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President Museveni has made a number of vows, some as an individual and others on behalf of his administration, in an attempt to endear himself and his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) to voters.
While many vows, such as tarmac roads, schools, and factories to improve citizens’ livelihoods, have been accomplished, others have been on his to-do list for several years.
According to Mr Robert Mbabazi Kakwerere, the Rukiga District chairperson, some of the unfulfilled presidential pledges in his area include the tarmacking of Muhanga-Kisiizi Road, Kamwezi-Rutobo Road, and support for Muhanga Progressive Secondary School and the family of Front for National Salvation freedom fighter David Kangire, who was publicly executed by former President Idi Amin Dada’s government.
“We appreciate the fact that the presidential pledges to establish an irrigation scheme at Kyerero in Bukinda Sub-county and to build a science laboratory at St Paul’s Secondary School Bukinda were met.” “However, a number of other pledges, as mentioned above, have yet to be fulfilled,” he continues. In the Teso Sub-region, the elders’ council urged President Museveni to keep his 2019 pledges.
Mr Alfred Okiria Aloka, the head of the Teso elders’ council, stated that they are still waiting for the President’s promised seed money of Shs50 million for each district in the area, as well as a 32-seater coaster and tractors and motorcycles. He claims that if he receives the money, it will better the lives of the elderly.
Mr Museveni stated in 2015, while campaigning in Alebtong District, that if re-elected, his government would supply sanitary pads to elementary school girls. This promise, like many others made on the campaign path, has yet to be fulfilled by the government.
Mr Museveni made an amazing promise on March 10, 2018, to distribute 27,000 hand hoes to farmers in Dokolo District. The farm tools have yet to be delivered to the intended recipients.
On the same day, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) national chairwoman committed to rehabilitating Bata Seed Secondary School in Dokolo District’s Bata Sub-county so that rural students may have a good education. However, no major modifications have been completed as of yet.
The Head of State also stated that the government would elevate the IVs at Aboke, Anyeke, and Dokolo to district hospitals. Nothing has changed to date, with health facilities experiencing stressful issues such as insufficient drugs and supplies, as well as insufficient employees.
Mr Rogers Mulindwa, the ruling NRM’s spokesperson, stresses that not all petitions to the President constitute presidential pledges.
“Because his office keeps a book of records, it is the President’s responsibility to confirm a presidential pledge.” “However, some of our people make requests or petitions to the President at functions, and when he says we’ll see, they misinterpret that as a pledge,” he says.
Mr Mulindwa adds that when the President makes a pledge, he sometimes does not specify a time window for implementation, implying that subsequent governments can take it up. He mentions the tarmacking of the Kampala-Luweero road segment, which he claims was promised by the Tito Okello Lutwa administration but was subsequently repaired by President Museveni.
“We are challenged by a lack of funds to fully fulfil all Presidential pledges,” he continues, “but I am confident they will be fulfilled.”
According to Kabale District Chairperson Nelson Nshangabasheija, while most of the presidential pledges have been fulfilled, such as turning Kabale University into a public institution and building and equipping the youth skilling centre, the pledge to build Batuma Memorial Airfield remains unfulfilled.
Mr Museveni promised a juice processing plant, a glass factory and tarmacking the road connecting Namirembe and Ddimo landing sites to Bukunda on the Masaka-Mutukula highway during a thanksgiving ceremony for former Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi in Kyanamukaaka, Masaka District, in 2016.
According to Ms Prossy Najjuma, a fruit farmer in Kyanamukkaka, the national coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation, Gen Salim Saleh, who is also President Museveni’s younger brother, paid a fact-finding mission to the area on August 29, 2020, and assured residents that the government was committed to delivering the projects to boost their livelihoods.
“He [Salim Saleh] promised us that the government was ready to give us the factory, and all we had to do was send back the former Vice President Edward Ssekandi to Parliament, who could easily follow up on the projects,” she says.
In the run-up to the 2021 General Election, President Museveni attributed some of the government’s shortcomings to a group of “lazy and useless” parliamentarians, whom he chastised for failing to identify and monitor problems impacting civilians.
“Some NRM legislators are so lazy that they can’t even monitor projects in their constituencies,” he said at the time. With almost 400 MPs, the NRM has a strong presence in Parliament. Mr. Museveni claims that voting for the wrong individuals is to blame for inadequate service delivery in some areas.
Kabarole Agro-Industrial Park was promised and the foundation stone was placed in 2018, but the project has yet to kick off four years later owing to a land dispute. The 100-acre industrial park was planned to accommodate factories that added value to farmers’ produce like bananas and coffee.
Six persons, including former Fort Portal City mayor Rev Kintu Willy Muhanga, were arrested last week on allegations of instigating violence and unlawful assembly following a protest over President Museveni’s unmet promises to Kabarole and Fort Portal.
According to Michael Odeba, chairperson of the Njeru Central Division in Buikwe District, the President committed a vocational training institute in commemoration of the late Sam Peter Kitaka, who gifted him a grinding stone (Olubengo) that became synonymous with his political campaign in 1996.
One of the islanders’ demands, according to Buvuma District Chairperson Adrian Ndungu Wasswa, is for the district to be connected to the national power grid.
“We are also still waiting for two UPE and USE boarding schools to be connected, as promised by our President,” he continues.
Mr Sylvester Agubanshongorera, the chairperson of the Rubirizi District, claims that the President promised the district Sh500 million for the construction of the administration building, which has yet to be completed.
West Nile Virus
The link to the national grid for steady energy is a thorn in the flesh of taxpayers in West Nile. Pakwach, Nebbi, Zombo, Madi Okollo, Arua district, Arua City, Terego, Maracha, Koboko, Yumbe, and Obongi have been waiting for decades to be linked to the grid.
Mr Bernard Atiku, former Member of Parliament for Ayivu Constituency in Arua, stated, “We need power that will allow industries to set up here.” Investors in this region have potential enterprises for which they might use funds from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Central Africa.”
Only the districts of Moyo and Adjumani have access to the national grid. The large territories are fed by 3.5Mw power from Nyagak Dam and Electromax Company plants.
Mr Museveni acknowledged the people’s predicament during the campaign at Muni University grounds in November 2020, saying, “I still have a debt for the road from Nebbi-Goli on the border to Paidha, then to Vurra Customs.” That road must be completed. The route from here (Manibe) to Terego-Yumbe, and finally from Pakwach to Rhino camp, will then be completed. These are the primary highways in West Nile that will be paved.”
The Committee on Government Assurances issued a report in 2015 stating that the President has failed to deliver on 817 pledges since taking office in 1986. According to the analysis, the presidential pledges might cost more than Shs12.9 trillion in major infrastructure areas such as roads, hospitals, and schools.
Kisoro District chairperson Abel Bizimana says some of the President’s unfulfilled promises to the district include tarmacking tourism roads, expanding Kisoro airstrip, building the John Kale Memorial Institute of Science and Technology, and pardoning and redeploying former Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura.
“We are happy that some presidential pledges such as the creation of Bukimbiri County and the tarmacking of Kabale-Kisoro-Bunagana-Chanika road were fulfilled, the pledge to pardon and redeploy Gen Kayihura, the construction of John Kale Institute of Science and Technology, the expansion of Kisoro airstrip and the tarmacking of the tourism roads that connect to Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks are some of the unfulfilled presidential pledges,” he says.
According to district chairperson, Mr James Ategeka, during National Women’s Day festivities at Rwimi playground in Bunyangabu District in 2018, the President vowed to provide the district with Shs4 billion under the Road Fund for road maintenance, which they are still waiting for. He says that they were also told that Kibiito Health Centre IV would be raised to the status of the district hospital.
According to the Ntoroko District chairperson, Mr William Kasoro, during the 2016 presidential campaign, President Museveni guaranteed the construction of the Budiba Bridge on the River Semuliki in Bweramule Sub-county, which connects Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“We are also still waiting for the government to fulfil its commitment to build a secondary school per sub-county because Kanara, Rwebisengo, and Karugutu do not have any,” he says.
Mr Museveni pledged the tarmacking of the 30-kilometre Fort Portal-Kijura Road in Kabarole District ten years ago. Mr Richard Rwabuhinga, the chairperson of Kabarole District, stated that the president first pledged the road on September 29, 2012, when he commissioned the district headquarters.
Mr Museveni vowed to tarmac the same route again in 2013 while meeting district leaders from the Rwenzori Sub-region at his house in Rwakitura. The same road was mentioned in the ruling NRM party manifesto in 2021. The road is currently only maintained by the Uganda National Roads Authority, however, it is always impassable during the rainy season, especially for trucks.
Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Felix Warom Okello, Bill Oketch, Clement Aluma & Patrick Okaba, Robert Muhereza, Naume Biira, Emmanuel Arineitwe, Alex Ashaba, Longino Muhindo, Abubaker Kirunda, Denis Edema, Tausi Nakato, Richard Kyanjo, Felix Ainebyoona, Simon Peter Emwamu,