Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sebaana launches manifesto

Ssebaana’s 5-point manifesto
Thursday, 22nd December, 2005

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for presidency: John Ssebaana Kizito addresses a rally at Kalisizo new Taxi park in Rakai district recently
Democratic Party (DP) presidential candidate, John Ssebaana Kizito, on Tuesday launched his election manifesto and campaign platform. Cyprian Musoke transcribed his speech. Mr. chairman, dear friends: The rationale for my candidature is the long struggle that the Democratic Party has mounted since 1954. There are two reasons why we are in this race. I care about Ugandans. DP cares about Ugandans. Today we have launched a concrete programme of action. Our programme has its basis in the real conditions of Uganda. These conditions we understand. For that reason, let me tell those who do not yet know that we are facing an emergency of epidemic proportions. Let me state some of the symptoms of this grave emergency. Half the country is crippled by war. We have a distorted budget in which State House gets more resources than agriculture. We have a shambolic democratic process. The Executive is unbridled; the Parliament is spineless. The judiciary is besieged by guns. Our people face unprecedented poverty. We have growth at a cosmetic level, but even the Government reports acknowledge that poverty has increased. Our young people face an alarming level of unemployment. Many young people are resorting to extreme anti-social behaviour to make ends meet like prostitution, armed robbery, lewd conduct like kimansulo and petty crime. As if the problems of endless war, poverty, disunity and tyranny are not enough, we now face an international climate in which Uganda is isolated. On Monday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Uganda must pay compensation to the Democratic Republic of Congo for looting during the 1998-2003 war. Congo will seek up to US$10b in compensation. The court also found Uganda responsible for human rights abuses. DR Congo has accused Uganda of invading its territory and massacring civilians. The Government says its actions were meant to protect national security along its borders. Nevertheless, I think we went too far and now we are going to pay a heavy price. ICJ president Shi Jiuyong told the court that Ugandan troops had “created an atmosphere of terror pervading the life of the Congolese people”. Congo was looted, but who knows where the wealth has gone? How can we pay for something we don’t know about? Further more, our country whose budget is 46% dependent on donor support is facing steep decline in the level of support. The donors are alarmed at the lack of commitment to a democratic process. They are worried at the neglect that war-affected areas face. Corruption in government is astronomical. On Monday, Sweden cut over $8m in aid to Uganda. Sweden is only following in the footsteps of other countries including the UK, Ireland and Norway. Serious questions face our country. The Democratic Party proposes to tackle these questions using a two-pronged approach. We pledge to democratise the process of policy-making and execution. Secondly, we pledge to be result-oriented. We shall not execute policies haphazardly. In our manifesto, you will find the measures we propose to take to respond to national problems. Our opponents have made many promises. The question is, given their track record, can they deliver? DP also has a track record — a record of suffering without bitterness. This makes us the best party to reconcile this divided, wounded and bleeding nation. We have a track record of resilience in the face of many odds. We know what it is to struggle for long. Others only talk about protracted struggles. We know what it is. In 1954, our founders resolved that within a decade, the era of British colonialism must end. In 1960 Ben Kiwanuka, became the first Prime Minister of Uganda and gave the final push that evicted the British colonialists. Today, I am proud to proclaim myself and countless others, heirs to that heroic struggle. And so like our fore bearers in 1954, today we announce our resolve to bring real change to our country. We say ‘enough is enough’, NRM must go. For several decades, DP has continued its struggle. The pillars of this struggle are an unshakeable belief in the values of truth and justice. Indeed, we can claim to have been and continue to be the conscience of the nation. Our main weapon is brain power. DP has been the chief witness to our national anguish. While others seek to treat symptoms, DP will sort out the real malaise. That is why I say to you, vote DP it is trusted. Shun NRM and Museveni, they cannot be trusted. DP is strong and can deliver. We have many people of high qualifications. These are the people who will ensure a sound policy. Our political ground is based on the contours of Uganda. That is why we have a strong grass root structure. There are those who mistake our goodness for weakness. The fact that we are good does not mean we are weak. We believe that power must be exercised by civilian authority. The culture of trusting successive bullies must stop. We pledge to build a national army that can outlast regimes. In the course of his campaign, we will restore hope that the Government can be good. The Museveni regime has seriously undermined the faith people have in the Government. The reason for this crisis of confidence is simple. The Museveni regime operates like something akin to a terror machine. Something like organised crime. We will denounce militarism and those obsessed with militarism. We will condemn corruption in all its shapes and guises. We have a sound policy framework. But we will not stop at having a sound document. We will conduct a string campaign to ensure that we will be in a position to execute our excellent ideas. To ensure victory, we have a solid and foolproof campaign plan. We have a strong national team to execute the plan. Today is an important milestone in our struggle to set a new course. We cannot change our past, but we can change our future. Uganda is a country gifted by nature, but cursed by greed, corruption and despotism. We are ready to challenge these evils and ensure a better future for our children and their children. Today, therefore, marks the beginning of the redemption of our country from these evils. The capricious and malevolent forces that dominate the country now stand warned. DP is here to change things for the better. DP has the ideas, will and credibility to offer a new deal for Ugandans. This election is about trust. Many manifestoes will be hurled at you. But in my opinion, as far as the NRM and Museveni are concerned, the question is whether they can ever be trusted again. Museveni has grave difficulties keeping promises. His legacy is a one of broken promises and betrayed trust. In 1986, he claimed that he would only rule for four years. It is now 20 years. Museveni is like Oliver Twist; always asking for more. In 2001, he claimed he was seeking his last term only to turn around and defile our young Constitution by manipulating Parliament to lift term limits. Recently, he claimed not to have anything against Dr. Kizza Besigye only to unceremoniously arrest him on dubious charges. Museveni has now turned Besigye into a ball in a game of political ping-pong, in which he is being tossed between both civil and military courts. He pledged to professionalise the army. What do we see today? The army is personalised. As for me and the DP, we pledge to preside over a government that is honest. A government that delivers what it promises. We have core promises whose central thrust is to move this country from poverty to prosperity. We stand by the following five pledges: - Quality education for all. - An end to the cycle of destructive wars. - Support for our neglected farmers - New business opportunities for our children - Affordable health care for all families. We will ensure that Uganda develops its human resources. We will not fight insane wars. In fact, we will fight only one war - the war against poverty. We will support farmers by giving them affordable and accessible capital through an agro-industrial bank. We will create new opportunities and fight to eliminate joblessness. Recently, I was in Lira and learnt that there is a corner in the town called jobless corner. This is unacceptable. We will change that. How can we compromise with joblessness? We will make sure that health care is within the reach of all Ugandans. Cost-sharing, scarcity of drugs and poorly motivated medical personnel have turned health care into a nightmare. We pledge a universal insurance fund to deliver health care and make it accessible and affordable. We can and will win. DP is the hope of Uganda. We have the record, credibility and ideas to redeem Uganda, trust us. Vote me. God bless you all.

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