President Yoweri Museveni: Life After Uganda Elections 2006
Kampala celebrates after the February 23, 2006 Uganda elections.

President Yoweri Museveni: Life After Uganda Elections 2006

Museveni reflects on the year's achievements.

By Gideon Munaabi
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First published: January 5, 2007

A lot had happened on the political scene in 2006 and it was time for President Yoweri Museveni to tell the country what his government had achieved since it was given authority to take charge of the country following the February 23, 2006 elections.

In his first New Year's Day State of the Nation Address as president under the multiparty arrangement, Mr. Museveni notes that his government had faced some challenges and registered a number of achievements.

Top among the challenges, the President says was the energy crisis and the failure to launch the prosperity for all (Bonna Bagagawale) scheme in 2006 as promised in his/NRM Party election manifesto.

As expected, the 'successful elections' in February 23 under multiparty dispensation and eventual victory of the National Resistance Movement was his biggest achievement followed by the (discovery of oil in western Uganda and then the strides made towards peace in northern Uganda.

The other achievements, according to the President were the improvement of social welfare, health, education and safe water coverage as well as implementation of the National Agriculture Advisory Service (NAADS) in more sub counties.

Despite the criticism from especially the opposition, the President says Uganda's economy continued to perform well in the past year in spite of the slower growth in agricultural production as a result of poor weather conditions with GDP of 5.4.

The President says that stronger growth in the service sector (9.2%) and industrial output sector (4.5%) more than offset the slower growth in the agricultural production, which arose out of the inadequate and sometimes unevenly distributed rains.

But some people think that the poor performance in the agriculture sector is mainly due to inadequate funding of the sector by government.

Although over 80 percent of Ugandans depend on agriculture either directly or indirectly, the sector funding trails other government sectors and departments including the President's office, Defence, Health and Education.

According to the opposition Forum for Democratic Change Presidential Envoy and Lubaga North Member of Parliament, Beti Kamya the poor performance of the agriculture sector is due to lack of political will on the side of the NRM government.

Related to the agriculture sector, there seems to be a lax in the efforts to curb the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. According to the latest UNAIDS/World Health Organization HIV/AIDS report 2006, Uganda's prevalence rate which has been going down over the years is rising again. This has been partly attributed to lack of political will as well.

In his lengthy speech, the president talks of the provision of ARVs and calling for an 'aggressive fight' and 'support of the affected and infected' contrary to his earlier messages that focused on prevention.

Even in the government priorities in 2007, HIV/AIDS is not an issue. This gives an impression that maybe the government's will to fight the pandemic has gone down and probably the reason it registered poor results in AIDS fight in the region.

In terms of social welfare, the president says that contrary to reports that Ugandans are becoming poorer, many Ugandans are moving out of poverty.

Quoting the 2006 Household survey, Mr. Museveni says the proportion of Ugandans who are able to meet their basic needs (such as food, medicine, water and housing) has increased from 62 percent in 2002/2003 to 69 percent in 2006. The problem is that although many Ugandans are beginning to afford basic needs, the increase in the cost of living could send many back to poverty if measures are not put in place to curtail inflation which rose from 6.6 in 2006.

In the year 2007, the government's priorities are the improvement of the road networks, Universal Secondary Education beginning with Senior One, energy, investment in water for production, as well as human development including health and education.

With about 6 months since President Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Movement has been in power under multiparty politics, it may be too early to give a clear judgment on its performance. Ugandans however, deserve more.

By Gideon Munaabi
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First published: January 5, 2007
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Gideon Munaabi is a journalist and public relations practitioner with Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd. He has been and continues writing widely for different publication locally and internationally. He is a founding member of Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd and is currently the chairman of the organisation.