The NRM is built on four principles: nationalism, pan-Africanism, democracy and socioeconomic transformation.
President Museveni has over time added his own beliefs onto the NRM agenda. These include prosperity for all and ideological awakening, which the president has consistently talked about, and they have borne results in some areas. If we take the example of ideological awakening in the areas of northern Ankole (current Kiruhura district), the president started a campaign to transform them from nomadic pastoralists into settled farmers.
This was in the late 1960s. He then encouraged these people to settle in one place, fence their land, acquire land titles, and engage in other activities such as cultivation. He had succeeded but the campaign was disrupted when Museveni joined the University of Dar es Salaam and later engaged in Uganda’s liberation struggles of the 1970s and early 1980s.
This struggle, however, was revived as soon as the NRA took power in 1986. Museveni then convinced the people of northern Ankole to embrace modern farming techniques. He challenged them to dispose of their traditional cattle breeds for exotic ones.
It is, therefore, wrong and shaming to visit a village where a cabinet minister comes from and heshe is the only rich person there. Such a minister is neither a servant of his master, President Museveni, nor a supporter of his. If heshe were, they would have emulated Museveni.
This is partly the reason why our people are still walloping in poverty and why the president has had to micromanage the country, especially as far as poverty alleviation is concerned. Our leaders must take what the president did in northern Ankole as a case study to transform their communities. Cabinet members, or those seeking to challenge President Museveni in 2016, must pass this test too.
This brings me to my major area of concern today. In February this year, Evelyne Anite (Youth MP, Northern), during an NRM retreat at Kyankwanzi, moved a motion to endorse President Museveni as the sole presidential candidate for NRM in 2016.
Of course, this is very good for building party cohesion. But my friends, Anite and her co-architect of this motion Peter Ogwang (Youth MP, Eastern), have failed to learn and share the president’s vision, not to even cherish his values. They instead want to own the words “sole candidate” as if it is a business brand which they have secured a copyright for, instead of explaining to Ugandans the benefits of President Museveni’s NRM sole candidacy.
They have even failed to embrace the four NRM pillars, nationalism to say the least. To take you back, these two have played tribal cards for quite some time. In Jinja, in 2011, the two sounded tribal while campaigning for their colleague, Monicah Amoding (National Female Youth MP).
They mobilised their voters in sectarian groupings to vote against Amoding’s opponent, who was a Munyankore. Thankfully, Amoding has always exhibited leadership qualities and has never been sectarian in execution of her duties. I don’t think President Museveni has ever condoned sectarianism. He has always preached nationalism.
As if that was not enough, during the recent NRM youth meetings at State House, Entebbe, Anite and Ogwang attempted to block two members of the delegation from attending the meeting. Their argument was that the two were ‘Banyankore’ from the same district.
This was pure sectarianism. The two youth leaders had been cleared by authorities at State House. The two ‘honourables’ got clarification that whereas one of the two delegates was from western Uganda, another was from central.
Even the recent subversive activities in the Rwenzori region, where many lives were lost, manifest that our leaders have failed to cherish NRM values, especially nationalism. It is ideologically wrong for Ugandans to kill themselves on tribal basis, bearing in mind that we are a republic. I, therefore, urge my colleagues, especially the youth, to embrace the president’s vision, if they genuinely support him.
The author is a member of the NRM Youth League.
Source : The Observer