Thursday, January 31, 2013


Fellow Country men and Country women. I greet you and salute you on this 27th Anniversary of the NRM’s Liberation of Kampala on the 26th of January, 1986. 

The final attack on Kampala started on the 24th of January, 1986, when our Forces crossed the Busega swamp and spent the night at Rubaga. The following day the 25th of January, our Forces fought the whole day and only entered the sprawling Lubiri barracks at night fall. The following day, the 26th of January, our Forces started assaulting Kampala Central through Bakuli, Kampala Road up to Radio Uganda. This was the 1st Battalion, led by the late Fred Mugisha. Meanwhile, the 11th Battalion, under the late Chefe Ali, was assaulting Nakulabye, Makerere, Wandegeya and Summit View. 

The 7th Battalion, under Matayo Kyaligonza and the late Stanley Muhangi, was assaulting Makindye barracks while the 5th Battalion, under Ahmed Kashillingi and the late China was blocking Entebbe Road, at Kisubi. I held the 3rd Battalion under the late Patrick Lumumba in reserve, at Bulange (Republic House). The 13th Battalion, under Ivan Koreta, was blocking Gulu Road at Matugga. 

The Task Force, under the late Jet Mwebaze, operated in the area of Bwaise and was supposed to cross and block Mukono Road but they did not achieve this. Meanwhile, the 19th Battalion, under the late Peter Kerim, the 15th Battalion, under Samson Mande and the 9th Battalion, under Julius Chihanda were on the Hoima-Masindi axis. I held the 21st Battalion, under the late Benon Tumukunde, at Kasese because I afraid of the possible Mobutu’s intervention from that side. Salim Saleh coordinated the attack on Kampala while Tinyefuuza coordinated the attack on the Hoima axis.

Radio Uganda and the Summit View were captured by about 1500 hours on the afternoon of the 26th but Makindye held on up to about 1900 hours. Meanwhile, at around 1400 hours, a worrying situation developed on Entebbe Road, when a large Force from Entebbe broke through the 5th Battalion at Kisubi and was approaching Kampala from the rear. 

I had to dispatch the 3rd Battalion, under Salim Saleh and the late Lumumba to block this force at Najjanankumbi. I, therefore, remained without a Reserve. By 1900 hours, however, good news from all around came in ─ Makindye barracks had been captured and the 900 force at Zana from Entebbe had also surrendered. The following day, the 27th of January, 1986, I made a broadcast on Radio Uganda, announcing the victory.

When I call these forces Battalions, our young commanders to today should not think that they were the same size of our present Battalions of 760 officers and men. None of these Battalions was less than 1,500 officers and men. In fact 19th Battalion was 1,900 officers and men. We had arranged this in order to economize on the Command. The few good Commanders we had would each command many companies (A, B, C, D, E, F, K, etc). Therefore, the Liberation Battalions would accomplish bigger tasks than the standard Battalions.

Since that time, Uganda has moved a great distance. The economy, which was 3.5 trillion shillings is now 50 trillion shillings (about US$ 20 billion). This means that the economy has expanded in size 14 times since 1986. Income per person which was US$ 264 in 1986, is now US$ 580 per person in spite of the population growing 2.3 times from 14 million people to 34 million people. If the population had grown at a slower rate, Uganda would already be a middle-income country. I do not, however, regret the growth of our population. It is a great resource in itself. 

We have struggled to educate this bigger population and we are succeeding. As you, for instance, saw just recently, about 565,663 of our young people sat for Primary Leaving Education (P.L.E.) last year. How many of our children sat for P.L.E. in 1986? The figure was 150,000!! The children in the secondary schools were only 123,479 students 1986. The figure is now 1.23 million students. These are big achievements. In 1986, the share of industry in GDP was only 9.9% while services’ contribution to GDP was only 36.1%. The relevant figures are now 26.8% and 44.8%, respectively. 

The total export of goods and services in 1986, was only US$ 411 million in 1986 and this was because of the high coffee prices of that time; otherwise, the figures went as low as about US$ 260 million in 1988 and it further fell to US$ 177 million in 1990 because of the fall in the world coffee prices. Last year our export earnings were US$ 4.5 billion. Non-coffee exports of goods went from almost zero to US$ 1.7 billion last year. 

The International Reserves grew from US$ 16 million in 1986 to US$ 2.9 billion in December, 2012. Government tax revenue collections went from five billion shillings in 1986 to 6.6 trillion shillings last financial year. Private investment increased from 5.2% of GDP in 1986 to 19% of GDP in 2012. Remittances from Ugandans living abroad went from almost zero to US$ 879 million last financial year 2011/12. Therefore, if you add the remittances from to the export earnings of goods and services, the total inflows are US$ 5.4 billion. Inflation was 240% in 1986 but is now 5.5% 

However, the economy could have grown much faster if it was not for some ideological confusion on the part of some of the actors that we are, sometimes, forced to work with. The first problem was the delay in the modernizing our Army, after we had reduced it from 100,000 to 50,000 officers and men. Some quarters took the views that we should spend less on the smaller army. We, therefore, ended up with an under-equipped and smaller Army. This made our people in the North to suffer under Kony and the cattle rustlers of Karamoja for much longer than was necessary. 

When the Army was reduced in 1991, we should have straight away adequately equipped it. It was not until 2001 that we took the decision to cut 23% from all the other ministries in order to start properly equipping the smaller Army ― a delay of 10 years. The moment we did that, that was the end of Kony terrorism and the cattle rustling in Karamoja. ADF terrorists are still in Congo. However, if they dare cross the border, they know what happened to them last time in 2006 ― 100 of them entered Semliki valley, only 13 of them went back to Congo. This delay in equipping the Army properly was an unnecessary mistake that cost us development time.

The other problem has been the mistake of delaying industrial projects ― rehabilitation of Kilembe mines , expansion of Lugazi sugar works, the implementation of the Amuru sugar project, the Dairy Corporation expansion and modernization, the Tororo Fertilizer factory, the Muko (Kabale) iron-ore processing project, the delay of the Bujagali hydropower project etc., etc. The delays are caused by the need for compensation, arguments about land rights, arguments about the environment issues, internal political sabotage, etc. I do not have time to deal with each of these arguments here. 

However, delays of these projects affects the tempo of the growth and transformation of the economy. Most importantly, it affects the job creation for the youth. The development-minded people must resist sabotage to the future of our children. What Africa lacks most, starting with Uganda, both in the past and today, are factories. We were colonized because of lack of factories. We are still lagging behind other continents because of lack of factories, not because of lack of clans, lack of forests, etc. We have had plenty of these in the past. Why did we remain backward?

Another cause of delays of industrial projects are either corrupt or indifferent officials. Muko iron–ore project has been delayed because incapable people were given concessions. Why do you give a concession to somebody who has no financial capacity to implement the project? Kilembe Mines here, is delayed because of mis-applied procedures. Kilembe Mines is not a procurement issue. It is an investment issue. Kalangala is now booming because we successfully resisted these misguided and quite often selfish schemes. The Palm oil project has been successfully implemented.

Soon, I am going to address Parliament, on the issue of corruption and criminality. The NRM, from the bush days and from the very inception, apart from our patriotic and Pan-Africanist orientation, was motivated by the fight against criminality and corruption such as extrajudicial killings, raping of women, bribes, embezzlement, poaching of animals, etc. We stopped extra-judicial killings by soldiers and other security staff, we stopped the poaching of animals in the National Parks, we stopped illegal roadblocks by soldiers, etc. 

Why does somebody imagine that we cannot end embezzlement and bribery? The recent successes in breaking into the rackets of suspected thieves is just a tip of the iceberg of what the NRM will do to reduce or even eliminate corruption. Who broke into the suspected rackets of mega thieves in the office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the Ministry of Public Service, the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Uganda (BOU), the Ministry of Heath, etc.? It is the NRM sympathizers and the Police ― the young police officers whom we deliberately recruited to build the capacity of that institution. Who insisted on recruiting university graduates of high integrity into the Police? It is the NRM and some of its precursors such as the UNLF in 1979. 

Before that time, the Police and the Army were the preserve of the uneducated or the semi-educated. Could those have coped with the high level fraud that you are witnessing today? We are going to win the battle against bribery and embezzlement as we won the other battles. The only inconveniences we have in the fight against corruption, criminality, terrorism and political indiscipline is the practice of giving bail to the suspects indiscriminately. I am going to propose an amendment to the relevant laws in this respect. 

In order to improve Service Delivery and accelerate the industrialization of our country, there are two factors we must deal with ― pay the Scientists well as well as paying the Judges well and, eventually, pay all the Public Servants well. When the money is, however, still scarce, let us start with the Scientists and the Judges – so that both our Scientific innovators and our Judges are comfortable. One group to push the economy and the other one to administer justice fairly. The next clusters of public servants to deal with on the issue of salaries will be the teachers, the health workers, the army and the other security personnel.

The Ugandans say: “Kamwe kamwe nigwo muganda” – ‘one by one makes a bundle’, “akwata empola atuuka wala” – ‘the one who makes modest efforts, in the end covers a long distance’.

I congratulate all of you on the 27th Anniversary.

Monday, January 21, 2013

President's Repentance Prayer for his Nation's Sins repeated at Watoto Church

Yesterday, I was in church at Watoto Childrens’ church central. 

I signed the nations’ declaration prepared by our church that commits us, as citizens of Uganda, after 50 years to doing better. It was a covenant with God. 

I also got to know about this prayer that President Museveni said for this nation. It is more or less history but good to know that an African president actually did say a prayer of repentance for his nation.

Here is the prayer Museveni said at the National Jubilee Prayers in Namboole on 18th October 2012.

“Father God in heaven, today we stand here as Ugandans, to thank you for Uganda. We are proud that we are Ugandans and Africans. We thank you for all your goodness to us. 

I stand here today to close the evil past and especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history and at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. 

We ask for your forgiveness. We confess these sins, which have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation.

We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft, which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal. 

Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict. 

These sins and many others have characterized our past leadership, especially the last 50 years of our history. Lord forgive us and give us a new beginning. Give us a heart to love you, to fear you and to seek you. Take away from us all the above sins. 

We pray for national unity. Unite us as Ugandans and eliminate all forms of conflict, sectarianism and tribalism. Help us to see that we are all your children, children of the same Father. Help us to love and respect one another and to appreciate unity in diversity.

We pray for prosperity and transformation. Deliver us from ignorance, poverty and disease. As leaders, give us wisdom to help lead our people into political, social and economic transformation.

We want to dedicate this nation to you so that you will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation, whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own. 

I renounce all the evil foundations and covenants that were laid in idolatry and witchcraft. I renounce all the satanic influence on this nation. And, I hereby, covenant Uganda to you, to walk in your ways and experience all your blessings forever.

I pray for all these in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen," prayed Museveni.

First Uganda Extractive Industry Conference in town

Uganda will hold the first Uganda, Mining, Energy and Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition from 28-30 May 2013, at the Serena Hotel, Kampala, Uganda with a theme ‘Development through Sustainable Management of Uganda’s Energy & Mineral Resources’.

Uganda Media Energy and Oil &Gas Conference (UMEC) 2013 is a turnkey event focusing on the Republic of Uganda’s mining, energy and petroleum potential and their sustainable development. UMEC will feature two days of conference sessions, a trade exhibition, round table discussions, seminars as well as touristic trips and technical visits.

Organized by the Ministry of Energy & Mineral Development, Republic of Uganda, in association with AME Trade Ltd, this inaugural event will gather key decision makers within Uganda’s extractive industries. The event will provide attendees with the opportunity to network with potential international investors and industry experts, says a press release from the Ministry of Energy.

Uganda has both unexploited and under explored potential in mining, oil and Gas and Energy. In terms of mining, there are many high mineral potential areas in Uganda, which remain inadequately explored despite the country’s long history of mineral exploration and production. Recent geosurveys and mineral resources assessment under SMMRP identified numerous potential mineral target areas for exploration and development.

Meanwhile, petroleum exploration has been on-going in Uganda for over 90 years. Uganda set to become a major African oil provider within a decade. Exploration efforts have led to the discovery of over 2.5 billion barrels of oil in place in the country and this is expected to increase. Uganda is also endowed with an enormous potential for hydrological and other renewable sources of energy.

UMEC 2013 is a valuable opportunity for companies who are already working in Uganda, as well as those who are new to the market, and recognize a worthwhile investment option to establish themselves with key leaders and upcoming players in the market, says the Press Release. The concurrent event exhibition will allow delegates to display and discover the latest technological advances in local and global Mining, Energy and Oil & Gas sectors.

Uganda Unity for HIV Messages

By Esther Nakkazi

In manifestation of a need for unity in the HIV response, Uganda is to revamp its national information campaign, with new HIV messages, aimed at a change in behavior to reduce new infections.  

All HIV messages in Uganda will soon be standardized, with basic HIV facts, suggesting evidence based interventions, emphasizing prevention and vetted through a clearing-house at the Uganda Aids Commission (UAC), which coordinates HIV/Aids issues in the country.

“It is critical for the public good that a quality assurance mechanism is put in place to protect the public from any wrong doing messages on HIV and AIDS disseminated through the mass media,” said Professor Vinand Nantulya, the chairman of UAC.

With the rising infections, it is indeed, now understandable that maybe the level of knowledge about basic facts on HIV information is quite limited among the public. This is partly blamed on HIV messages and campaigns that do not seem effect behavior change, as was the case previously, to prevent new infections.

The need to avoid mixed HIV messages comes at a time when Uganda’s new infection rates, which are partly fueled by behavioral change are on the rise to 130,000 in 2011 from an average 100,000 five years ago according to the AIDS Indicator Survey (UAIS) results released in June this year. The prevalence rate is also higher at 7.3 from 6.4 percent in 2005.

Yet HIV information and education was most significant in the early preventive national response. The-abstain, be faithful and condom use (ABC) strategy and approach was successfully used to achieve appropriate effective communication. 

HIV messages were prepacked, customized, flexible, targeted- like ‘Love Faithfully’ for the religious. ‘Love carefully’ and ‘Zero grazing’ for the public and condom use as an alternative fall back position.
They were also visually fearful and emotionally appealing prompting behavior change- a strong warning that AIDS kills with the sound of loud drums did it, said Dr. Paul Kaggwa the assistant commissioner Health education and promotion at the Ministry of Health. 

These fear appeal HIV messages led to behaviour change that managed to bring the prevalence of HIV from 30 percent in the 1980’s to 6 percent to-date.

But overtime, behavior change the mainstay of reducing new infections has deteriorated: extramarital relations are high, so are concurrent sexual partners.  Casual sex, which had declined by 60 percent in the 1990s, is back to previous levels.  Scientists have observed complacency and a less committed attitude both in rural and urban areas.

HIV Messages are now are not pre tested or standardized for quality.  Most of them are merely information sharing with no elements of effective communication to elicit feedback, the principle element of good communication, said Dr. Kaggwa.

These messages are also confusing, misleading, medicalised, and only slowing but not stopping new HIV infections. Unfortunately, they have turned out to be generic making the campaigns that are designed unsuccessful and their messages misinterpreted.

“Current campaigns are so stuck in the medical model of marketing where we are only selling the direct attributes of the product with no attachment or appeal to the emotional needs,” said Julius Lukwago, the director marketing and communications at PACE- Program for Accessible health, Communication and Education.  

“We say “go and test, to avoid HIV” or “get off the sexual network to avoid HIV” but what emotional appeal does getting off the sexual network give? ”asks Lukwago contrasting it to Coke, which sells happiness- not some black sugar solution that quenches thirst.

For instance the ‘stop cross-generational sex’ campaign, which stopped young people from having sex with the older generation- but suggested that it was okay for them to indulge in sex with fellow youngsters and only wrong if the partners were older.

This message and others that were not well thought out, ended up causing more damage than good because they lay themselves open to misinterpretation, commented Mrs. Janet Museveni, the first lady.

It was designed on the basis of the prevailing situation, when young people were having sex with older people for material gains. Research showed that new infections were highest among long-term, multiple and concurrent sexual partnerships- which included these cross-generational affairs.

Then came the two-year ‘one love campaign’ that urged people to leave the sexual network and was aimed at increasing monogamous married couples. It was a behavior change campaign for married and cohabiting couples, and adopted a new term ‘side dish’.

It started after research, the 2004/05 Uganda HIV Sero Behavioural Survey, showed that married persons accounted for about 65 percent of new HIV infections and HIV transmission was highest within marital sex at 42 percent, prevalence rate, twice as high as commercial sex workers.

One love, started with an awareness campaign about the risks involved in multiple partnerships and the implications of the sexual network. It then sought to increase the understanding on how being part of the sexual network impacts on the family especially the children. But was only considered to have got the ‘public talking’ mostly about side dishes but not ditching them. 

Behavior change experts argue that the campaign would be more successful if it gave people reasons to dump the ‘side dishes’. For instance, if it portrayed a couple in old age, happy with their grown up children who are married, it would be a more realistic picture for a reason to have a single partner.

But it addressed the usual issue -risk perception- in the usual fashion- increase knowledge- although most people were already aware of the risks in having multiple partnerships or not using condoms, said Lukwago. “Drumming that in further may not cause any behavioral impact.”

In its last run, the ‘one love’ campaign painted a disgusting side dish like a garbage attendant as part of the sexual network.  “This was arrived at after talking to the target audience and quite a number expressed tolerance to side dishes. When we added a ‘Maskini’ the reaction changed instantly from tolerance to disgust,” said Daudi Ochieng head of communications Uganda health Marketing Group (UHMG) 

Messaging for medical interventions like Safe Male Medical Circumcision is also faulted. Messages for circumcision have indicated that there is protection for everybody, although research clearly indicated that chances of acquiring HIV for a circumcised man are 60 percent but transmitting HIV is at the same level as any man who is HIV positive.

Cathy Watson from Straight Talk Foundation during a presentation in an HIV conference said that single-issue campaigns over simplify communication. “Concentrating on one new evidence based intervention ignores the underlying reality of how people live their sexual, emotional and economic lives so Uganda needs more holistic campaigns,” said Watson.

There have been suggestions to revert to fear appeal messages that led to behavior change because this would give the public the liability to act.

David Bakyayita a communications expert with the ministry of Health says fear appeal messages can be used but should be better packaged to suit the audience at this point in time. When they worked the HIV epidemic was at an outbreak stage and people were hopeless.

“The fear of HIV/AIDS has diminished given that it doesn’t show immediate danger with anti-retroviral therapy and care. We need to understand our customers better-gain enough audience insight to determine what they are looking for in choosing to take these risks which they know have dire consequences,” said Lukwago.

“We need to go back to the original message of prevention but that has implications on how we are going to change behavior. The kinds of messages that change behavior are not on billboards. The way you change behavior is through informal communication, by word of mouth,” said Professor Nantulya.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Uganda soon to lift ban on used computers

By Esther Nakkazi

Uganda’s ban on used computers may soon be declared over after more than three years just as an environmental policy to handle electronic waste is put in place.

The National Information Technology Authority-Uganda, that promotes and monitors IT development in the country, will soon provide standards of used computers that can be imported into Uganda.

Announced in the 2009/2010 budget, the ban on used computers was meant to combat electronic pollution and dumping but it was also done at a time when dumping was at its peak, NITA-U officials said.

Uganda, the only country in the world to ban used computers, has lost $17 million annually, in revenue to the government but the bigger impact was on 1,500 schools and tertiary institutions that could not offer computer lessons anymore. 
Now, before the end of this Financial Year, 2012/13, ending June 30th this year, the ban will be lifted, says James Saaka, the executive director of NITA-U. “We can say that we can ably handle the e-waste. A study to help us set the standards of used computers that can be imported has also been completed,” said Saaka.

The standards will spell out the year of manufacture, the type of technology used, inputs like Bluetooth, wireless; but importers would also have to show how they will dispose off any generated e-waste.

James Wire Lughabo, chairman of Uganda ICT Consumer Protection Association (UICPA), says the ban should not be lifted in its entirety. Instead, some stringent guidelines should be imposed like computers should be less than three years old in use, no second hand cloned computers should be allowed nor old Televisions or computer monitors. 

Cloned computers, which mimic branded ones, could bring in three times more e-waste than second hand computers, Lunghabo argues. Defaulters on the set standards will be fined an environment levy, yet to be calculated, said NITA-U officials, and companies will be licenced to set up e-waste plants to recycle and dispose off in an environmentally friendly way all the e-waste collected.

One company, Second Life, based in Kampala has already been licenced by the National Environmental Management Authority to set up an e-waste recycling facility.
Without policies, capacity and enforcements to stop dumping, it is estimated that about 80 percent of electronic waste generated in the West, ends up in developing countries.

According to United Nations Industrial DevelopmentOrganisation about 15 percent of all computer imports, are used computers while the majority are clones. As the ban goes on, over 1,500 schools and tertiary institutions could not offer computer lessons as they relied entirely on donations of used computers.

“It has slowed down the roll out of IT in many schools and slowed down a lot of work for businesses,” said Fred Kiapi, the executive director of Commonwealth People’s Association of Uganda (CPAUG).

The ban has also widened the digital divide between the rural and urban, the poor and the rich, as very few people could afford to buy new computers. For three years, it has hurt Ugandan consumers by depriving them of low-cost, used computers, says Kiapi.

But without enough muscle to enforce it, underground trade of these computers is booming. So was government serious to announce it in the first place?