President Yoweri Museveni has asked members of the top organ of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) to adopt an “interests-based mobilisation” and completely abandon manipulation and obscurantism.
In his November 8, 2021 letter to the Central Executive Committee (CEC) members, President Museveni, who is also the chairman of the party, also accused leaders of failure to understand the history of NRM.
“You need to look into the political laboratory of Uganda to understand the importance of interests-based mobilisation, produce more durable loyalty than, for instance, the opportunistic use of identity (tribe, religious sects, gender-chauvinism) for mobilisation and loyalty generation,” he said.
The President argues in his letter to the NRM top leadership that although at Independence, Uganda had been manipulated into three identity factions such the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) for Protestants and some Moslems, the Democratic Party for Catholics and some tribes and the Kabaka Yekka for Baganda Protestants and some Moslems, the NRM rejected the idea of politics of identity.
“The precisions of the NRM, the universities’ based study groups, rejected this ideology in 1965, and put forward the ideology of people’s needs (hunger, roads, poverty, health, etc.), that were common to all our people,” he said, noting that at the time, some people, especially elders laughed at the NRM stance against the politics of identity, saying that ‘blood is thicker than water’.
In an 18-page letter to CEC members, President Museveni also asks the top NRM leaders to move the party’s narrative from the historical legitimacy of NRM and widen it to encompass wealth creation and the well-being of the citizens.
“We cannot only depend on the historical legitimacy of the NRM. Even by 1996, the detractors of the NRM were saying: “Do we eat peace?” It is not an entirely wrong question. We must go beyond peace, unity and infrastructure and address the entire spectrum of needs as I have been telling you ever since 1995,” he said.
The mobilisation of the NRM, the President said, must be tailored towards a message for wealth creators, dealing with issues of wealth creators, rooting for production of goods and services, processing of these goods and distributing the same rather than the message of parasites who he said want food without working for it.
These parasites, President Museveni characterised them as those that create fiefdoms among the people for ease of exploitation and seek to fragment the very people the wealth creators seek to unite into a huge viable African market and strong East African federation.
The parasites, the President said, believe in pseudo loyalties, a bad omen, which he said caused the collapse of the independent state of Uganda by 1979.
Delving into history, the President explained that, unlike Ben Kiwanuka who had told off Mengo in 1961, Dr Milton Obote lacked straightforwardness on the issue of Mengo chauvinism, which led to the political fissures in the UPC-KY alliance.
The NRM chairman also urged CEC members to resist land evictions of people from their bibanja and called for the resistance of land leases commonly known as kyaapa mungalo that the Buganda Land Board (BLB) officials are currently offering bibanja holders.
In the letter to CEC members, President Museveni described Buganda Land Board as an illegal entity.
“Leases were for educated, sometimes foreign, commercial producers, using the land. They cannot be for the Ugandans who have their homes, the graves of their ancestors on those lands. That is why the customary and freehold may be the only correct models for the Ugandans,” he said.
On the economic front,
President Museveni said that over the years a lot has been achieved. He cited universal education, wealth creation projects rolled out since 1986, mass immunisation campaigns and infrastructure projects, among others.
“Therefore, a lot of achievements have been attained. However, much more could have been achieved and can be achieved, especially in the areas of social-economic transformation through wealth creation, free education, anti-corruption, the fight against crime, the lowering of the cost of electricity and transport so as to accelerate industrialization and job creation; struggle for regional integration to serve the issue of ensuring a big market for Africa’s products,” he said.
To achieve this, President Museveni has asked NRM top leaders to cover the whole spectrum of people’s solvable needs, address them by action or promise, as they conduct mobilisation.
“It is a failure by many NRM actors to go back to the history of the NRM and understand the interests-based policies that boosted the prestige of the NRM and endeared it to the people, that creates problems,” he said.
Last Friday, President Museveni met CEC members at State House, Entebbe and a number of issues were discussed, including the need to organise a five-day retreat in December for members to deliberate on the future of the country.