In Summary
  • The issue: Development.
  • Our view: The government needs to put our money where its mouth is and redirect the country from politics top development.

There is too much going on. Shortly after President Museveni got re-elected in February 2016, a number of individuals started talking about removing presidential age limits.

What started as a joke eventually came to fruition at the end of last year when Parliament voted to remove age limits from the Constitution, opening the way for President Museveni to run again in 2021 or 2023, whenever the next election will be held.

At least half of last year was spent on the debate and manoeuvres to remove age limits, with very little else going on in government. So much money and energy were committed to that political project.

Without giving the country a breather, politicians are at it again, this time talking up the chances of holding a referendum on whether the presidential term should be extended to seven years from the current five. Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana has told this newspaper that Cabinet resolved to have the referendum happen before November. There is also a chance that LCI and LCII elections will be held this year, meaning this will likely be another year of politicking.

Huge sums of money will be required to conduct the elections, especially the referendum, and of course there will be immense disruption as citizens change to electioneering mood and emotions boil.
This will all be at the expense of the good things that President Museveni promised to do in his manifesto for the 2016 elections.

When Mr Museveni swore in his team of ministers mid-2016, Mr Frank Tumwebaze, the ICT, Information and National Guidance minister, said each minister would be given terms of reference and clear deliverables against which his/her performance would be measured.

The public has yet to be updated on how this promise went and how the ministers’ performance is measured, apart from the talking shop that is the evaluation workshops routinely organised by the Office of the Prime Minister.

We know, of course, that one can point to a move in one direction, say a semblance of growth in coffee exports here, or a road that has since been launched in one part of the country.
But, overall, can we confidently say that the government is doing what President Museveni said he would do if he was re-elected? The short answer is “no”.

We have given so much lip-service to our aspiration to becoming a middle-income country or better. The government needs to put our money where its mouth is and redirect the country from politics top development.

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