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NRM and Government must Get Down Working Doubly

By Ofwono Opondo

Feb, 24,16 

Ugandans have spoken in the just concluded general elections in which they gave the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and its presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni an emphatic endorsement of sixty percent, and parliament an overwhelming majority of 284 out of the 406 MP=elect already declared. The Tenth Parliament will have 427 MPs special interest groups included.
During the campaigns as reflected in the results the NRM noticed indeed experienced genuine and widespread public frustration, anger and despondence that the opposition exploited to the maximum through falsehoods, half truths and empty promises which makes NRM tasks clearly cut out. There was so much criticism leveled against government in the way public affairs are managed including the huge, wasteful and duplicative cost of government. Tackling corruption, poor and ineffective service delivery and lack of effective response to matters of public concern by various government departments and officials should top priorities that must be urgently dealt with, and it can no longer be business as usual. In the formation of cabinet, appointment of permanent secretaries, chief administrative officers (CAOs) and other senior officials President Museveni ought to hold a big stick and make drastic changes. The widespread frustration, anger and disappointment among the public are genuine and can neither be satisfied, appeased nor soothed by old rhetoric and the uncaring attitudes of many public servants. The NRM Secretariat too must get out from its slumber and squabbling and creatively reach out especially to the youths, urban unemployed and people in the villages that are gradually losing hope in NRM’s ability to make life better.
The victory hasn’t come cheap as it left many casualties in its wake including twenty one ministers some of them very senior like Dr Crispus Kiyonga of Defence, Rose Akol for Internal Affairs, Maj. Gen. (rtd) Kahinda Otafire of Justice, Jessica Alupo for Education, Science and Technology, and Irene Muloni for Energy and Mineral Development. Others like First Deputy Prime minister and minister of Public Service Henry Muganwa Kajura, Alupo and Otafire had actually fallen earlier during the party primaries but insisted against advise on going ahead never-the-less. And while the reasons for this big fall may be many and varied, they are not hard to find.   
Former Prime minister and ditched NRM Secretary General Amama Mbabazi who decamped and instead run for president as an Independent on what he called Go Forward ticket promising to cause “accelerated progress,” which he couldn’t do while still at the helm was made to eat humble pie scoring just 1.5 percent. It gets even more interesting that the combination of the very boastful Olara Otunnu, Norbert Mao, David Pulkol and Miria Matembe couldn’t salvage Mbabazi’s political fortunes. We hope Mbabazi has learnt his lessons like another former NRM political honcho Jaberi Bidandi Ssali never to bite the finger that feeds him and crossing the floor so late in life.
From the opposition big names like the Leader of Opposition (LoP) Wafula Oguttu, former FDC Secretary General Alice Alaso, Amuria Oboi, Kasiano Ezati Wadri, Jack Sabiiti,Geoffrey Ekanya, Christine Abia, Odo Tayebwa and Paul Mwiru fell at the foot of NRM sponsored candidates. This is the second election in a row in which the NRM has knocked out FDC LoP, the first being Prof. Morris Ogenga Latigo who has made a comeback. In fact FDC has lost seventeen of its current thirty five sitting MPs! Add to that the NRM again in a row thwarted FDC firebrands Salaamu Musumba and Maj. John Kazzora from returning to parliament and we relish that.  
So, when you hear the opposition and their allies in the Civil Society movement crying foul it is really an effort in futility and perhaps one way to give accountability to their European donors including some governments who they had misled that this time around they would cause regime change through the ballot box. But we should ask them to provide the results declaration forms and tally sheets from their polling agents to prove that indeed they were cheated.
Credible information available is that although they received a lot of money some through European embassies in Uganda, there hasn’t been any effective mechanism for accountability and consequently much of the money has been diverted to private use including buying properties here and abroad.
How could they win when they didn’t even field candidates in majority of the seats that were up for grabs like the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) which had only 258 MP candidates out of the 427 seats.
The parliamentary election results are now out indicating that the NRM has won 283 seats out of the 402 already declared include those for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs). The firebrand FDC has only thirty six MPs-elect which means it added just one more to its current number. The Democratic Party (DP) led by the vivacious Mao has won only fourteen seats, while UPC walked away with a paltry seven, the reason they hanker on falsehoods that they were cheated. They have found it an embarrassment and so when they talk, it is as if only the presidential election took place.