My 12 Issues Programme

Dear Ugandans

The 2016 Presidential election offers us all an opportunity to choose progress. As a new face in the politics of the presidency, I breathe new life into our beloved country. The 21st century is upon us and with it, comes new challenges which call for new and dynamic leadership, with the capacity and attitude to do things different so that our economy and our people can boom and compete favourably globally.

Fellow countrymen, now is the time for us to break camp and move forward. Now is the time for us all to choose smooth transition, action and progress. Now is the time for new generations to be part of decision making. I would like to emphasize that Uganda now requires new direction, new ideas, new perspectives and new leadership, which I bring on board. Today I am proud to be counted as one who is ready to lead Uganda into a new era. Indeed now is the time!

While working within Uganda’s economic means, I believe that prioritizing better would help deliver our country from huge debt burden while delivering the key needs of our population. My priorities in my term of office as President of Uganda, 2016-2021 are spelt out under my “12-issues programme” which focuses on the following key areas:

  • Education Services
  • Health Services
  • Job Creation
  • Agriculture
  • Governance
  • Foreign Policy
  • Infrastructure
  • Minimum wage
  • Industrialisation
  • Defense and Security
  • Zero Tolerance to Corruption
  • Religious institutions, Culture and State

Education Services

Education is about giving all people the knowledge and skills they need to be active citizens, participate successfully in the economy and fulfill themselves as individuals. Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) programmes though were well intended are free of knowledge and skills but rather more about quantities. Public and private institutions right from primary to university lack sufficient qualified teachers, teaching aids and infrastructure including laboratories. The salaries in the sector are very low and unattractive and cannot motivate teachers to concentrate on the teaching profession.

The main problem is insufficient funding to the sector.

I shall ensure:

  • Increased funding to the sector to at least 20% of the national budget
  • Review of policies and laws in the education sector
  • A full revamp of Uganda’s education system to ensure that schools and institutions help students to reflect on modern industry practices, have a strong focus on competency-based training methods and provide students with robust practical experience.
  • A review of teachers’ salaries to encourage more people to join the profession but also motivate teachers to achieve quality products
  • Complete retooling and upgrading of teachers at all levels
  • Recruit more teachers at all levels of education to improve the teacher to student ratio
  • Set up of specialized teacher training institutions
  • An improvement of vocational and technical institutions by providing an enabling environment like infrastructure including laboratories and workshops
  • Government provides at least 90% of primary education, 80% of ordinary level secondary education, at most 50% vocational/ technical and high school education and 30% of University education.
  • Educational loans are provided to higher education students to enable them complete their studies
  • Minimum standards at all levels of education are enforced for both private and public institutions to assure quality education.

Health Services

A healthy workforce is vital to a country’s competitiveness and productivity. Poor health leads to significant costs to business, as sick workers are often absent or operate at lower levels of efficiency. Investment in the provision of health services is thus critical for clear economic, as well as moral considerations. Advancing human development requires, first and foremost, expanding the real opportunities people have to avoid premature death by disease or injury, to enjoy protection from arbitrary denial of life, to live in a healthy environment, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, to receive quality medical care, and to attain the highest possible standard of physical and mental health. Therefore, there is need to strengthen the healthcare systems in the country. Uganda’s health sector is ailing because of mainly insufficient funding.

For 2016-2021, the focus on health services will look at:

  • Allocation of at least 16% of the national budget to the health sector because of its strategic importance
  • Investing in the national health system that includes rehabilitating national and regional referral hospitals, community hospitals and health centres.
  • Investing in the latest medical equipment, theatres and laboratories
  • Reviewing of remuneration of personnel like doctors, nurses and other health professionals.
  • Recruiting more health professionals especially doctors to improve the doctor to patient ratio
  • Implementing internationally accepted measures for controlling population growth
  • Implementing a National Health Insurance scheme that covers all citizens.

Job Creation

Investing in employment is crucial for sustainable development and poverty reduction. Without new and better jobs, we run the risk of increasingly divided societies where the poor do not benefit from growth, leading to social discord and instability. Unemployment and lack of social protection are compounded by large informal economies, where workers earn very little or are underemployed.

My plan is to work towards:

  • Allocating at least 6% of the national budget to Trade, Job creation and Industry
  • Setting up a Youth Development Bank to offer low interest loans to youth with extra ordinary start up ideas
  • Achieving skilled workforce through improving education sector
  • Promoting business incubation and putting in place a framework to support startups
  • Promoting the setting up of venture capital funds to support startups
  • Creating a favorable regulation environment and reforming the tax system to support new players in job creation.
  • Steering more students into technical and vocational institutions to promote skills development
  • Providing technical support to the informal sector with the aim of enabling them formalize their businesses
  • Helping small business to tap into regional markets
  • Creating a national jobs database to help monitor employment levels
  • Putting in place a research and development fund to support new businesses

Agriculture:

Agriculture is the backbone of the Ugandan economy. In rural areas, agriculture is the source of livelihood for 70% of the people and on average it contributes over a third to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Agriculture is particularly important for women. Women provide 60-80% of agricultural labor and in many Ugandan societies have primary responsibility for growing the household’s food. They also take a large role in small-scale food processing and marketing.

As a country, agriculture is of great importance and requires key attention from policy makers. In my government, we intend to achieve the following as far as agriculture is concerned:

  • Allocate at least 11% of the national budget to Agriculture, Water and Environment
  • Establish an Agricultural Development Bank to finance farmers with affordable and handy credit services
  • Increase investment in the mechanization of agriculture
  • Create links between farmers and strategic markets, both local and international
  • Ensure farmers have access to quality inputs and agricultural extension services
  • Set up cooperatives right from grass root level to facilitate easy mobilization of farmers
  • Invest in research and development in agriculture to enhance productivity and quality
  • Promote value addition of agricultural produce by developing and supporting agro-processing initiatives

Governance

Governance determines who has power, who makes decisions, how other players make their voice heard and how accountability is rendered. Good governance is in fact a prerequisite for peace and development. Ultimately, the application of good governance serves to realize government and societal goals. The five widely accepted principles of good governance are:

Legitimacy and Voice

Participation – all men and women should have a voice in decision-making, either directly or through legitimate intermediate institutions that represent their intention. Such broad participation should be built on freedom of association and speech, as well as capacities to participate constructively. Consensus orientation – good governance should mediate differing interests to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interest of the group and, where possible, on policies and procedures.

Direction

Strategic vision – leaders and the public should have a broad and long-term perspective on good governance and human development, along with a sense of what is needed for such development. There should be also an understanding of the historical, cultural and social complexities in which that perspective is grounded.

Performance

Responsiveness – institutions and processes should try to serve all stakeholders. Effectiveness and efficiency – processes and institutions should produce results that meet needs while making the best use of resources.

Accountability

Accountability – decision-makers in government, the private sector and civil society organizations should be accountable to the public, as well as to institutional stakeholders. This accountability should differ depending on the organizations and whether the decision is internal or external. Transparency – transparency should be built on the free flow of information. Processes, institutions and information should be directly accessible to those concerned with them, and enough information should be provided to understand and monitor them.

Fairness

Equity – all men and women should have opportunities to improve or maintain their well- being.

Rule of Law – legal frameworks should be fair and enforced impartially, particularly the laws on human rights.

Separation of powers - Separation of powers is a political doctrine of constitutional law under which the three arms of government (executive, legislature, and judiciary) are kept separate to prevent abuse of power. Also known as the system of checks and balances, each arm is given certain powers so as to check and balance the other arms of government. The way to safeguard against tyranny is to separate the powers of government among three arms of government so that each arm checks the other two through checks and balances.

System of Governance:

In accordance with the Fifth schedule to the current Constitution of Uganda, Uganda will be governed under a federal system of government comprised of the following regional governments: the Eastern Region, The Central Region, the Southern Region, the Western Region and the Northern Region. These regions would be led by democratically elected Governors.

Generally, an overarching national government shall govern issues that affect the entire country, and the regional governments shall govern issues of local concern within the region. Both the national government and the regional governments have the power to make laws and both have a certain level of autonomy from each other.

In a constitutional monarchy like Buganda for example (by virtue of the October 18,1955 Agreement, which was signed by the Kabaka, His Majesty Edward Mutesa II and the Governor of Uganda Protectorate Andrew Cohen), the regional government would have the King as the Head just like the Queen/King is the Head of the UK. In other regional governments where there is more than one King, the people shall decide through a referendum on whether to have a rotational regional government King. The King will not have political and executive powers as these will be held by the elected Governor of the Regional Government. The King would undertake constitutional and representational duties such as acting as a focus for regional identity, unity and pride; giving a sense of stability and continuity; officially recognising success and excellence; and supporting the idea of voluntary service.

As part of the implementation of the regional governments, we shall ensure that there is an upper house of parliament, the Senate and the lower house of Parliament, the House of Representatives. The Senate shall mainly represent the regional governments, and serve to protect the interests of the regional governments and their local governments whereas the House of Representatives shall determine the allocation of national revenue between the levels of government.

My government seeks to promote good governance by ensuring the following:

  • Guarantee human rights for all Ugandans
  • Re-instate presidential term limits to 2 terms of five years each
  • Put in place institutional structures that can guide orderly succession of key offices like the one of the president
  • Reduce the parliament (house of representatives) to not more than 200 members and cabinet (upper house of parliament) to not more than 20 to cut down on the tax payers’ burden
  • Promote separation of powers and independence of the three arms of government (i.e executive, legislative and judiciary) to avoid abuse of power
  • Ensure that all members of Cabinet are not members of Parliament i.e. Ministers should be ex-officio members of Parliament
  • Strengthening and empowering respective government officers to ensure accountability and effective delivery of services
  • Reduce the age limit for key positions like president, judges, ministers to vacate office on attaining the age of 70 years to allow new generations’ access to the decision making arena

Foreign Policy

My government’s strategy in dealing with other nations will be informed by our desire to promote and safeguard national, regional and international peace and security and protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity. As a country, we shall support the work of regional, international and multilateral organizations in finding lasting solutions to conflict and terrorism activities for a free and secure world. Uganda shall respect territorial integrity and state sovereignty. Uganda shall only participate in military engagements outside its boarders if they have a backing of regional economic communities, African Union or United Nations, and most importantly if the engagements have parliamentary approval as is required by law.

My government shall ensure Uganda’s sovereignty, promote universal peace and foster better relations with our neighbors, the rest of the African continent and the world at large. In this regard, we will consolidate and strengthen Uganda’s foreign relations and diplomatic engagements with other countries as well as international and multilateral organizations at the regional, continental and international level.

In pursuit of Uganda’s socio-economic and political interests, my government shall promote sub-regional and regional integration and cooperation emphasizing intra-African trade as the cornerstone for Africa’s socio-economic and political unity. Through economic diplomacy, my government will strengthen and consolidate its trade and investment links with regional partners while exploring new trade and investment partners in order to expand access of Ugandan products to foreign markets, while at the same time increasing investments for our country.

Infrastructure

Extensive and efficient infrastructure is critical for ensuring the effective functioning of the economy, as it is an important factor in determining the location of economic activities and the kinds of activities or sectors that can develop within a country. Well-developed infrastructure reduces the effect of distance between regions, integrating the national market and connecting it at low cost to markets in other countries and regions.

A well-developed transport and communications infrastructure network is a prerequisite for the access of overall economic efficiency by helping to ensure that businesses can communicate and decisions are made by economic actors taking into account all available relevant information. A well-developed energy infrastructure is perquisite for industrialization and socio-economic development.

In regard to infrastructure, I am particularly concerned with the quality of overall infrastructure (transport, telephony and energy); quality of roads, quality of railroad infrastructure, quality of port infrastructure, quality of air transport infrastructure, available airline seat kilometers, quality of electricity supply, mobile telephone subscriptions, and fixed telephone lines.

My government proposes to allocate at least 6% of the national budget to energy and natural resources; 6% to transport and urban development and 3% to information, communications and technology. This budgetary allocation will ensure that we have quality infrastructure to spur socio-economic development.

Minimum Wage

In Uganda today, the fiscal sustainability of the wage-bill; attraction and retention of requisite skills to execute public service functions; productivity and performance; and transparency and fairness in remuneration setting and review, is seriously in question. Also the high cost of living has eroded the purchasing power of most workers e.g. doctors, teachers, nurses, police officers etc. As has been done in other countries including Kenya and Rwanda, we need to use the per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to determine the base remuneration for Ugandan State Officers. This approach, together with revenue to GDP ratio, is globally considered the most appropriate for Uganda based on the Constitutional principles of equity, fairness and fiscal sustainability among others.

To ensure faourable remuneration, my government will:

  • Put in place a Salaries and Remuneration Board to set salaries for all public officers
  • Through a consultative process with both private and public sector and using per capita Gross Domestic Product we will determine and set up a favourable minimum wage for Ugandan workers

Industrialization

Industrialisation is the process in which a country transforms itself from a primarily agricultural society into one based on the manufacturing of goods and services. As a country we have been at it for sometime but with little success.

We propose to accelerate industrialization by ensuring:

  1. An educated and skilled labour force;
  2. Non-restrictive institutional arrangements for the Finance of Industry and an Effective Banking System;
  3. Supportive Economic Institutions and Government Policy;
  4. An Efficient System of Transport and Communications;
  5. Increased Agricultural Productivity;
  6. Good Supplies of Fuel and Raw Materials; and
  7. External and Internal Security.

Defense and Security

Defense and security are key priority areas for any country. A country must assure its citizens of national security and be able to address security threats early including terrorism threats. We must also know that security facilitates economic growth, job creation and trade among others. The current government has been keen to acquire and maintain physical state of the art defense and security infrastructure. However, this is not all the country requires to be stable and secure.

My government intends to ensure security of all citizens of Uganda through:

  • Streamlining and equipping the security agencies in the country
  • Enforcing the use of cyber security to crack down crime and other security threats
  • Training security experts particularly in areas of computer security, information security and forensics
  • Promoting good neighborliness in the region
  • Ensuring a well educated and motivated force to guarantee security within the country, along its boarders and in the region.

In light of the importance of defense and security sectors, my government proposes to allocate at least 5% for defense, 5% for security and presidential affairs and 3.5% for internal affairs and the regional governments.

Zero Tolerance to Corruption

Corruption is a cancer that is eating up Uganda’s society. Annually, billions of shillings of Uganda’s tax payers’ money and millions of dollars from development partners are lost through corruption. The 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International ranked Uganda among the most corrupt countries in the world. The same 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Rwanda 55th with a score of 49%, Tanzania 119th with a score of 31%, Uganda 142nd with a score of 26%, Kenya 145th with a score of 25% and Burundi 159th with a score of 20%. Thus, Rwanda is ranked as the least corrupt country in East Africa. The 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index measured the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 175 countries and territories. The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

A country or territory’s rank indicates its position relative to the other countries and territories in the index.

Poorly equipped schools; poor health services; counterfeit medicine; poor infrastructure (like roads, railways and buildings); incompetent workforce and election rigging (elections decided by money) are just some of the many consequences of public sector corruption. Bribes and backroom deals don’t just fleece resources from the most vulnerable – they undermine justice and economic development, and destroy public trust in government and leaders.

Currently there is no political will to fight corruption.

My government proposes to:

  • Develop and Implement a system/policy of zero tolerance to corruption
  • Ensure that corrupt officials are punished severely and promptly to discourage the acts of corruption
  • Ensure the amendment of the law to ensure recovery of public resources from implicated corrupt officers
  • Empower offices/organs tasked with checking and fighting corruption like the offices of the Attorney General, Inspector General of Government, Director of Public Prosecution and Auditor General among others.

Religious institutions, Culture and State:

Since the enactment of the 1995 Uganda Constitution we have witnessed several incidents that have brought into question the relationship between the state and cultural institutions as well as the state and religious institutions. Recalling our history, which has been characterised by political and constitutional instability, there is need for politics, culture and religion to co-exist.

I acknowledge and appreciate that every region of Uganda has a cultural tradition handed down from past generations that must be preserved. As a matter of fact, a cultural leader acts as a focus for regional identity, unity and pride; giving a sense of stability and continuity; officially recognizing success and excellence; and in some cases supporting the idea of voluntary and community service.

On the other hand, the prophetic dimension of religious leaders demands that their voice be heard. God Almighty has appointed the charge of the human race to two powers: the religious institutions and the state. The religious institutions like Churches have a duty to form people’s consciences.

My government will be committed to support religious institutions like Churches not just to fulfill their duties and also defend them against their enemies. The state must recognize that it’s bound by the laws of God. Civil rulers have a duty to remember that God is the authority above them and that He rules over everybody on earth and in Heaven (Romans 13.1). It’s no wonder that Uganda’s motto is ‘’For God and My Country’’; a motto depicting a country founded and routed in God’s Principles.

My government therefore seeks to ensure that religious and cultural institutions undertake their mandates without interference from the state. In addition the inter religious council and all recognized cultural institutions should play a key advisory role embodied in the national constitution.

Signed:

Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, PhD
Presidential Aspirant (2016-2021)
For God and My country