President Museveni has embarked on yet another presidential run, a move that could see him run the country for almost half a decade.
Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, was this Monday nominated by the Electoral Commission as the ruling party’s candidate for the 2021 presidential election.
He was nominated by the youth – Nassur Gaddafi and Hellen Seku.
Museveni, 76, was flanked by First Lady Janet Museveni and long-time friends, Al Hajji Moses Kigongo and Dr Ruhakana Rugunda.
Also present was NRM Secretary General, Kasule Lumumba.
Museveni has been politically active since his school days. He says he started waking up Banyankole from poverty as early as 1959 when he joined Mbarara High School.
He strongly discouraged nomadism.
Later when he joined Ntare School, he doubled as president of the debating society and scripture union which partly shaped his leadership skills.
His political awareness and ideological orientation became more focused during the three years (1967 to 1970) he spent at the University of Dar es Salaam.
The university provided a very conducive atmosphere for pan-Africanism and anti-imperialism.
While there, he became the president of the University Students’ African Revolutionary Front (USARF), a basis on which he gained mentorship from President Julius Nyerere.
Museveni was instrumental in forming FRONASA (Front for National Salvation), which was the core of Ugandan fighting groups that, together with the Tanzanian People’s Defence Forces, ousted Idi Amin’s regime in April 1979. On 29th January 1986, Museveni became President of Uganda after leading a protracted five-year war.
Escorted by Special Forces, Museveni today expressed gratitude to his supporters in the districts who signed his endorsement forms to run in the 2021 general elections.
“At this nomination, I would want to emphasize two points; measures against the Covid-19 pandemic and security,” said Museveni.
“Covid-19 is deadly and is killing our people. In recent days, among others, we lost an environment expert, Paul Mafabi, and my good friend, Francis Xavier Kitaka, the veterinary expert and entrepreneur.”
He urged the public to not take this disease lightly.
“The talk that the villages are insulated from Covid-19 is false. Please follow all guidelines of health experts. Sanitize, wear masks and observe social distancing.”
He also warned against political violence during the elections.
“Secondly, I encourage everybody to maintain peace. I hear talk that some people want to cause chaos. Those plans will not succeed. Anyone planning mischief will fail. No one should threaten Ugandans with chaos.”
Museveni later headed to Munyonyo for the launch of his manifesto.
According to the manifesto, NRM intends to promote commercial agriculture as opposed to the unprofitable subsistence farming. Small-scale and medium-scale farmers will be helped to select enterprises with higher returns per acre annually.
“NRM will continue to prioritise industrialization and its pace, doubled with initiatives to attract more investments in agro-processing to add value to primary products. In addition, the abundant deposits of different minerals will be harnessed to support the mineral-led industrialization, creating revenue and jobs,” the manifesto reads in part.
NRM said it will concentrate its efforts and resources to addressing several issues undermining the country’s growth trajectory.
These include the 68.9% of households still stuck in subsistence agriculture; low productivity (yield per acre), output and quality of agricultural commodities to sustain domestic and export markets; high levels of post-harvest losses; low household incomes and rising income inequality leading to low purchasing power and high unemployment and underemployment of the young people.
Others include high cost of credit, electricity and transport — which lowers competitiveness of Ugandan products — which lowers competitiveness of Ugandan products; low investment in scientific research and development (R&D) to inform innovation and policy; land ownership and security, land use and land fragmentation; high levels of corruption in government and private sector; low level of industrialisation; low labour productivity; limited export markets; quality of healthcare and education services; environmental degradation and climate change.
The ruling party also pledges to continue to emphasise the teaching of science subjects, skills development, innovation and research. In addition, courses in institutions of higher learning will be purposely developed and aligned to meet market demand of the private sector.
According to the manifesto, NRM recognises the fact that Uganda’s current market, estimated at 45 million people, is insufficient to guarantee the country and its people’s prosperity.
As industries expand to attain mass production, NRM says it will need to take advantage of Africa’s market of 1.3 billion people.
“This is why NRM joined other African governments to sign the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, which removes obstacles to movement of goods and people across African countries. NRM will also continue to advocate for political integration for strategic security,” says the manifesto.