THE UNTAPPED POTENTIAL OF TESO

By Professor Venansius Baryamureeba, PhD

A Keynote Speech delivered on 18th September 2017 at the 4th Teso Development International Conference hosted by Iteso Welfare Association UK (IWA UK) at the University of East London, London, United Kingdom, 18th—23rd September 2017
Conference theme- Teso: Past, Present, and Future.


Abstract  

Teso faces several development challenges including poor standards of education, poor health services, persistent famine, and higher rates of poverty. The sub-region also faces persistent natural hazards including floods and environmental degradation. These conditions have made the sub-region lag behind the rest of Uganda.

However, despite these development challenges, the sub-region has several opportunities including natural resources, infrastructure, strategic geographical location and talented people, which if exploited could catapult the region forward.

In the 2016 Uganda national elections, Prof. Baryamureeba (www.baryamureeba.ug) was one of the 8 presidential candidates. During the campaign, he traversed the country to understand the problems affecting the people. Given his vast experience, Prof. Baryamureeba will speak about, “The Untapped Potential of Teso”. Professor Baryamureeba will examine the development of Teso from the 1990s to demonstrate how it is lagging behind other sub-regions of Uganda. He will highlight missed opportunities and potential of the sub-region. He will argue that Teso possesses resources and potential that can transform it and that its people are key to its development. 

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LETTER OF MOTIVATION FOR THE POSITION OF VICE CHANCELLOR OF MAKERERE UNIVERSITY BY PROFESSOR VENANSIUS BARYAMUREEBA

My name is Venansius Baryamureeba. I was born on 18th May 1969 in Ibanda District, Uganda. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Master of Science in Computer and PhD in Computer Science among other qualifications. I am a Professor of Computer Science, a researcher, consultant, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and accomplished businessman.

I am motivated to apply for the position of Vice Chancellor of Makerere University because of the following reasons:

As per Section 31(1) of the Universities and other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 as amended, the Vice Chancellor is responsible for the academic, administrative and financial affairs of the University.  I have performed these responsibilities before with distinction having served as the 14th Vice Chancellor of Makerere University (2009-2012) and Founding Vice Chancellor of Uganda Technology and Management University (2012-2015). Prior to serving as Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, I also served as Dean of the Faculty of Computing and IT (2005-2009) and Director of the Institute of Computer Science (2001-2005) both at Makerere University. In both positions, I was responsible for the academic, administrative and financial affairs of the Faculty/Institute. As Dean/Director, my service to the University was exceptional and the results/ outputs are well documented in the Institute/Faculty/University annual reports for the respective years and I have briefly documented them in my Curriculum Vitae (CV) as well.

With over 14 years of senior management experience and over 16 years of governance and boardroom experience, I am one of the most experienced University leaders in the region. This wealthy experience and exposure explains why I have been sought after to serve on various boards. I am currently Chairperson of the following boards/councils: Makerere University Business School Council; St. Augustine International University Council; UTAMU Board of Directors/Trustees; Busitema University Appointments Board; and Uganda Business and Technical Examinations (UBTEB) Board. In the past, I have also served as the Chairperson of the following boards/councils/bodies: The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Innovation Council; the Regional Universities Forum (RUFORUM); Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA); the Uganda Vice Chancellors’ Forum (UVCF); Research and Education Network of Uganda (RENU); Makerere University Senate and UTAMU Senate among others. I have also served as a member of the following boards/councils: African Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD); National Council for Higher Education (NCHE); Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB); Makerere University Council; Busitema University Council; Uganda Technology and Management University Council; Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) Senate; and Busitema University Senate among others. My detailed work and boardroom experience is contained in my CV. Through my service on agencies such as the National Council for Higher Education and the Inter-University Council for East Africa, I have gained experience in monitoring quality in higher education institutions. Under both NCHE and IUCEA I served on several visitation committees in the capacity of Chairperson, Team Leader or Member to institutions in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to monitor and ensure quality standards. This experience will definitely come in handy in ensuring that the quality of Uganda’s ivory tower, Makerere University, is never compromised.

Besides the above boardroom and leadership experience, I have received several awards and recognitions at national, regional, continental and international levels. The details of these and much more are documented in my CV as well.

As a Former Vice Chancellor and Professor of Computer Science, I have demonstrable experience and expertise required to promote and oversee teaching and learning, research and innovations and knowledge transfer partnerships and networking, which are the core functions of Makerere University. I ably understand the roles of the different players in a University since I have served in all capacities. This experience in management and governance is very important for the smooth running of a large University since the Vice Chancellor must work, interact and relate well with the different players, stakeholders and officers of the University.

As a sign of confidence and recognition of the wealth of expertise shown above, I have often been tasked to participate in recruitment and selection of chief executives of universities and other agencies. This is also a clear testimony of my stature, calibre and standing in society. I was a member of the Search Committee for the Chancellor of Makerere University (2007), Vice Chancellor of Busitema University (2007-2008), Vice Chancellor of Mbarara University of Science and Technology (2014), and Deputy Vice Chancellor of Busitema University (2012).  I was Chairperson of the search committee for the Deputy Vice Chancellors of Mbarara University of Science and Technology (2014). I chaired the Administrative Board of IUCEA that searched for and recruited the Executive Secretary and Deputy Executive Secretary of IUCEA (2010). I also chaired the Board of UBTEB (2015, 2016) that recruited the Executive Secretary and the Deputy Executive Secretaries of UBTEB among others. These and other responsibilities speak volumes about my suitability to serve as a rational leader in a critical position of Vice Chancellor of Makerere University.

I am very passionate about higher education and I would like to make more contribution to higher education in Uganda through serving as the Vice Chancellor of the largest and premier University in Uganda. Makerere University transformed into a collegiate University on 30th December 2011 under my leadership as Vice Chancellor but shortly thereafter on 31st August 2012 my term of office came to an end. At the time when I handed over the office of Vice Chancellor, Makerere University was still undergoing change management. Once an institution has gone through the four stages of change management (overcoming resistance, engaging employees, implementing change in phases, and communicating the change), a Chief Executive should focus on building a foundation for success despite the fact that the four (4) stages are repetitive. Five years later, Makerere University is still building a foundation for the success of constituent colleges. So I am more than willing to complete what I started since I was the main driver behind a collegiate University, which is definitely the way to go for a prestigious university. I acknowledge that a lot needs to be done to ensure that Makerere University operates smoothly in a fully-fledged collegiate system. There is still need to push for devolution of powers and functions to the colleges from the centre. Thus by end of 2018, under my leadership, I would like to pledge that I will work with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that Makerere University will have delegated the academic, administrative and financial affairs of the University to the constituent colleges in conformity with the delegation levels stipulated in the Makerere University constituent colleges statute. A reasonable proportion of revenue generated at each college from tuition fees, research overheads and services shall remain at the college to support college activities. Also after more than 6 years of implementation of a collegiate system, there is need to review/assess the structures under each college to cater for uniqueness and optimise efficiency and operations in each college. If given an opportunity to serve Makerere University again, this review/ assessment shall be completed before end of 2018.

At Makerere University,  the Vice Chancellor is the Chief Public Relations Officer of the University. Throughout my tenure as Vice Chancellor, I ably took on this significant role of Chief Public Relations Officer. In fact, when I took over as Vice Chancellor of Makerere University in 2009, I played a key role in  revamping the public relations function of the University. I started regular monthly press conferences where we would inform the public about current news and developments in the University. We also held special press conferences whenever there was need. Later alone, we created positions of communication officers in all colleges and this greatly improved public relations of the University. Generally, we were able to greatly improve the University relations with government, development partners, the media and the general public. Also the good publicity led to increased support from government and development partners to Makerere University towards research and innovations. After leaving Makerere University in 2012, I started UTAMU and served as Founding Vice Chancellor and Chief Public Relations Officer of this young university and within a space of less than three (3) years, UTAMU became a household name and grew from 40 pioneer students to over 1000 students. I have also engaged successfully in public relations for other agencies/ boards/ councils/ organisations where I have served as Chairperson.

Byvirtue of my training in computer science at master’s and PhD levels, I bring on board a lot of expertise in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the academic, administration and financial affairs of the University including financial management and academic records. I have experience in successfully managing tele-education programs under the Pan African E-Network Project that was funded by the Government of India and the African Union. As Director of the Institute of Computer Science and later as Dean of the Faculty of Computing and IT, I managed the development and successful delivery of e-learning courses in the institute/ faculty but also extended training in e-learning across the University. In the period 2009—2012, as Vice Chancellor, I did promote and implement e-learning across Makerere University. During my tenure as Vice Chancellor of Uganda Technology and Management University, I worked with my robust team to fully computerise the academic, administrative and financial affairs of the University. As a Consultant, I also have been involved in information systems development, deployment and integration in several African countries. My expertise and leadership will greatly enable Makerere University to fully migrate online all the services including teaching and learning, library services, academic records, financial records and student and staff services. If given this opportunity to serve, I shall ensure that Makerere University is fully computerized to enable transparent, efficient and effective service delivery.

I am also happy to note that I have expertise in resource generation and mobilisation. I have demonstrable experience in resource mobilization from donor communities, government and generation of Appropriation in Aid (AIA). During my tenure as Director and Dean at Makerere University, I mobilised a lot of financial resources for my Institute/Faculty. During my tenure as Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, I mobilised resources for the University from the Government of Uganda, development partners and foundations among others. As Vice Chancellor of Makerere University (2009-2012), I supported the implementing units to submit project/research proposals and this enabled the Planning and Development Department, Directorate of Research and Graduate Training and the Colleges (Schools, Institutes and Centres) to win and manage several project/ research grants on behalf of the University. As Vice Chancellor of Uganda Technology and Management University (2012-2015), I did mobilise vast resources from development partners, international agencies and the government of Uganda. I plan to aggressively spearhead the generation and mobilisation of financial and other resources for Makerere University to enable it fulfill its vision and mission.

I have proven experience in planning and development of educational infrastructure. In 2005, I spearheaded the construction of the largest computing building in Africa, Block B with 12,500sq metres of space worth over US$ 20 million. On 28th January 2009, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, officially opened the building. The Block B building was funded from internally generated funds in the Faculty of Computing and IT. It was equipped and furnished with grants from the Dutch Government and other development partners. I had previously spearheaded the construction of the Faculty of Computing and IT Block A building with 2500sq metres of space, which was funded by the Royal Kingdom of Norway and was commissioned on 28th January 2004 by the Norwegian Ambassador to Uganda. Thus, in a space of 8 years, the Faculty of Computing and IT under my leadership increased its educational infrastructure by 15,000 sq. metres. Through projects mainly funded by the Dutch government, the Faculty of Computing and IT was able to equip its various laboratories in both Block A and Block B with thousands of computers and other specialised laboratory facilities. During my reign as Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, I was the Overall Project Coordinator of ADB V Project– Makerere University Component. I was part of the three-person team that wrote the initial project concept of ADB V. This was a 5-year government initiative coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Sports and spearheaded at Makerere University by the Vice Chancellor and funded through the ADB V loan worth US$30.04 (UA19.4) Million contributed towards improving the infrastructure and research capacity of Makerere University. The centralized facilities/ buildings under the ADB V Project were launched by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and President Mwai Kibaki at Makerere University Freedom Square on 24th January 2012. It was on this same day that the two Presidents officially inaugurated the Constituent Colleges.

I have a lot of experience in investment projects.  Over the next 5 years, I plan to work and mentor teams towards having state of the art infrastructure including buildings and facilities to support the core functions of teaching and learning, research and innovations and knowledge transfer partnerships and networking. We will also work towards strengthening the Investment arm of the University to undertake projects such as Makerere University Teaching Hospital, Makerere University Bank, Makerere University Hotel, Makerere University Shopping Mall, Makerere University Insurance Company, Makerere University Travel Agency, Makerere University Student Centre and Makerere University Fuel and Service Station among others.  The investment arm of the University will also be supported to take lead in the development of the University land in partnership with the private sector. I intend to focus on strengthening the established Makerere University Foundation and Makerere University Holding Company to effectively oversee all companies established by Makerere University.

My private sector experience (as a Consultant, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman) enriches my profile especially in performance based management, customer care, customer responsiveness and introduction of business models within the University especially in the operations of the constituent colleges. I intend to support and mentor colleges to focus on their niche areas and generate/ mobilise additional financial resources for their budgets.

I also bring on board relevant consultancy experience needed by the 21st Century Vice Chancellor. For instance, I am a Team Leader/ Lead Consultant engaged by the East African Community (EAC) through East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) for the period 8th May– 26th June 2017 to carry out an assessment of Knowledge and Technology Transfer institutions and identify potential Regional Centers of Excellence in Knowledge and Technology Transfer in the EAC. As part of this consultancy, we shall also develop regional guidelines on Intellectual Property Rights.

I have experience in talent identification and nurturing of innovators and incubation of start-ups. Currently, I serve on on the The National Science, Technology and Innovation Programme (NSTIP) Evaluation Committee that provides seed grants to innovators among others. In 2008 with support of USD 300,000 from Rockefeller Foundation, I was able to start a National Software Incubation Centre at the School of Computing and IT, Makerere University. The students were mentored by professionals from industry in Uganda and international organisations such as IBM, Cisco and FedEx who developed problems in form of projects for the students to undertake. The facility not only provided the students with technical skills, but also with other skills like entrepreneurship, marketing, and product branding among others. During that time, we graduated at least 100 Certified Software Engineers/ Developers every six months. Most graduates of this programme are self employed with well established businesses. Once appointed Vice Chancellor, I shall link such innovation and incubation facilities with similar entities in the developed world and venture capitalists in places like Silicon Valley. In a space of five (5) years, Makerere University should be able to buy equity in its own promising start-ups and be able to own shares worth at least USD 1 billion by 2022.

I have vast knowledge and experience in the various ranking criteria for higher education institutions. During my tenure as Vice Chancellor (2009-2012), I did set the foundation for international quality assessment at Makerere University and since then the rankings of Makerere University improved from being among the top 60 Universities to the top 10 Universities in Africa by the time I left Makerere University. So we shall build on the current state of ranking to make it better. I shall be able to work with the rest of the University community to ensure that we improve on the various parameters used in the rankings to ensure that Makerere University becomes the leading institution in research and innovations in Africa.

As a leader, I have demonstrable experience to turn my rivals/ competitors into a winning team. One of the most revered American Presidents, Abraham Lincoln after winning the Presidency did appoint his rivals in cabinet and his successes are documented in a book, ‘’Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln’’. When I was appointed Vice Chancellor in 2009, I did work very well with my competitors in the position of Vice Chancellor of 2009 and I plan to do the same once I am appointed Vice Chancellor of Makerere University this time round.

I have a proven track record of relating well with government. I have continued to provide advisory services to government ministries, departments and agencies. Within the Ministry of Education and Sports, I currently serve on boards in key institutions like UBTEB, Makerere University Business School and Busitema University. In the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations, I serve on on the The National Science, Technology and Innovation Programme (NSTIP) Evaluation Committee. I continue to advise Uganda Bureau of Statistics and Ministry of Information and Communications Technology on matters of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). I have maintained good relations with key persons in the three arms of government. This will enable me to lobby for Makerere University’s interests and financial resources in form of increased government subvention and projects.

I am a results oriented leader and manager. This can be confirmed by several achievements at Makerere University when I served as Vice Chancellor (2009-2012) and those of the Institute of Computer Science/Faculty of Computing and IT in the period 1st July 2001 to 30th June 2010 as summarised in my curriculum vitae, annual reports of the Institute/Faculty/University and Makerere University website among the many sources. Also the annual reports of Uganda Technology and Management University since 2012 attest to the fact that I am a results oriented leader and manager.

As I conclude, I would like to note that Makerere University aspires to become the leading institution for academic excellence and innovations in Africa. For this to be possible, it needs excellent leadership. I have a proven managerial record in handling of the academic, administrative and financial affairs of the University. I have a private sector orientation that has enabled me to integrate business models in the management of the affairs of the University. I have a proven fundraising/resource mobilisation record. I am ready to work towards increasing the University’s resource envelope through lobbying, fundraising and resource mobilisation in order to improve on staff welfare, teaching and learning, research and innovations, knowledge transfer partnerships and networking among others. I have proven experience in enabling partnerships with the Government of Uganda, development partners, donors, alumni, friends of Makerere University and the general public. I possess international stature credentials and recognitions and I am an eminent Professor in my own discipline. More so, Makerere University is my alma mater and previous employer, which only gives me more zeal to serve it to the very best of my ability.  As Vice Chancellor, I shall spearhead the provision of innovative teaching, learning, research and services responsive to national and global needs. I am therefore more than willing and able to serve as the next Vice Chancellor of Makerere University (2017-2022) and make Makerere University the leading institution for academic excellence and innovations in Africa. AS WE BUILD FOR THE FUTURE.

Signed:

Professor Venansius Baryamureeba, PhD
APPLICANT FOR THE POSITION OF VICE CHANCELLOR OF MAKERERE UNIVERSITY (2017-2022)

Rampant Serious Crimes Should be a Cause of Concern

By Professor Venansius Baryamureeba

The general public is very worried about the rising crime in Uganda. Unlike in the past, petty crimes like stealing of chicken, goats, cows, farm produce etc. are on the rise among the rural communities. This may be attributed to the growing idle and redundant youth in rural communities as a result of the high unemployment rates. While the causes of crime are complex, some of the key reasons for crime today include: poverty, the need or want for money, feelings of anger, envy or vengeance, the decay of family values, parental neglect, the desire for control, the need to hold and retain political offices and other executive offices, infidelity, low self-esteem as well as alcohol and drug abuse. In some cases, people commit crimes for self-serving reasons. At other times, crimes are committed to do harm to others. Violent crimes, such as murder, assault and rape, may also result from bad subconscious attitudes or pent-up anger. Other violent crimes are planned out for personal gain or vengeance. A person may kill someone over a significant feud or disdain. So what are the main causes of crime in Uganda and what should the government do to curb rising crime rate?

Poverty is a major cause of crime in Uganda. Most Ugandans are driven to great lengths of desperation and frustration by poverty. It does seem that the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer every passing day. Poverty contributes to robbery because people find it easier or quicker to steal than to go through the process of getting and keeping a job. Some less educated people feel hopeless about finding work and steal out of a sense of need. The abolition of graduated tax was the genesis of lazy citizens in Uganda. This has been worsened by commercialisation of politics (handouts from politicians) that has turned citizens into beggars. Even communal work has died out. Many villagers don’t work at all. The working culture is dying out hence leading to a poorer population that is very prone to hunger and starvation. Poverty reduction strategies are well known world over and the government of Uganda should aim at reducing poverty among the rural poor. There is need to focus on increasing household income especially in rural areas.

Increase in population is a serious cause of crime. The increase of population triggers off a dynamo effect in society and this leads to the creation of more people with some form of frustration or resentment towards society as such. The government must put in place measures to control population growth and family size. Uncontrolled family sizes have accelerated poverty among the rural people. Without controlling family sizes, Uganda getting into the middle income status can only be a dream at least in the foreseeable future.

Politics is often a cause of crime. It is seen that many political associations all around the world have their own mafias running which they use to manipulate and subjugate people. Political power is often misused to take advantage of weaker groups and people and the dissidence that arises out of such situations often forces the victims to resort to crimes. Politics is more related to crime on a much larger and a much heinous level than anything else. So there is need to preach political tolerance by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) government if the political and democratic gains of NRM since 1986 are to be sustained. Just like in the past, the indicators are that once President Museveni leaves power there is likely to be some kind of political revenge. Hence the need to build tolerance, trust and cohesion among the main political actors.

Regionalism is a cause of crime and unrest among people. Such people that harbor such regionalist feelings often go to great lengths to commit crimes against other communities. It is often that a victim of such regionalism gets influenced and enters the world of crimes. The government must make an effort to address unequal distribution of political power, wealth and other resources among the regions of Uganda.

Crime especially murder is on the rise due to mainly unfair rulings, unfair investigations of crime, conflicts or disagreements. Victims of unfair or incorrect rulings from court often cause people to enter a life of crime. Similarly, due to a corrupt investigation system, victims of unfair crime investigations also cause people to enter a life of crime. It often happens that a person is a victim of chance and happens to fall into crimes. Besides that, people are also often falsely accused of committing crimes which end up in a court conviction. Serious disagreements or conflicts within power centres usually lead to assassinations of persons on orders of their colleagues, what is commonly known as an inside job. Jails or prisons often make worse criminals out of people because of the conditions that exist there. Corrections anywhere do not involve major rehabilitation for criminals and more often than not they end up being thrown in overpopulated jails full of people who are either victims or perpetrators of crimes more serious than their own. The declassification of people in prisons is also a major cause of crime creation. There is need to promote a just and fair judicial system.

Discrimination based on race is a serious issue all around the world. In Uganda racial crimes are steadily on the rise either due to poor laws or poor enforcement of laws. For example, why should Chinese and Indians be doing casual jobs that can easily be done by Ugandans? Some Ugandans whose employers are from these communities complain of racial exploitation and poor pay. This is creating a lot of resentment and hatred that is leading to crimes. The government needs to enforce the law and ring fence certain businesses and jobs for locals. Already around Kampala unexplained murders of some Indians and Chinese have been reported, which could be attributed to racism.

Internet, TV and radio inspired crimes are on the rise. TV violence has gone up to staggering levels and it does not help when people are influenced and try to emulate such acts of violence. TV violence is a major cause of crime especially among younger people that are unable to differentiate between fiction and reality. Since TV has become such an integral part of people’s lives now days, it is important to draw clear lines between what is real and what is not. Internet violence and crime are on the rise. Many kids today are connected to the internet. On the internet, kids and adults meet all sorts of people that end up luring them into committing crime. Sometimes, radios air content that inspires people to commit crime. There is need to identify and evaluate mitigation measures for Internet, TV and radio crimes.

There are a lot of things that go on in families that often cause people to get into a life of crime. Here again, there are a lot of different conditions that lead a person into crime. Lack of faith or strong religious beliefs is driving people into crime. Abuse during formative years from family members and other such acts also instigate a person into a life of crime. People who are neglected by their families or communities and do not get the love and attention that they desire also get into criminal activities. Family violence and other issues are also related to crime in many ways. Children exposed to violence in their homes may grow up with subconscious thoughts that compel them to impulsive reactions when angry. In essence, some crimes carry forward through generations in families. There is need to revise the community spirit of raising up children where children used to belong to the community and it was the responsibility of the community to raise up a child.

Depression and other social and mental disorders are causing crime. People with depression and grave mental disorders should be treated before their tendencies and ailments get out of hand. A person under depression or some other serious mental disorder can also easily cause harm to themselves. In Uganda going for mental health checkup is a taboo. Thus, there is need to create awareness about depression and mental health issues.

Drugs are a bane, no matter how we look at them. Persons addicted to drugs are unable to support their addiction and more often than not they end up in a life of crime to fuel their habits. It is a known fact that drug addicts end up committing crimes to raise money for their habits. The government needs to regulate the use of drugs especially among the youth in urban areas.

Infidelity among couples and traumatic separations and divorces are increasingly becoming sources of crime. There is need to intensify counseling services in all vulnerable communities and families.

So generally speaking, individualists tend to focus on individual weakness or lack of 'values' as the reason why people commit crimes. Individualists feel that society needs clearer rules and strong punishments to minimise criminal behaviour. On the other hand, many people feel that in order to tackle crime, the social conditions which create the conditions for crime need to be addressed. So, better housing, better employment opportunities and a more equal society will make crime less of an attraction. If people are in work and are content with life, they will be less motivated to break the law. The author was a candidate in the 2016 Presidential Election.

THE CURRENT SUCCESSION DEBATE SHOULD BE REFOCUSED: UGANDA IS NOT A MONARCHY

By Professor Venansius Baryamureeba

I have keenly been following the succession debate and I must admit I find its focus rather disappointing. In my view, the succession debate instead of focusing on who will succeed President Museveni should focus on who will be the likely presidential candidates from the various political parties and organisations and independents. It is from these that we should expect to get a successor to President Museveni in accordance with Article 103 (4) of the constitution. This is because Uganda returned to a multiparty system of governance in 2005 and as a result, the Presidential elections of 2006, 2011 and 2016 were held under a multiparty system of governance where the different political parties and organisations fielded Presidential candidates. We have also had Independent Presidential Candidates. Uganda follows a Presidential system and for one to be declared President Elect, he or she must get more than 50% of all valid votes cast at the election.

As per article 105(3) of the constitution, the office of the President can only fall vacant on the expiration of the period specified in this article; or if the incumbent dies or resigns or ceases to hold office under article 107 of this Constitution. Thus at any one time, the different political parties and organisations must have potential candidates within their rank and file ready to assume the office of the President in accordance with the constitution. This is what succession should be about, i.e. grooming potential presidential candidates within political parties and organisations and outside political parties in the case of independents.

So let us take a quick look at the two major political parties/ organisations namely the National Resistance Movement Organisation (NRM-O) and the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). To what extent is NRM-O and FDC prepared to produce the next President of Uganda whenever Gen Yoweri K Museveni is no longer eligible or available? NRM-O as a party in power is expected to use key positions in the executive arm of government such as the position of the Vice President, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs as grooming grounds for an NRM-O presidential candidate to succeed President Museveni. Among the ministries, I have singled out foreign affairs due to its role in overseeing foreign policy and relations. Also the position of First Lady in some countries has been used to groom presidential candidates. So who currently holds these positions? The Vice President is HE Edward Ssekandi who is 74 years old; The Prime Minister is Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda who is 69 years old; the 1st Deputy Prime Minister is Rt. Hon. Gen. Moses Ali who is 77 years old; the 2nd Deputy Prime Minister is Rt. Hon. Kirunda Kivejinja who is 81 years old; The Minister of Foreign Affairs is Hon. Sam Kutesa Kahamba who is 68 years old; and The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports is Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni who is 68 years old. Considering the age limit requirement of a President not being above 75 years of age as per article 102 (b), this means that President Museveni would not be eligible to contest for President in 2021. Among those mentioned above, it would only be Rt. Hon. Rugunda, Hon. Kutesa and Hon. Janet Museveni that would meet the age limit requirement but they would also be in their 70s. One thing to ponder on is whether or not Ugandans would be ready to elect a President in his/her 70s after President Museveni is no longer eligible.

Probably, let me extend the succession net wider. Is NRM-O grooming Rt. Hon Kadaga,60 the Speaker of Parliament or Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, 51 the Deputy Speaker of Parliament as the person to succeed President Museveni? Will the next President come from Vice Chairpersons of NRM-O i.e. Haji Moses Kigongo, Amb. Matayo Kyarigonza, Hon. Mike Mukula, Haji Abdu Nadduli, Hon Sam Engola, Mr. Godfrey Nyakana or Mr. Simon Peter Aleper? Your guess is as good as mine. NRM-O needs to start having an internal succession debate to prepare for the eventuality of illegibility or unavailability of Gen YK Museveni to contest for the Presidency of Uganda.

Let us take a look at FDC. FDC is a party in opposition. So in terms of succession, you would expect that the persons holding the positions of Party President, Secretary General, Leader of Opposition in Parliament would be breeding grounds for FDC Presidential candidate? FDC Party Constitution leaves it open to any members of FDC to contest for the FDC Presidential Candidate position. This was proved in 2015 when most people expected Gen. Mugisha Muntu, the Party President to be the flagger bearer and instead Col. (Rtd.) Kizza Besigye emerged as the FDC flag bearer. This begs the question; is FDC using its party structures to groom presidential candidates?

With all honesty, when one assesses the two leading political parties in Uganda, you don’t see any deliberate strategy to groom successors to President Museveni within these two parties. So what this implies is that anybody who wants to be President needs to find a mechanism of introducing himself or herself to the public/ the voters. So that when the time comes, he or she can present himself or herself to the Ugandan voters and be voted President through adult suffrage either as a party candidate or as an independent candidate. A person like Odrek Rwabwogo who is not yet 50 wanted to become NRM-O Vice Chairman (Western Region) but was blocked from contesting and now writes weekly articles in New Vision on Ideology. This is one effective way of introducing himself to the public. Before long, Odrek Rwabwogo will be very popular among Ugandans. So let more Ugandans continue to come out and make themselves known so that at the end of the day, Ugandans will have a wide choice for the person to succeed President Museveni.

The writer was a Candidate in the 2016 Uganda Presidential Election.