Your Excellency Mr. President, as I pen this piece in my little muzigo in one of Kampala’s congested neighbourhoods, I am deep in thought about what the rejection of over 10 government ministers in the just concluded NRM primaries implies.
This is further complicated by the rejection of many incumbent MPs from the ruling party among their own party members too across the country even in Western Uganda which is supposed to be the party’s stronghold and backyard.
Why were Ministers rejected?
Being named a cabinet Minister in this republic is supposed to be a big milestone for anyone who achieves that exclusive position.
Apart from the pomp and glamour that includes body guards, big VX Landcruisers and a huge pay cheque to take home, expectations at both personal and community level change for the appointee. Not only are you supposed to live a high life but you are expected to uplift the standards of your people back in the village both extended family and community at large.
However, because many of these cabinet appointees have so many financial pressures to deal with not forgetting that family comes first, they end up turning out to be disappointments to the communities and voters who elected them for the case of MPs.
Beyond the personal goodies and favours the ordinary people expect from their MPs and village mates in government, they also expect them to deliver services to them or at least push to have these services delivered a little better than they found them at least.
While it is not the direct duty of elected officials to deliver services, they are supposed to lobby and follow up to ensure these are being delivered effectively something many fail to do or are frustrated by the weaknesses within the public service delivery system.
And all these pressures from constituents and village mates putting all sorts of demands on Ministers and MPs is what forces many of these big shots to shun their villages and constituencies soon after they get big offices.
With the equally hapless village mates having no one to run to when service delivery is poor and when they are stuck on personal level given they mainly live hand to mouth, they wait for opportunities like the just concluded primaries to revenge.
They promptly vote out the old guard in many cases except in some cases where the contestant (Minister/MP) was on ground, did some tangible things for the wanainchi and has something to put in their pockets during election time.
Expectations are always high for example for the newly elected NRM flag bearers many of whom will actually go on to win during the upcoming 2021 elections. However the question remains Your Excellency will these meet the expectations of the people? Most likely not and the cycle will continue if some fundamental things are not changed.
What needs to be changed?
Service delivery and follow up needs to be emphasized and re-emphasised as a key part of politics in the NRM government.
Your Excellency the wanainchi have heard your good policies and suggested solutions for a long time now but unless these are deliberately pushed into services properly delivered in good roads, hospitals, schools etc, your Ministers and MPs will continue being rejected whenever they return to ask for votes. The wanainchi’s actions towards your Ministers and MPs your Excellency are partly a protest against inadequate service delivery.
While the Ministers, MPs and other leaders can push for this improvement, you as the Fountain of Honour of this nation needs to take leadership in this so it can work more effectively like you have done when it comes to matters of the HIV AIDS fight among other success stories.
A return of the Constituency Development Fund may help give MPs more direction to deliberately work for their people and avoid being election casualties en-mass like has just been the case in the just concluded NRM primaries.
More civic education of the masses on the roles of various political leaders to apportion blame for any failure where it is due is also required.
Finally your Excellency, strengthening of Programs like Operation Wealth Creation, Youth livelihood program to become more effective in creating sustainable income streams for the masses will also stem this growing anger towards incumbent politicians before it gets out of hand and is directed at you too Sir!
The author is a senior analyst and media strategist at consulting firm Brothers Intelligence LLC