LAUNCH OF THE FDC PARTY POLICY AGENDA UGANDA’S LEAP FORWARD
Ladies and gentlemen in your respective capacities
On behalf of the members and supporters of the Forum for Democratic
Change and many Ugandans across this country who share the values and
aspirations that we stand for, I welcome you to this historic event when we
launch our policy agenda for triggering Uganda’s Leap Forward.
Let me first of all acknowledge with gratitude and respect the distinguished
service of my predecessor Col.(Rtd) Dr. Kizza Besigye and all of you
leaders of our party for your collective and individual contribution in building
Party Chairperson, Madam Joyce Sebugwawo, thank you for your
continued leadership and stewardship.
Thank you Madam Secretary General and your team and everybody else
that has worked tirelessly to organize this event.
Yesterday March 8, 2015 was the International Women’s Day. As a Party,
we celebrate the great contributions of all Ugandan women.
Those who till our farmlands, those who teach our children, those who
spend sleepless nights looking after the sick, those who serve in our
military, at home and abroad, those who serve in our police, prisons and
intelligence services and all those running businesses, or work in our public
service and the mothers of the Nation.
The values that I espouse are an outcome of the nurturing of my mother. I
would not be what I am if it was not for the sacrifices and huge influence
that my mother had on shaping my character. A tough disciplinarian, hard
working woman of impeccable values, she was. May God rest her soul in
Thank you Anna Adeke for honoring this occasion and for your wonderful
speech. There perhaps could be no better way to celebrate the Ugandan
women and our young people than listening to you share their dreams and
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Today, I am profoundly humbled and honored to present to you our Party
policy agenda for triggering Uganda’s Leap Forward.
Uganda’s Leap Forward is our contract with you the people. It is a contract
to create a new dispensation and build a new foundation for creating
opportunities for all and bring about boundless opportunities and shared
Today’s challenges are clear and we are conscious of the burden and task
We have had over two decades of jobless growth. Our country is among
the 50 most corrupt countries out of 176 countries ranked in the Corruption
Our country is ranked as the most corrupt among the partner states of the
East African Community according to the East African Bribery Index (2012).
And the Global Integrity Report 2011-12 noted for a second year running
that corruption is the biggest obstacle to doing business in Uganda.
Parents across this country work very hard and sell the last of their assets
to send their children to school only for them to graduate into a jobless
Official statistics tell us that poverty levels have gone down but out of every
100 Ugandans, 40 of them live on the edge and stand the risk of slipping
back into poverty.
For over half a century since Independence, we have failed to restructure
our curriculum to respond to the needs of a changing global economic
architecture, the digital age and growing competitiveness.
The introduction of Universal Primary Education in 1997 has been hailed as
a signature accomplishment of the ruling party. But we know that out of the
2.1 million children reported to have been enrolled in Primary One, only
485,703 sat for Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE). Since then, an
average of 1.5 million children remain unaccounted for every after 7 years.
How is it possible that we keep on congratulating ourselves for improving
education service delivery and yet we cannot provide a decent learning
environment, much less provide a decent meal to our Nation’s children?
I can go on and on to highlight the many challenges and failures but this is
not for this moment. Today, we want to share with you a policy package
that will help create a new momentum to grow the economy, create decent
jobs and expand opportunity for every Ugandan.
FELLOW COUNTRYMEN AND WOMEN
Let me state clearly that we by no means discount the progress that we
have made as a country. And we acknowledge each of our leaders who
have made a contribution towards this progress, however minimal.
However, we believe that the foundation beneath whatever progress has
been made in the last 52 years is unstable and could give way when
subjected to more stress.
The limits of the current leadership of our country need not be emphasized.
More importantly, the limits of the policies that are being pursued are quite
Economic growth has slowed down over the last 5 years, income inequality
is on the rise, levels of unemployment are frightening, the delivery of public
services has almost ground to a halt, and we are experiencing systematic
As a people, we can choose to remain in a state of denial. However, the
idea that a new leadership with a new set of ideas, a new commitment and
greater discipline is needed cannot be overemphasized. We need to trigger
and sustain a new momentum to spur inclusive growth, eradicate extreme
poverty that is trapping over 40 percent of our people in perpetual
vulnerability and create a new optimism for our young people.
Today, I am greatly honored to present to you and the people of Uganda
our Four Point Action Plan to trigger Uganda’s Leap Forward to a future of
opportunity and shared prosperity.
A plan to invest in our people and expand opportunity for every
A plan to re-engineer new sources of growth and create well-paying
and decent jobs for our people;
A plan to strengthen our national security, create a new leadership
and strengthen our public service; and
A plan to build people-centered regional integration and global
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
For the FDC, human development is more than the mere production of
goods and services, or the building of roads, bridges and dams, or even the
rise or fall in gross national revenue and per capita income.
It is about creating an environment in which citizens can develop their full
potential, lead productive lives in line with their needs, interests and our
collective national aspirations.
This is why our plan to invest in our people and expand opportunity focuses
building a people-centered and resilient economy built around
economic freedom, free enterprise and strong worker and social
giving every Ugandan child an opportunity to learn, compete and
succeed here and abroad;
building a functional, well-resourced public healthcare services
system and establishing an effective national healthcare insurance
policy that cares for all our citizens; and
a systematic plan to accelerate the formation and retention of skilled
The overriding goal of our economic policy is to eradicate extreme poverty
and accelerate the attainment of shared prosperity for all Ugandans, with
particular emphasis on the 40 per cent of our fellow Ugandans who are at
the bottom of our economic strata.
In pursuing this goal, we will guarantee economic freedom as the basic
foundation for innovation and economic justice. Through appropriate
policies and legislation, we will ensure descent conditions at the work place
for Ugandan workers. We undertake to establish a strong social security
safety net that protects every citizen.
We have outlined a package of policies that will dramatically improve the
investment climate for both nationals and foreign investors. These include
strengthening the rule of law, creating a skilled workforce, a strong
monetary policy and, a systematic and comprehensive investment
programme in transport and energy infrastructure.
I can promise you fellow Ugandans that Government under FDC will not
stop at complaining about bureaucratic red tape, as is the habit of the
incumbent ruling party. The FDC will promptly and expeditiously fix the
problem, reduce the cost of doing business and get businesses growing
We believe that strong local governments are the foundations for building
local economic and social infrastructure, improving public service delivery,
and increasing demand for accountability and good governance.
That is why we will dedicate a significant percentage of the national budget
towards local government funding through discretionary funding
We have outlined an education policy that puts emphasis on the collective
responsibility of the state, parents and guardians in ensuring the delivery of
quality and rewarding education for our children.
Our education policies and measures will tremendously and systematically
transform our Nation’s education system to create the next generation of
quality human capital needed to trigger Uganda’s Leap Forward, while
giving all Ugandan children an opportunity to fulfill their dreams and
contribute to growing our economy and strengthening our democracy.
FDC led Government will adopt policies and measures that give honor to
our Nation’s teachers who do a heroic job operating at the frontline of our
In particular, we are committed to establishing a remuneration and
compensation system that honors the long hours that our teachers put in,
build their pride and reward them for the sacrifice they make in the
classroom every day.
We have outlined a coherent policy agenda to address our health
challenges including the commitment to revamp our Nation’s referral
We will invest in inspiring our health workers to create a new generation of
a health workforce that takes pride in patient satisfaction.
We will realign the health sector governance institutions to remove
duplication of effort, improve intra-system accountability and resource local
governments to take responsibility for ensuring effective delivery of health
services at the local level.
We have outlined a plan to re-engineer new sources of growth and
stimulate job creation. The policies of the Government under the ruling
party have positioned Uganda as a big, unregulated consumer market
buying almost everything “made outside” from tooth picks to textiles and
Our economy currently operates like a big supermarket run with a kiosk
In sharp contrast, the FDC-led Government will adopt and pursue game
changing policy initiatives to trigger the Leap Forward towards building an
economy that is inclusive, a society of entrepreneurs and innovators, and a
country that operates at the frontlines of the regional and global economy.
That is why our policies will focus on putting women and the youth at the
heart of our economic transformation agenda. Our policies will shift women
and youth programming from the current patronage system.
The FDC-led Government will adopt very specific indicators for measuring
the success of our youth and women intervention programmes.
Our goal is to see that on an annual basis, there is:
Systematic and measurable reduction in youth unemployment;
Increase in youth and women owned enterprises through credible
and affordable credit schemes among others; and
Creation of business incubation programmes for women and youth
We have outlined a set of policies and actions to boost export growth by
systematically investing in the agricultural sector and protecting local
agribusiness from harmful competition in contrast to the firefighting policy
approach of the ruling party. This will include fast tracking the
establishment of a national bank for agricultural transformation as the epicenter
for agricultural finance delivery.
Consistent with our focus on the agriculture sector, we will adopt policies
that create more responsibility and accountability in the governance of our
natural resources. This will include a transparent and accountable regime
for utilization of revenues from oil and other mineral resources.
The policies of the NRMO have suffocated our local governments and
defaulted on the grand bargain set out in our Constitution. Power has been
systematically grabbed from them, they are chronically underfunded but
they are blamed for the failures of the regime.
Our policy package also focuses on strengthening our local government
system and making them the epi-centres of local economic development
and the effective delivery of public services to Ugandans. .
Our targeted investments in science and technology, the present and future
cities programme and a dedicated National Venture and Innovation Fund
will help create a new momentum and trigger a new wave of growth that is
inclusive and sustainable.
Thirdly, we have outlined our policy agenda to strengthen our national
security, law and order while building a credible public service leadership
that is patriotic, time conscious and confident.
Our policies will build credible leadership in the public service and
strengthen our national security, law and order. We will focus on building
the institutions of state, securing their autonomy, giving them the
confidence to implement national programmes, rewarding them for
exemplary performance and continuously holding them accountable for
We are conscious of the fact that a full transition of our military into a fully
modernized force subordinate to civilian authority is still constrained by an
incomplete political transition process.
The FDC-led Government will build on the progress made to date by
focusing on strengthening our military in the areas of:
information acquisition and processing,
guidance, energy and materials,
environment, systems and modeling, and
prioritizing the welfare of the men and women in uniform.
I had the honor and privilege to serve in our Nation’s military and I salute all
our officers and men for their sacrifice in securing our countries borders
and executing missions abroad. Our military has educated and well trained
officers and men who have the capability to fully professionalize when the
right political conditions are in place.
Government under the FDC will create the political environment in which
the military and political leadership respect each other, and the military is
fully subordinate to civilian authority.
Military service is the highest form of sacrifice a person can offer for his or
her country. Abusing the military to serving individual interests is the worst
degradation that can be visited on the men and women in uniform.
The military needs to be honored and as such it is our intention to create an
environment that honors and gives dignity to the men and women while in
service and upon retirement.
Government under the FDC will never tolerate a situation where our retired
service men and women have to trek distances to come to our parliament
as the only means to secure their welfare and a dignified retirement.
Our defense, security, law and order policy seeks to deal with newly
emerging but also ever changing security threats including terrorism and its
root causes such as widespread unemployment, poverty and
We will establish an independent judicial system that is anchored on the
rule of law, justice and the aspirations of our people. A police force that
works for our people by ensuring the police is properly resourced and the
welfare of police officers is given utmost priority.
Our investments in the judiciary and police seek to align these institutions
to play a frontline role in confronting systemic and emerging challenges
such as corruption, new forms of crime such as human trafficking, human
sacrifice and drug abuse.
Finally, we will refocus Uganda’s leadership and engagement at the
regional and international level to be anchored on national interest and
guided by our role as a regional actor. All our foreign missions will be
required to report on their work by reporting on our level of influence, how
capable we are in penetrating regional and global markets, and how many
jobs are created by our actions.
As I conclude, let me point out that going forward, we will have to
continuously and systematically confront the culture of handouts that has
been created by Mr. Museveni’s regime survival politics. This culture is
having a negative impact on the National psyche.
While on the surface, his actions may be seen as acts of magnanimity,
underneath, it can only be motivated by evil intentions.
There is a relationship between self-confidence, productivity and
innovation. Our people have systematically been broken in spirit and have
been turned into beggars in mentality. This dangerous trend has had direct
negative consequences on the productivity of our people. We have to roll
back this mentality if our policies are to work and our actions to have full
People need to be given a hand up on the ladder of economic success
rather than handouts. Shortcuts and quick fixes can never be an engine
for sustained, internally generated economic growth and social progress. It
can never create a society that is affluent and at peace with itself.
Indeed the outcomes of what Mr. Museveni has systemically created
through crushing the spirit of our people is a deep sense of hopelessness,
frustration and steadily boiling anger. This situation needs to be defused
before it boils over or explodes.
The tragedy of our current leadership is that they measure progress by the
failures of the past rather than the promise of the future. The challenge of
our time is not so much about whether we haven’t made progress but that
the current regime measures progress in relation to where we are coming
from rather than where we should be.
For example, we can appreciate that our revenue collection has increased
from US$40 million in 1986 to approximately US$2 billion. What we should
be doing is to measure our progress by what we have done with this
increased revenues and where we should be if a significant part of it was
not stolen or siphoned off through patronage schemes and corruption.
However, within the same period, countries like Singapore, Malaysia and
Vietnam have made significant leaps in terms of their GDP. Even Vietnam
which had an equally devastating conflict like our country was able to
increase its GDP 9 times to reach US$124 billion compared to Uganda
which increased its GDP on 5 times to reach US$17 billion over the period
Because of leadership that is too much focused on our past failures as a
measure of success, we are now stuck with two decades of jobless growth.
Massive unemployment have effectively excluded our young people from
participating in the economy. Eighty three percent of our young people
We have spent billions of taxpayers’ money to build a network of health
centres but we are unable to staff them and equip or supply them with
The introduction of UPE, which is billed as a signature policy
accomplishment of the NRM, has been mishandled. If government is telling
the truth about the enrollment figures, then between 1997 and 2014, at
least 16,913,105 children are unaccounted for since they never registered
for PLE; completion rates remain dismal and the low transition rates are
An estimated 40 percent of our people remain in conditions of perpetual
vulnerability and continuously hang on the cliff facing the reality of falling
into poverty at the slightest shock.
The NRM regime has created a plethora of anti-corruption institutions and
formulated a multitude of anti-corruption policies and laws but is incapable
of implementing them. Institutionalized corruption, stealing and political
corruption are standing in the way of our progress.
Fellow Ugandans, you know we deserve better than this.
Today, I am asking of each one of you to break out from the box confining
us to the status quo of economic, social and political stagnation.
Like we read in the book of Deuteronomy 1:6-8, for eleven months, the
children of Israel had lived at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Eleven months had led
them into a state of complacency. They had grown accustomed to their
surroundings like many Ugandans have grown accustomed to the ways of
the current regime. But of course they had not reached the Promised Land.
And God told them, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break
camp and advance. See I have given you this land. Go in and take
Through this policy agenda, we make a contract with you the people of
Uganda. We will offer a brand of leadership that respects our citizens,
upholds values of honesty and respect for human dignity, and respect for
public office and public property.
Let me assure you that we will be uncompromising in pursuing the policies
and actions outlined in this policy agenda. Most importantly, we will
continuously hold ourselves accountable to all of you Ugandans as we
work together to create the necessary conditions for Uganda’s leap
Fellow countrymen and women, we, like the children of Israel have been
led into a state of complacency for close to 30 years. We have stayed on
this mountain for too long and we must reject the status quo. Jobless
growth; a broken healthcare system; an education system that does not
prepare our children to compete regionally and globally; a patronage
system that has reduced many of our people to beggars; and a business
environment that is biased against those who play fair; and a corruption
machinery that is robbing our country to the marrow.
The Forum for Democratic Change is giving you a roadmap to a future of
greater promise, opportunity and shared prosperity. We have the will, the
resolve, the commitment and the discipline to work for the future that we all
We have stayed too long at this mountain. This is our time to break camp
and advance to the future of promise and shared prosperity.
God bless you.
For God and my Country
Down load the policy agenda here:FDC Policy Agenda-FINAL-PRINTED