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Museveni to take Uganda to the moon

President Museveni pledged to make Uganda a “middle income” country by 2015 when he unveiled his 13-point reelection manifesto in Kampala on Monday.

A fourth term would extend his rule to an unprecedented 30 years. Seeking to build on the 2006 election campaign pledges, Museveni declared that in his fourth term, an average Ugandan will be able to earn at least US$1,000 (Shs 2.27m) per annum.

The current per capita income of Ugandans is US$ 450 (Shs 950,000) per annum. But perhaps his most ambitious pledge was to engineer a space programme in partnership with other East African Community (Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Kenya) members.

This, he said, would help secure the future of Africa. Expounding on his 13th point, “working for the political federation of the East African Community,” Museveni said many Africa leaders have not taken the trouble to insure the future of Africa.

“We need to put a satellite in space so that we find out what those Americans are doing there,” he said during the launch of the NRM’s 2011-2016 manifesto at Kampala Serena Hotel.

“With the EAC federation, we can have bargaining power and be able to go to the moon, and by going into space we shall insure the strategic security of Africa.”

Positioning himself as an inevitable force in Uganda’s immediate future, Museveni said the future of Uganda, in the next five years, would largely depend on his new 13-point programme.
“This is my future plan,” Museveni said.

On electricity, Museveni said his government is saving money to ensure that by 2016 the country will have 3,800 mega watts compared to the current 900 mega watts, which he said are too low and embarrassing.

On roads, he promised more tarmac roads – but he added that districts would receive equipment to upgrade the murram roads in the villages. But Museveni expressed discomfort at the “war of contracts” which he said has stalled some road projects.

“What has been delaying us on roads is the law on procurement. People are fighting for contracts. There is a war of contracts and this war has delayed the construction of roads – we are going to review that law,” he said.

On the issue of revamping railway transport, he said the army, using its engineering brigade, will help to re-construct the broken tracks—which were built by the British in 1900.

Repeating his 2006 promise of “prosperity for all”, which is again the main driver of his new manifesto, Museveni promised to champion a revolution in the agricultural sector, which employs 80% of the population, so that household incomes can improve.

“All agricultural products must be processed at the sub-county level,” he said, emphasizing value-addition.

Museveni added that if he achieves the 3,800 mega watts target on electricity, industrialisation will be on course—with a target of industrial cottages in every sub-county.

Other programmes in the 13-point package include the expansion of education and health infrastructure, boosting safe water supply and access to rural areas, raising the living wage of civil servants, and building a refinery for oil production.

On the issue of oil, Museveni warned that those who are planning to mess with the resource will be “thrown out”.

Museveni said Tullow Oil, one of the companies contracted to develop the oil fields, would pay the disputed $430m as tax to Uganda following a transaction in which the company bought out Heritage Oil, another player in the sector.

“It is NRM that discovered the petroleum in Uganda. I know that it is a struggle, but you people should be glad that I was here to make sure that this oil is not stolen,” Museveni said.

“I used to hear people saying that petroleum is a curse, and I laughed. Here you don’t mess with oil. If I invite you and you mess with our oil, I throw you out of the room,” he said, referring to Heritage Oil who refused to pay the said tax.

Campaign strategy

Museveni, who started his campaigns on Tuesday this week in Luweero, rallied NRM supporters not to abandon the old bush war ways of doing things, which were successful.

“This Luweero culture was a good culture, and you must learn from it. For example, how can somebody on murder charges be out on bail? That is not a good idea. We need to go back to the bush culture because this idea of extinguishing our bush culture is not good at all,” he said.

The President also advised the NRM campaign strategists not to concentrate on towns, but to reach out to his supporters in the villages.

“There are no votes in towns; the votes are in the villages. Uganda has 5,700 villages and that is where the people are,” he said.

Highlights of 2011 manifesto

  • “Prosperity for all” strategically adopted with the primary aim of converting all homesteads into commercial units in order to effectively eradicate poverty in the country.
  • Transforming Uganda from a poor peasant society into a modern industrial, united and prosperous society in a stable and peaceful environment.
  • Fast tracking of the creation of the East African Federation.
  • An agricultural revolution. Commercial agriculture accompanied by industrialisation would reduce the 68% of the population still engaged in subsistence farming to 0% in a few years.
  • Rapid industrialization. An industrial revolution would not only solve the problem of adding value to agricultural products but also provide employment and stem conflicts related to rural migration.

dtlumu@observer.ug

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