SEPTEMBER 11, 2010: 2011 Polls Will Be Fair - Museveni

2011 Polls Will Be Fair - Museveni

SOURCE: New Vision

By President Yoweri Museveni

Kampala — President Yoweri Museveni's speech at the opening of the September 5 UNAA Convention in Washington DC, presented by Hon. Daudi Migereko, the Government Chief Whip

Rt. Hon. Edward Ssekandi, the Speaker of Parliament of Uganda; Her Highness Lady Sylvia Nagginda, the Nnabagereka of Buganda; Mr. Moses Wilson, President, Uganda North American Association (UNAA);

The Executive, UNAA; Mr. Donald Yamamoto, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, State Department - Bureau of Africa Affairs; All Ugandans in North America; Ugandans from other parts of the Diaspora; Friends of Uganda; Ladies and Gentlemen.

I would like to thank the UNAA president, Mr. Moses Wilson, for the commendable job he has done during his term of office, together with his team.

I commend the UNAA for the good work you are doing in networking and supporting Ugandans here and at home.

I wish also to recognise your efforts at building your country in form of remittances home, which, from all the Ugandans in the Diaspora, totalled $750m.

Uganda greatly appreciates your contribution, especially to the housing construction industry, technology transfer and ideas, to mention but a few.

Your contribution and efforts, among other things, which have taken advantage of the correct economic policies of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government, have given way to a vibrant economy that has remained resilient in the wake of the global economic crisis that rocked many other economies of the world.

I will share with you some of the significant achievements that have been registered as a result of these policies of the NRM government.

There has been continued expansion of the economy, enabling us to get nearer to the level of self-sufficiency in our budgeting and plans, with implications for even faster economic growth.

Between 1986 and 2006, we depended mainly on donors to fund infrastructure - energy, transport etc.

However, owing to improved tax collections - i.e. from sh5b in 1986/87 to sh5 trillion in 2010/11 - we have been able to achieve a lot i.e. funding CHOGM, creation of the energy fund enabling us to pursue rural electrification and elimination of load shedding, the road fund for maintenance and construction of new tarmac roads, scientific research, defence, etc.

Ladies and gentlemen, the socio-economic transformation of Uganda is not mere sloganeering. It aims at making all Ugandans useful contributors to and beneficiaries of a flourishing and modern Uganda.

The National Development Plan (NDP), launched in April this year, will consolidate past achievements and accelerate the desired social economic transformation of Uganda, which will propel the country from a predominantly peasant society to a prosperous middle class-income country.

We have launched a programme (NAADS) to get the 68% of the homesteads in Uganda which are still under subsistence farming to transform into modern commercial farming.

While the problem of poor service delivery has continued to hamper the Government's efforts to improve the socio-economic status of our citizens, in implementing the NDP, we will pursue a business approach to public service delivery.

Under the Ministry of Public Service, results oriented management has been instituted. Budgeting is now output and performance based.

Indeed Permanent Secretaries and Commissioners will only maintain their appointments based on performance. The NDP highlights investment priorities, programmes and projects that we have to undertake in order to foster accelerated socio-economic transformation.

As a country, we have been blessed with the discovery of oil and gas in reasonable commercial quantities. Two billion barrels of oil deposits have been confirmed to be in place over the limited area that has been so far been explored. It is estimated that this will give us a minimum of $35b at the current market price.

This kind of economic break through is as a result of a deliberate concerted effort of our government which involved local capacity building of our people and effective promotion and monitoring of the Petroleum Exploration programme in the country.

In order to plan for production in an orderly manner, Government has put in place a National Oil and Gas Policy, formulated through an extensive consultative process.

The Policy provides the guiding principles in the petroleum value chain including setting up of a Refinery and institutional framework for the prudent management of the resource and the revenue accruing out of the same. Therefore this oil will not be a curse to Uganda.

This oil money will be used to expedite the creation of new infrastructure i.e. electricity, roads, and the railway. More importantly it will be used to develop our Human Resource. It will also facilitate Scientific Research and incubation of projects in the value addition chain.

Regarding electricity; the policy of power supply has changed. Power Supply will now be aimed at stimulating demand within the economy.

For the next 5 years, power consumption per capita should rise from the current 75 kWh/per capita to 670 kWh/per capita by the year 2015. This will bring us closer to what you Ugandans in the diaspora consume. Needless to say this will also save our environment and create jobs.

Unemployment

We view unemployment as our single biggest problem. Our population is growing fairly fast. Our strategy has been to ensure that all children of school-going age gain access to education through Universal Primary Education and Universal Secondary Education.

We are now trying to popularise vocational and technical education by setting up polytechnics and technical institutes at sub-county and district level, respectively. The essence of this is to prepare the youth by giving them vital training and skills for job creation and the market.

This is particularly critical as we develop our oil and gas industry. We expect Ugandans in the diaspora with the requisite know how to join in this effort.

Obviously, the sustainable way forward is of creating jobs attracting more domestic and foreign investment into the country. I, therefore, commend UNAA and UIA for the role you are playing in this effort.

Meantime, through this year's budget we have created a Youth Investment Fund accessible through commercial banks on concessionary terms to help the youth create jobs for themselves.

Peace and security

Pacification of the whole country has been achieved. We have defeated Kony and the disarming of the Karimojong warriors ongoing. The Government is wholly committed to the rebuilding and resettlement of the people in northern and northeastern Uganda.

To this end we launched the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP), whose four core strategic objectives are the consolidation of state authority; rebuilding and empowering communities; revitalisation of the northern economy and peace building and reconciliation.

Terrorism

As we seek to consolidate peace in northern Uganda, terrorists of the Al-Shabaab/Al Qaeda groups and their proxies have been trying to undo our achievements.

On July 11 this year they killed 80 innocent civilians. I commiserate with those of you who lost their dear ones in these heinous and cowardly bombings - most unfortunate incident.

We thank the Americans and other friends who have helped us to track down the perpetrators of these criminal acts. They are now facing the law. My unwavering stand is that Uganda shall not cower to the cowardly acts of terrorists.

Good governance and 2011 polls

Good governance, the rule of law and constitutionalism underly Uganda's survival as a nation. However, the history of Uganda's democracy is well known, with its attendant inadequacies and flaws that left our people disenfranchised, with irregular elections which, when held, were often fraudulent.

When NRA/M liberated our country, one of our cardinal aims was to reform the bad laws.

This process has been going on over the years culminating in the recent amendment of the electoral laws, which addressed issues raised by the Supreme Court Ruling.

The amendments also brought on board input from the Opposition Parties which was submitted through the Interparty Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) to Parliament.

In preparation for the forthcoming general elections, the Electoral Commission (EC) has issued a programme of activities which will culminate into the general elections come February next year.

One of the cardinal principles of having free and fair elections is to have an undisputed voters' register. We, therefore, thank the US government for its support in this area.

We now have a voters' register readily accessible on the EC's website. This is, therefore, to assure everybody that the February 2011 elections are on course and will be free, fair and credible.

Once again, my government appreciates whatever role and contribution you are making to transform your mother country for the benefit of our people.

Wish you fruitful deliberations.

For God and my country.

May God bless you all.

I thank you.

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