Friday, March 27, 2015

Never underestimate UPDF's capacity in Uganda's transformation (New Vision, Uganda)

Some nearly 30yrs and this is what you tell us now?  Of course if you show up in all our villages in your military fatigues and your guns we will say hallelujah praise God. Did you know that we never had people go 2-3 days without food before you came along?  OR, did you know that most house holds had 3 square meals a day before you showed up? So exactly what so wrong that we had to improve and now bring in the military / army so that we can enjoy one meal a day or eat one meal in 3 days?  ARE you an idiot, imbecile, retard, moron OR all the above? New Vision, please stop treating #Ugandans like idiots.  AND this fool actually writes from Gulu where his people are being evicted off their land?  Look at what happened in Buganda - you stole their lands and now you come giving them bags of posho.  Tumanina.  If no one tells you, I will tell it to you.  I have never known hunger in Uganda as much as I have known it since you "liberated" us and now teach us about Wealth Creation.  Using what?  You even sold the bloody lake.  Yeah, we will never underestimate UPDF's capacity.  We all live in fear of them.  Congratulations for enslaving and imprisoning an entire country.  UPDF rules.  Hey, I even have an idea, can we send them to Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, oh year and Afghanistan.  They are so good they can fix everything pronto.
The writer is a former NRM senior mass mobiliser in Gulu/Pader

By Christopher Omara

The management and direct implementation of the poverty eradication campaign codenamed Operation Wealth Creation by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) should not be underestimated due to our own prejudices, attitudes and experiences with the army in the past.

Ugandans should not consider this unique initiative as a negation of political development in the country, but as an opportunity to exploit the organisational superiority and expertise of the army necessary for the country’s socio-economic transformation.

The military organisation is dynamic and responds to the changing conditions and needs of the people; and is endowed with great social cohesion, superior organisational & command structures with excellent civic-military relations skills, unquestionable accountability, mature political ideology, strict discipline, time-tested strategies and all operational actions are based on research/intelligence findings that should be measures of assurance to ordinary Ugandans.

While we initially reacted angrily to the UPDF takeover of the poverty eradication initiative, one of the major justifications of the army’s intervention in the management of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) was the gross mismanagement of the country’s resources by the civil servants as pronounced by President Yoweri Museveni on June 9 while officiating at the National Hero’s’ Day celebration in Mityana district, and that followed a similar statement made in January during celebration to mark the liberation day in Mayuge district.

Available information indicates that out of the over Shs 200 billion that government was releasing annually for NAADS beneficiaries, only Shs 95 billion was benefiting the farmers and the rest were mismanaged by the district NAADS officials and that is totally unacceptable to the revolutionary forces in Uganda.

Note that several promising and compassionate poverty eradication plans were initiated since the NRM government came to power in 1986, but without achieving the desired results as expected and the army was not directly involved.

In 1988, Government rolled out a World Bank project named Program for Alleviation of Poverty and Social Costs of Adjustment (PAPSCA), Poverty Alleviation Project (PAP) in 1993, later Entandikwa scheme in 1996, Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) in 1997, the Poverty Action Fund (PAF) in 1998 and Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA) and the Vision 2025, leading to the launch of Bonna Bagaggawale (Prosperity for All) in February 2007 that were all abused, just to mention but a few.  

Uganda socio-economic transformation has become a mirage as poverty, hunger, diseases, corruption and mismanagement of public resources prevailed since independence. We should all realise that Uganda is continuously changing, and change is a fact of life.

Certainly, it may create fears, threats, insecurity, challenges and possibilities. The army direct participation in the agricultural transformation is one of the inevitable changes in Uganda.

The UPDF has built appropriate capabilities to respond positively to the domestic needs and demands of the people, as well as the unavoidable global changes and challenges impacting on Ugandan economies and societies.

The state should continue to create the appropriate and conducive environment to enable the people to engage in various creative and productive activities in support of socio-economic and political transformation; formulating the appropriate policies and strategies, utilizing the appropriate technologies, skills and expertise to promote, achieve and consolidate the processes of building the appropriate capacities in Uganda that is rapidly changing.

I am convinced that neither can our perpetual economic crisis be overcome, nor can a bright future for the ordinary people see the light of the day unless the structures, patterns and political context of the process of socio-economic development are appropriately and radically altered in the best interest of Ugandans rather than an imposition by the external players.

Uganda should always be prepared to continuously re-assess itself and change itself in its missions, in its institutional arrangements and structures, in its human and leadership capacity, in its partners in development, as well as in its ideological orientations in order to respond effectively to the domestic needs, demands and aspirations of the people, the emerging changes and challenges, opportunities and possibilities.

In fact, the ability and willingness to change and adapt to the changes as rapidly as possible is the most important aspect of our rapid socio-economic transformation. We must always reflect on the past as a background to the future and also reflect on what kind of Uganda we want.

The UPDF has demonstrated their patriotism, capabilities and willingness to make contributions where the civilian authorities have betrayed people; and our collective support is paramount in achieving the desired positive changes in the economic lives of ordinary Ugandans.

The UPDF has legal mandate to participate in productive activities for the development of Uganda as enshrined in article 209(d).

Without addressing the dominant challenges and financial mismanagement within the civil service, a focus on eliminating the military alone in the socio-economic and political transformation of Uganda is quite inadequate and could tantamount to lack of patriotism on our side.

The writer is a former NRM senior mass mobiliser in Gulu/Pader

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