|By Sunday Geoffrey Kisangara from the UGANDA RECORD|
The last Presidential elections were a complete waste of time, a total farce and a waste of resources. With Yoweri Museveni safely holed in State House for another five years, Ugandans who thought that things would change on the ground can go and hang. This is the same old Museveni and its business as usual in Kampala.
In Museveni's Uganda where prices have dramatically increased and the government says they have nothing to do with that increase, we can all laugh as well as get angry with them for the worst is yet to come. Museveni and his NRM have no economic solutions to these price increases.
While it is agreed that a rise in global oil prices played a part in the rise of our food and transport costs in Uganda, I wish to point it out here that the biggest single contributor to our pricing problems is the complete lack of government strategic planning, poor government policies and high taxes.
In Uganda where the population (demand side) has been growing over the last 10years at a rate of about 3.4% and food production (supply side) been growing at a rate of about 2.3%, it is not a coincidence that food prices are skyrocketing. We had no planning in place over the years on how to reverse this deficit. We have been living with this time-bomb for as long as 20yrs in Uganda today.
All these growth rates were happening in the country where 80% of the population lives in the rural areas and is directly involved or employed in the agricultural sector. However, agriculture regularly takes one of the smallest slices of the country's budget yet Defence, Security and State House together take almost 48% of the entire national budget year on year.
Any sensible and competent government should have known that the demand of local foods in the country is outstripping the local demand for those very products. That should have galvanised the political leadership of the NRM to put policies in place that should have affected the supply side.
Ironically, we are now beginning to learn that for over five years State House has failed to account for the 300 million Ugandan shillings they took for poverty alleviation. This beggars the question: Why is State House taking funds for poverty alleviation and not some other government ministry? Out problems in the country, starts with Museveni the person and Museveni the head of state. His government pursues policies that are meant to sustain him in power at whatever cost and maintain his grip on the throats of every Ugandan. The NRM pursues policies that are not meant to help the poor or pull the poor out of their poverty graves.
In the last parliament alone, If we had facilitated and subsidised the local farmers to buy new improved seeds, fertilisers, tractor hires, provide facilities for irrigation in some areas as well as invest in research and development, sensitisation and education of these farmers, the supply of food in the country would have outstripped demand and prices would be low by now.
I am not surprised that many Ugandans are feeling the pain in their pockets due to increases in food prices and transport costs. Fuel prices have gone up. The government is refusing to help the people by reducing fuel duty instantly so as to provide a temporary respite to the struggling transport sector.
Now instead to tackling the problems at hand, Museveni and his NRM want to spend a huge $174 million of tax payers' money on the purchase of war planes. The rationale for such huge government expenditure is not backed up by facts on the ground.
As if that was not bad enough, Museveni and his NRM are now hell bent to ensure that the ordinary people don't demonstrate against these economic injustices this government has presided over for the passed 20years.
With the Walk-to-Work demonstrations being violently suppressed daily by a combination of the Army and police, innocent lives are being lost at the hands of this barbaric regime in Kampala.
Opposition politicians are being picked up daily and clobbered like petty criminals by the Museveni's brutal machinery simply because they are exercising their democratic and constitutional rights. It now looks illegal to walk on Ugandan roads. People like Kiiza Besigye, Norbert Mao and many others have already tested the menu on Museveni's military kitchen government.
Museveni clearly want show Ugandan that he is a determiner of life and death in Uganda. Innocent blood is being spilled every day, by the security forces on Museveni's orders, in the country as he suppresses peaceful demonstrations. What he forgets is that this in time will strengthen the resolve of Ugandans to demand that the regime be brought to account as we have witnessed in Northern Africa and in the Middle East.
Funny enough, any police or army officer who diverts from the official prescribed State policy of suppressing the wanainchi would be reprimanded, demoted or/and transferred. The boss of Jinja Road Police station is already a sacrificed lamb simply because he didn't follow the presidential order to clobber opposition leaders trying to walk on Kampala streets. By allowing the UPC boss Olara Otunnu to walk unimpeded, the Jinja Road Police Boss signed his own demotion and transfer instruments.
Such actions (as faced by the boss of Jinja Road police Station) should act as eye openers to independent minded security officers. It is time for any free thinking security officers to align themselves with the suffering majority rather than with the regime as they could well be indicted by the ICC soon.
Viva la Presidente.
Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch
Welcome to Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch Blog. Our objective is to promote the institutions of democracy,social justice,Human Rights,Peace, Freedom of Expression, and Respect to humanity in Rwanda,Uganda,DR Congo, Burundi,Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya,Ethiopia, and Somalia. We strongly believe that Africa will develop if only our presidents stop being rulers of men and become leaders of citizens. We support Breaking the Silence Campaign for DR Congo since we believe the democracy in Rwanda means peace in DRC. Follow this link to learn more about the origin of the war in both Rwanda and DR Congo:http://www.rwandadocumentsproject.net/gsdl/cgi-bin/library