Uganda Peoples Congress

Uganda Peoples Congress
National Secretariat
Plot 8-10 Kampala Road, Uganda House,
P. O. Box 9206, Kampala

Bonabagagawale is Doomed to Fail

Press Release

(Embargoed for release at 11.00am, 9th April, 2008)

  1. It was reported on the front page of New Vision of Monday, April 7, 2008 that President Yoweri Museveni while on a tour of Busoga region had announced that six households from every parish will be given funds under a government programme to transform agriculture from subsistence to commercial. Apparently, the six households would serve as a nucleus and learning centres. This is t he latest policy position of the "visionary" and "revolutionary" NRM government in its pursuit of "prosperity for all (bonabagagagwale).
  2. On which inertia will the choice of 6 families to benefit from this scheme be based? On the ground of paying more taxes, large family units or their support of NRM.
  3. Whatever the criteria for the choice, it will be discriminatory and will offend against Article 21 of the constitution which states that all persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect and are to enjoy equal protection of the law. The Article prohibits discrimination on the basis of among others sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability.
    So when government decides to choose some and not others to dole money to, the government is breaking the constitution by being discriminatory. This is a scheme to create the middle class rather than allow it to evolve by creating conditions which would give equal opportunities to all Ugandans to have access to equal opportunities for self improvement.
  4. Like all ill conceived NRM policies on "prosperity" this latest gamble is doomed to fail along the lines of the rural farmers scheme, entandikwa, plan for modernisation of agriculture amongst other billions worth of failed projects.
  5. This scheme which will be implemented by the troubled corrupt and inefficient National Agricultural and Advising Services (NAADS) will be another waste of tax payer's money. The six households will be selected on the basis of NRM patronage and no amount of subsidy to them will transform rural agriculture in Uganda from subsistence to commercial. The policy, if it can be so called without injury to the word, is ill conceived.
  6. The problems of agriculture Uganda are complex and can not be solved by amateurish gamblers. They have to do with the very essence of governance and economic management in Uganda.
  7. The first step to take to deal with the macro and microeconomic management of Uganda of which agriculture is only a part, is the question of democratic governance. It is only under a democratic framework that sound and corruption free institutions can be set up and efficiently operate. Even if we had the best managers in NAADS, they cannot deliver if their operations are interfered with and controlled by corrupt politicians.
  8. Secondly, improving farming methods of a few farms without a coordinated improvement of the production, transport and marketing infrastructure, cannot solve the teething and complex problems in rural areas. The NRM government is responsible for dismantling the cooperative movement and the marketing boards that were the backbone of organised production, marketing and transportation.
  9. Millions of rural farmers cannot of their own transform their faring methods without the dedicated and all year round support of agricultural extension works at every sub-county. In its craze to "reform" the civil service, the NRM government retrenched thousands of agricultural extension workers. This left the farmers orphaned and bereft of expert support.
  10. The agricultural research institutions like Kawanda, Namalere, Busitema and district farm institutes and demonstration farms that were at the forefront of research on improved and disease resistance crop, animal varieties, handy agricultural equipments and machinery were also run down. Attempts to revive then under the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) have been a failure like all NRM projects. Without this research capacity, the future of agricultural in Uganda is bleak.
  11. The UPC has repeatedly warned and continue to do so today that the NRM government is a parasitic and retrogressive cancer that continues to eat away at the body fabric of Uganda. It cannot be reformed or changed. It cannot derive on rural transformation or anything progressive in Uganda. We should redouble our efforts to free ourselves of this decadent government.

For God and my Country

Mama Miria Kalule Obote

President, Uganda Peoples Congress