Uganda Peoples Congress
Uganda Peoples Congress
Plot 8-10 Kampala Road, Uganda House,
P. O. Box 9206, Kampala
LET US REVIVE THE INDEPENDENCE AGENDA
08 Oct 2008
- Tomorrow the 9th of October, 2008, Uganda will celebrate 46 years as an independent nation. At the Kololo Independence grounds, at State House and at various district venues, the NRM leaders, handlers, conscripts and beneficiaries of its corruption and patronage will at public expense celebrate and highlight the "achievements" of independent Uganda under the NRM led by its "visionary" leader.
- These celebrations will be hollow for the majority of the people of Uganda who live and labour under extreme poverty. For the millions of children and young people who have no access to any worthwhile education, who die of preventable diseases and who have no prospects of meaningful employment, the day will be marked in a sombre mood. For the hundreds of thousands of households that can barely afford one decent meal a day and who have no access to clean water, decent shelter and basic medical care; independence is a long lost cause. For the peasants who sell their produce at throw away prices to unscrupulous middlemen, independence is a far cry.
- The mood tomorrow throughout Uganda shall be subdued and not full of hope and vigor as was the case when UPC leaders received the instruments of independence in a truly momentous occasion. The UPC captured the vision and aspirations of independent Uganda. At independence, the people of Uganda aspired to take charge of their destiny by squarely confronting the unholy trinity of poverty, ignorance and disease. Poverty bred ignorance and disease which in turn reinforced poverty. It was a vicious cycle, a poverty trap.
- The first UPC administration informed by social democratic ideals took bold steps to establish and expand a people centered economy and polity. The UPC government aggressively pursued economic policies that ensured that the majority of the population was involved in the mainstream economy through improved agriculture, industry, trade quality health care and education; and an Africanized public service. Millions were lifted from the poverty trap through the mixed economy model where private enterprises, cooperatives and public enterprises complimented each other on the basis of well planned and cost effective social and economic infrastructure put in place by government.
- Most of the UPC's economic and social achievements were laid to waste during the military dictatorship of Idi Amin. Painfully and under UPC leadership, the people of Uganda regained their independence in 1979 and the following year elected the UPC, on the basis of its record, to re-launch the independence agenda. Under the Rehabilitation Program (1980-1982) and the Revised Recovery Program (1982-1984) the UPC was able to reverse much of the losses of the 1970's and to revive the fight against ignorance, poverty and disease. Those who care to look at the statistics objectively can attest to the successful revival of agriculture industry, trade, tourism, the civil service, education, health, transport and other sectors of the economy in only four (4) years. The Pearl of Africa was surely beginning to rise and shine.
- These four (4) years of a steady recovery and growth were interrupted by the return of the rule of men under arms. It has been a painful 23 years of mostly NRM one party cum military dictatorship. The people-centered mixed economy model of the UPC was abandoned and replaced by a parasitic and corruption driven economy where patronage and corruption are the basis of economic action. Although Uganda is supposed to be a free market economy, it is in reality a State House regulated economy where access to resources, jobs, education, public contracts and power are distributed on the basis of patronage. The result is that even where there are pockets of economic growth like in housing construction, only a few well connected families have benefited. The majority of the people in Uganda are living on the fringes of the economy from which they are deliberately excluded by those billionaires that have built economic empires on the wheels of patronage and corruption. For the majority of the peasants, the working people and local business persons, there has been no significant human development for the two decades of NRM misrule.
- Today is not a day of lamentations but a day to resolve together as the suffering people of Uganda to revive the agenda and ideals of independence. Although our path is riddled with challenges, the people of Uganda have what it takes to say no to those who for decades have subverted the hope and vision of independence and replaced it with fear and apathy.
- As it did at independence and with the anti-Amin struggle, the UPC is ready and already active in the leadership to liberate Uganda for the third time. What we ask from the people of Uganda is their focused support so that we can overcome our fears and restore Uganda to a people-centred government concerned and determined to revive the people's aspirations and hopes so that once again extreme poverty, ignorance and disease may be banished from our beautiful country. We trust that the people of Uganda will stand up under UPC leadership to be counted as we mark 46 years of independence. In the word of our National anthem, "Together we'll always stand".
For God and my Country
Miria Kalule Obote