PRESIDENT MUSEVENI TIPS PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORS ON ROLE IN NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION
Presidential Advisors are set to play a greater role in national development and transformation after President Yoweri Museveni addressed them at their first ever orientation workshop/retreat at NALI, Kyankwanzi, yesterday afternoon with a call on them to uphold the four core principles of NRM if they are to make a contribution to national development. The workshop has been ongoing since Tuesday. The four core principles of NRM are Patriotism, Pan-Africanism, Socio-economic transformation and Democracy.
“Patriotism is “mwooyo gwa Uganda”-not “mwooya gwa ggwanga”. “Mwooyo gwa ggwanga” refers to looking at things on the basis of tribe. Be patriotic and promote a spirit that is for Uganda if you are to make a contribution,” Museveni said.
On Pan-Africanism, the President noted that African states must work together for faster economic development and strategic security.
“If you look at ADF, it is a small matter but had become big because of failure by the affected countries to work together,” Museveni said. On Socio-economic development, he said citizens must become producers and urged all not to despise locally produced goods in preference of those produced by foreigners.
On Democracy, the president noted that NRM is in power because it allowed democracy to flourish. He added that NRM would not allow anyone to misuse the democracy in place.
The president asked his advisors to put into action what they had learnt and said he would support them through the Ministry for the Presidency.
On the other hand, in his speech, President Museveni was full of praise for his "fisherwoman" Minister for the Presidency, Ms. Babirye Milly Babalanda, whose positive energy he said had already started paying dividends, just a few months into the role as Minister.
He recited his journey with Babalanda, revealing that he saw her while she was still in Busoga and immediately noted she could do wonders if brought to serve in government.
"I am so happy with Babalanda. The force in her. I love the fighting spirit of the Basoga women,” said a smiling Museveni amid cheers from his audience.
“I got her while fighting in Busoga and said let me take her to Kampala so she can fight from there."
Using the biblical example of Jesus, Museveni clearly explained his decision to appoint Babalanda into Cabinet. He said he did not go for a lawyer or PHD holder but went for someone who is result-oriented and that he will not be surprised when she does wonders. He said that just like Jesus who never went for classes while choosing the twelve disciples, he, too, went for “fishermen and fisherwomen” like Babalanda and that he is sure he was right.
In her speech, Minister Babalanda thanked the president for appointing her minister for the presidency who is responsible for supervising the presidential advisors.
“This is no mean task. But I wish to commit myself to the challenge,” Babalanda said.
She commended the president for approving the training and for finding time to address the participants.
“This demonstrates your interest and appreciation of the work done by your advisors. I know you directly communicate with some of them yet today you are meeting all of them under one roof,” she noted.
She requested that Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and heads of Government Departments and Agencies to start engaging with Presidential Advisors in their respective sectors of appointment in order to have their inputs realized in Policy formulation to project their contributions in national development. She sought permission from the president to create a Liaison Desk at the President’s Office to be charged with coordinating activities of presidential advisors in order to bridge existing communication gaps and for them to work alongside RDCs/RCCs in popularising government programs and instilling mindset change.
The Minister applauded the spirit of the advisors in their commitment to serve their Principal, and tipped them on upping the game by being more active in their specific dockets by researching and reading a lot so they can be in position to offer wise, and viable counsel to the president.
“You should, going forward, be in a position to effectively advise the president on important issues of national importance to help him realise his vision for the country,” she said.
She affirmed her office's commitment to improving the welfare of the group, revealing that plans with stakeholders in the Ministries of finance, and Public Service are under way concerning the same.
Hajji Yunusu Kakande, the Secretary to the Presidency, highlighted the importance of the role played by Presidential Advisors, revealing that the first cohort were appointed in the early days of the NRM Government to help the head-of-state solve the pressing post-war economic crisis at the time.
Ms. Amelia Kyambadde, the Presidential Advisor on Industry, who spoke on behalf of the group thanked the president for gracing the retreat and thanked Minister Babalanda and Kakande for the literature they were facilitated with, pledging to put it to good use.
The retreat which closes tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 17) was organized by the Presidency to help reinvigorate the group which many had for long viewed as dormant. It has been the first of its kind, bringing the group together to interact, learn, and share a moment with the appointing authority since 1986.
Former Vice President, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, former Premier and Senior Presidential Advisor on Political Affairs, Kintu Muntu, former ministers and academicians, among others, attended the retreat.