Thursday, November 04, 2010


Democratic Party presidential candidate Norbert Mao, who now heads the country’s oldest party, is next week scheduled to release a manifesto that will highlight plans for what he calls a “new political order for a new generation”.
Possibly the youngest leader of a political party, Mr Mao whose day job has been chairman of Gulu District will tout the document with DP’s pledge to live up to its promises as highlighted in the draft currently available.
Mr Mao is racing through eastern Uganda, reminding audiences that the old political order has failed the country – hence the call for a new beginning.

A quick look at the draft manifesto reveals highlights of an agenda which includes – in no particular order -- ensuring zero tolerance to corruption, creation of jobs for the large masses of the unemployed especially the youth, directing more resources to the agricultural sector and granting a federal system of governance.

Reviving education sector

Other key proposals are on how to revive Uganda’s deteriorating education system through motivation of teachers with high pay and promoting merit, establishing a full ministry for games and sports, preventing disease at community level, adequate funding for health care and religious institutions, introducing a minimum wage and promoting local industries and dialogue.
Mr Mao’s manifesto borrows portions from the document used by his predecessor at the DP helm, Mr John Ssebaana Kizito, who ran for office in 2006. Two days ago, Mr Mao announced his campaign team to be headed by Mr Ssebaana as the national chairman, Kyaddondo North MP Issa Kikungwe is the campaign manager.
“We shall ensure zero tolerance to corruption because only 40 per cent of our national budget is put to proper use; the rest of the resources land into the hands of corrupt officials. If we tighten our noose on corruption, the money in the budget will double for service delivery,” says Mr Kikungwe.
DP proposes to fully employ the services of existing anti-corruption institution. The focus on corruption dovetails with close attention being paid by all candidates to the vice which is costs Uganda hundreds of billions of shillings annually, let alone its adverse effects on delivery of social services. Mr Mao attacks the President for being unable to go beyond “blaming” top officials involved in corruption.
“We are also emphasising job creation because universities in Uganda produce so many people who have remained unemployed for a long time. The President’s business of giving out envelopes to some individuals has not helped either. With the available micro-finance institutions, they have not helped much. We want to change the people’s mind set and engage them in a gear which will propel them to action,” Mr Kikungwe said.
There is promise to immediately make available 5,000 jobs for the youth in the public service. At the same time, to put a cap on run-away public expenditure by abolishing the political office of Residence District Commissioner and their deputies which sucks hundreds of millions of shillings every month. He also promises to reduce the number of presidential advisors so that the resources currently spent on them are re-directed towards creating employment for the youth.
Mr Kikungwe said DP also “also believe sport is a process not an event. We must invest in it in order to get more medals. Instead of investing millions in CNN to have the country’s image revamped, let us invest in sports and the country will market itself automatically”.
“Also, concentration on polytechnic and apprentice trade academic programmes and investing in sciences including computer, mechanical and engineering and tapping into global trends using science and technology as well as harnessing the power of the Internet to create opportunities, supported by a strong ICT policy would offer alternatives to the unemployed,” says DP secretary general Mathias Nsubuga.
Like some other candidates, DP has promised to grant a fully fledged federal system of governance with a power sharing agreement in place for those states that wish to come together. This, the DP believes will take power and services closer to the people.
“Federalism democratises society, and it provides an additional layer of checks and balances thus deepening democracy. The unitary system of government has failed Uganda and is partly responsible for the zero-sum politics which has turned our politics into a life and death struggle for the capture of power which largely lies at the centre,” reads the draft manifesto.
There is a telling intention to immediately review the Constitution to offer what they called a “viable and well- coordinated form of federal government and guarantee the minimum but meaningful income and sources of funding for local governments/federal states”.
President Museveni has also offered a more elaborate version of federal system of governance if re-elected echoing an unfulfilled promise to Buganda Kingdom spanning most of two decades.
Now the Uganda has discovered oil, DP has promised an oil policy that will benefit everyone. The faith groups have Mr Mao’s attention too. He proposes budgetary allocations for their private Not For-Profit institutions.

Supporting churches

“We pledge to give religious institutions all necessary cooperation and financial support to increase efficiency and effectiveness in their respective institutions while at the same time respecting their independence and integrity. We also want to return ownership of religious founded institutions [to their owners],” reads the manifesto in part.
In the health sector, DP means to empower communities through awareness creation and training to prevent disease, cutting down incidence at household level reasoning that at least 70 per cent of diseases are preventable.
In the education sector, DP proposes a review of the entire educational system with a view of making it relevant to the needs and aspirations of Uganda’s human resource needs. They hope to achieve this through using resources saved through controlling corruption.
Mr Mao has promised to pay a living wage to all teachers starting in 2012, feeding pupils in primary schools by 2013 and maintaining free and compulsory primary school education, without compromising quality and establishing a scholarship scheme for high performing Ugandans.
Plans for security

His vision for Ugandans’ security includes a plan to phase out two spy agencies; Internal Security Organisation, External Security Organisation and their affiliates. They would be replaced with a properly facilitated National Security Service to handle all tasks of an intelligence gathering nature. Diplomats presently deployed to handle security matters would take over duties formerly undertaken by ESO, for instance.
He blames the palpable feeling of insecurity in the country on the proliferation of security organisations. The DP has a view of the country’s communication system modernised with a rehabilitated Entebbe International Airport to attract more international airlines, spruced-up in-country airfields to boost domestic flights and conduct a study on the viability of another international airport in the country.
On energy, Mr Mao said he would rectify the architectural and management mess at Owen Falls Dam to ensure optimal production of hydro-electric power. “We will also enter into partnership with private investors to invest in the production and supply of alternatives and renewable energy in both urban and rural areas,” Mr Mao suggests in a manifesto whose catchword conjures images of a new future.

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