Speech by the President Elect at the Swearing-In Ceremony, Kololo Kampala

Saturday 12th May 2012

Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government who have come to be with us today;

Your Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Uganda;

Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda;

Your Lordship, The Hon. The Chief Justice of the Republic of Uganda;

Rt. Hon. Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly;

Your Excellencies Heads of Delegations;

Rt. Hon. Deputy Speaker of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda;

Your Ladyship, the Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of Uganda;

Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda;

Your Royal Highnesses, the Traditional Leaders;

The Religious Leaders;

Hon. Ministers;

Your Excellencies High Commissioners and Ambassadors;

Hon. Members of Parliament;

The NRM fraternity in the whole Country;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

First of all, I congratulate all the Ugandans for the peaceful elections held on the 18th of February, 2011 and other elections held since that date.

Secondly, I thank the Ugandans for overwhelmingly voting for me with 68.3%, the NRM Members of Parliament with 73%, District Leaders (LCV) with 79% Sub-County leaders (LCIII) with 71%. I also congratulate the opposition parties on the seats they got in Parliament, the District Council seats they got and the Sub-County positions they won.

The landslide win by the NRM should inform all and sundry that the people of Uganda are, politically, mature people.  They are able to disregard lies put out by opportunists and stand on the truth.

In the last 45 years, the NRM position is well known.  We reject reactionary ideology and stand for progressive ideas.  We reject sectarianism as well as parochialism and stand for nationalism.  We reject puppetry and stand for the genuine independence of Uganda and other African countries.  We reject stagnation of the Ugandan society and stand for its rapid transformation into a modern society. 

In spite of the initial scarce resources, we have made huge advances in the last 25 years.  We now have 8 million children in the primary schools, 1.5 million children in the secondary schools, 120,000 students in the universities and 53,729 in tertiary institutions.  In 1986, the comparable figures were: 2.5 million children in the primary schools, 190,000 children in the secondary schools, 5,000 students in the university and 27,205 in tertiary institutions.  We only had one university.  We now have 28 universities (both public and private).  In a period of almost 90 years, between 1894 when the British colonized Uganda and 1986 when the NRM took over Government, we had only 28,000 telephone lines.  We now have over 14 million telephone lines.  I can continue to bring out the NRM achievements in every sector.  However, these examples suffice to highlight this point.

The NRM stands for Pan-Africanism, which translates into economic and political integration.  We are very happy with the market of 130 million people of the East African Community.  We are happy with the COMESA market of over 400 million people.  We are also working for the political integration of East Africa together with our partners of Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

The massive victory by the NRM in the February 2011 elections, therefore, was a triumph of progress and even revolutionary ideology over reactionary ideology.  It was a triumph of Uganda’s patriotism over sectarianism and opportunism.  We won overwhelming victory in all the regions of Uganda.  Since creation, this is the first time Ugandans have coalesced into such a consensus.  I would, therefore, call upon those who have been pushing sectarian ideas and pushing opportunism to join the national consensus instead of being desperate and embarking on disruptive schemes.  Those disruptive schemes will be defeated just like the previous opportunistic schemes have been defeated.

Uganda is now on the verge of take-off to become a middle income country by 2016.  In order for Uganda to accelerate her speed to a middle income status, we need to resolve one issue.  Just as you cannot build a house without a foundation (musingyi, oruhazo), you cannot build a modern economy without modern infrastructure.  By this, we mean: electricity, roads, the railway, piped water, telephones, ICT network, media, as well as social infrastructure in the form of schools, colleges, health units, etc.  The importance of these elements of infrastructure is two fold.  Social infrastructure produces healthy, educated and skilled human resource.  The economic infrastructure, on the other hand, is very useful for the economy because it lowers the costs of doing business in the economy and, therefore, enterprises become more profitable.  This, in turn, attracts more enterprises to Uganda which create more jobs, widens the tax base, etc.

The area of telephone infrastructure has been catered for by the private sector as already indicated above.  In the area of piped water, at least, all the major towns are properly served now.  We need to expand piped water to the trading centres and the villages.  Using a Chinese loan, we have built the fibre optic cable for ICT network.  The private sector and, to some extent the Government, are handling well the issue of media infrastructure.  The Government has long handled the issue of the education infrastructure.  We now have 148,720 classrooms, built with permanent materials, compared to 21,959 classrooms in 1986.  Similarly, the Government has been handling the issue of health infrastructure.  There are now, for instance, 166 Health Centre IVs compared to1986 when there was nothing. 

It is, therefore, the main cost pushers in the economy that need to be addressed.  These are electricity, roads and the railways.  These have been badly addressed, not only here in Uganda, but also in other African countries.  There is a useful measurement I have been using to highlight the big mistake Africa has been finding itself in.  This is kilo watt hour (kWh) per capita.  Countries like the USA have got a kWh per capita of 12,500. Uganda, on the other hand, has got a kWh per capita of only 70.  In 1986, it was 21 kWh per capita.  Many African countries have, similarly, very low kWh per capita, even those that have been peaceful all the time since independence.  I blame the technocratic staff for this mistake.  I also blame the 6th Parliament for part of this mistake.  Since I discovered this mistake, I have pushed for fast movement on this issue.  By next year, when Bujagali and other mini-hydro stations are finished, Uganda’s kWh per capita will be 100.  By 2016, when Karuma, Ayago and Isimba are ready, our kWh per capita will be 500.  To be sure that we do not waste any more time, we are going to use our own money for much of this work.  If private capital is available on terms that will ensure low tariffs for consumers and there will be no delays in the execution of projects, then, we shall welcome it.

You can see what a big struggle we have to make up for lost time.  Using largely our own money, we shall also work on the roads, on the railway, on A’ level free education, university student loans as well as on scientific innovations and research as per our manifesto.

To achieve these goals we need discipline and the rule of law.

Regarding the current short term problems of increased fuel prices and increased food prices, we are looking at the option of buying in fuel bulk and also the option of approaching the Government of Southern Sudan.  I am told that buying in bulk lowers prices.  I am also told that fuel in Juba is cheaper.  In fact, some of our people from West Nile are already using that fuel, especially diesel.  I intend to approach the Government of Southern Sudan to see the possibilities.  In the next 3 years, we shall be using our own fuel after the building of the Refinery is finished.  We are also analyzing the price of fuel up to Eldoret.  Is it all justified?

On the issue of food, predictions are showing that this is a temporary problem.  We are likely to have a bumper harvest.  The prices will normalize.  In the short run we are going to encourage micro-irrigation based on individual farms.  The Ministry of Finance will encourage the importation of the necessary equipment for micro-irrigation – sprinklers, hoses, etc., or making them here, locally.  Farmers can, however, use very simple methods, such as the plastic water bottles.  You fill a bottle with water, make a small hole in the bottle and put it next to the plant.  The plant will grow very well.  We also need to emphasize the use of fertilizers.  All these harvests we achieve, we attain without the use of fertilizers – 10 million metric tones of bananas, 4 million bags of coffee, etc.  With fertilizers, we are going to produce much more.  I am, however, told that fertilizers should be used carefully because they can also spoil the soils.  The increased demand for food in the world and the region is good for the farmers of Uganda and for the economy of our country.  We, however, need to work out mechanism of stabilizing food prices for the urban-dwellers and salary-earners in towns.  All this should be done without interfering with the foundation projects I have talked about above – electricity, roads, the railway, education and health.

Our research scientists are struggling with solutions for the banana and coffee wilt.  I demand that the scientists put out a programme of action through the Ministry of Agriculture.  On the issue of mega-irrigations in Karamoja, the Mount Elgon area, the Rwenzori area, the plan is that the programmes will be handled in the 3rd or 4th year of this Government.  Our emphasis, for the first two years, will be on electricity, roads, the railway, scientific research and innovation, A’ level education for free and the student loans for universities.  The Minister of Finance is also working on the question of the issue of silos for storage.  In all these projects, we are going to use our own money.  If we can secure a soft loan from the funding Agencies, we would start on the mega-irrigation schemes soon.

On the health, we are continuing to crack down on the theft of drugs from health centres by health workers.  In the medium term, we shall look at the question of salaries for doctors and health workers.  Again, without interfering with the foundation activities, we will be happy to raise the salaries of health workers and other scientists.

I thank all the Ugandans who supported us in the last elections.  Continue to support the NRM.  My Government will, however, serve all Ugandans as always including those who did not support us.

I thank you very much.


Kololo   -   12th May 2011

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