Bwanika says in his manifesto that, once he captures power, he will trim cabinet from 70 to 30 ministers, restore presidential term limits, transform Uganda into a middle-income society, and also introduce a two-tier parliament—similar to that of Britain.
He launched the manifesto on Tuesday this week. Coming after five weeks into the campaigns, Bwanika’s 74-page manifesto chronicles an ambitious plan for Uganda, which analysts say might not match with reality on the ground.
For example, he promises to slash the number of MPs yet at the same time he wants to introduce a two-tier parliamentary system, which would most likely translate into more numbers.
Bwanika also pledges to trim cabinet from the current 70 ministers to 30 yet in a country he describes as “too divided and too tribal”, many of these appointments, he admits, arise from trying to settle these tribal-regional wars.
Bwanika also suggests that losing presidential candidates, who attain at least 5% in the elections, should automatically become MPs—another suggestion that defeats his idea of trimming parliament. He is, however, determined to serve with a small government.
“PDP believes in a small but efficient government. We are committed to reducing the size of cabinet and the cost of public administration to eliminate waste and improve efficiency,” he said during the launch of his manifesto at Speke Hotel in Kampala.
Bwanika, who has of late had run-ins with the police over where to convene his campaign rallies, also criticised the Archbishop of Kampala, Cyprian Lwanga, for blocking his PDP from holding the manifesto launch at Christ the King conference hall.
PDP had initially booked the hall, only to be told that Lwanga outlawed any political gatherings at the Catholic Church located in the city centre. In the past, several opposition political parties have held gatherings and media briefings at Christ the King conference hall.
After rounds of negotiations, Bwanika re-located his manifesto launch to Speke Hotel. Bwanika told supporters that although President Museveni’s ruling NRM has scored some achievements in the economy, education, enactment of good laws and security, the 25-year rule has left “a mixed legacy punctuated with failures and lots of missed opportunities.”
These “missed opportunities”, according to Bwanika, revolve around the failure to contain poverty levels, unemployment figures, corruption, poor road infrastructure, inadequate health, disunity, sectarianism and a neglected and weak agricultural sector.
Bwanika, who has since combed 32 districts for votes—in Buganda, Busoga and Lango sub-region, said that the main aim of his manifesto is to “correct the past mistakes (political and economical) using proposals that are achievable and within the means of Uganda.”
This Thursday (today), Bwanika heads to West Nile, a region that gave birth to controversial former president Idi Amin, who he says built parastatals only for the current government to sell them off.
Bwanika, whose party has no MP, and may not get one after February 18, admitted that most of his promises—mainly in governance—will require the amendment of the Constitution.
In Uganda, one can amend the Constitution through Parliament—where numbers are vital—or Parliament can call for a referendum, again numbers are crucial.
But Bwanika is not deterred by these challenges.
“I will amend the constitution to restore the provision of presidential term limits. I will amend the constitution to provide for a two-tier parliament; a lower and upper parliament,” he promised.
Other amendments Bwanika has lined up include, providing for an independent speaker and deputy speaker of Parliament, and suspension of parliamentary sessions during the general election campaign period.
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