these countries. The rulers don’t dish out money to buy their stay in power. They are absolute rulers and their word is final.

In Europe and America (the West), there is prosperity because the question of leadership was resolved. Here, you don’t use taxpayers’ money to climb to or stay in office.

The biggest part of Africa has failed to solve the leadership conundrum. Why have we wasted our scarce resources organising five major elections under Museveni?

This year alone we allocated Shs 200 billion to the Electoral Commission for voter registration, education and other preparatory activities for the 2016 general elections. All of us know Museveni haswill rig these elections.

We recently borrowed about Shs 200 billion to refurbish the country’s main referral hospital, Mulago. And our budget is full of unfunded priorities. Almost all the money we use for infrastructural development is borrowed. That is what has increased our debt burden to nearly $10bn, which is half of our total wealth (GDP).

Why then did Museveni deceive us that he was not Amin? He should have declared himself life president and saved the country’s fortune that he spends during elections. He came to power when I was 12 years old but I remember vividly the wording on the first Tata trucks his first government loaned to cooperatives. “Produce for Marketing” was one of the wordings. This has now changed to “Sole Candidate.”

Last week, Bank of Uganda told my parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises that we still have failed to balance our payment. On average, we export goods worth $207m per month and import goods worth $500m.

That is the main reason our shilling keeps depreciating. There is talk of doubling our coffee export by 2018 which I highly doubt because the focus of all institutions has remained the same, “sale of the sole candidate.”

The pledge of Shs 20 million income per household per year is long forgotten. It has also been replaced by sole candidate.

You needed to be at Parliament at the weekend to see Moses Ali seated on the veranda for hours waiting to be served with a T-shirt bearing the sole candidate’s portrait as he headed for NRM’s NEC meeting in Entebbe! T-shirts that fit Moses Ali are not easy to find so, the towering general refused to leave the chief whip’s veranda until they had found him one. That is where we are as a country.

The author is Kyadondo East MP.

Source : The Observer

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