Ask Mugisha Muntu Dialogue – May 2023.
This report captures highlights from the Ask Mugisha Muntu Dialogue, which was moderated by Nada Andersen.
On ANT’s Progress in the Political Arena.
We are working on two approaches. Those who follow us will have an idea of what goes on. One pillar is to build the infrastructure from the grassroots level. That is from the villages and sub-counties upwards. We have always gone for such outreach programs, within the means available, logistically as well as financially. We’ve been able to reach a few districts though there are some we have not reached the level that we would like but we are not bothered. We will keep on trying to mobilize the resources to go on until we complete that exercise.
The second thing is that we keep on reaching out to Ugandans who would like to be a pillar of the party. We are looking for men and women of integrity who will not be influenced by the possession of power because that is a problem we have always had. They exist but are the minority in the government. They have always been manipulated and marginalized. To turn around the country we need people who will be accountable and who will be pillars. People who are not overwhelmed by temptation. The internal services like the army and police are not professional so you will not see leaders being advised firmly by the institutions of the national state. In this instance, we need people who are able to check themselves so they can be the guarantors of checking the abuses of power. It is our responsibility to look for them and walk them out of fear. It is not an easy job but it is the only way
There are different stages. Some come out ready to participate and others are discovered. To take the longer route of natural evolution like Latin America they have taken hundreds of years because they have never had a core of people who choose the country over their interests. Leaving things to chance is not an option. We don’t have time here on earth and as such we need to prepare what we can and move forward as time waits for no one. We must advance things to secure our families.
ANT’s absence in the mainstream media.
The tendency of media houses is to cover things that will attract an audience. Unfortunately for our country people are only excited by things that are not being executed to perfection. They say values at ANT are not interesting to cover. But that doesn’t bother us. One of the programs that we have is marketing ANT. There are programs we believe once we have the finances to support such programs, ANT will become completely visible. These programs will be based on concrete things. We are deliberate people. In as much as we would love to have a space in the media we shall not strain to go far from our values. We won’t change our methods because of that.
Are the citizens of Uganda safe?
I am not one to easily feel discouraged and I keep saying this. The moment we will feel secure is when we realize the budget of CID is purposed to the effective and truthful investigation. Any speech given by the government, be it from the vice president or from parliament; if whatever they say is not backed up by a significant increase in the criminal investigation budget, forget what they are talking about. Unless they invest in the youths, train them and provide the space and resources to carry out this task, we will not be able to crop down the crimes that are going on at the moment.
What is the bigger concern, fragile economy, or deteriorating security?
To a large extent, they are interrelated. When there are no jobs and there are few to no means for people to feed their families, there is a high level of crime. When this crime level keeps increasing and there are no effective ways to counter this problem, it starts to reflect on the economy. People start pulling out their investments. This can have a spiralling effect on the country. This makes them interrelated. Most countries that are experiencing an economic boom have political stability. Security is a critical factor.
What next for the remaining bush heroes and generals?
At least we experienced one success when we were able to change the name from NRA to UPDF. There was a lot of tension internally. I remember when the Minister of Defence at the time was leading the charts for maintaining the national resistance. I and some other colleagues were at the front of ensuring the change in name. We knew that the services mattered. We also knew that if we started with the form, it would be a beginning point because we knew the moment we change the name, we would have created the linkage with NRM which was a political win. We succeeded in that and hoped that the environment will be conducive. Therefore, on the outside, we must ensure that there are conducive conditions for the professionals. There are many highly qualified and trained officers ready to see this country prosper. We have not achieved it yet but we cannot divert our attention.
On Natural Disasters in Katonga and Roads in Kampala.
For Katonga it could be natural disasters that could have occurred and we would have to wait on it to be checked out. Hopefully, it is fixed and halts any additional prices that can be incurred from commodities that come from the West. I saw General Museveni allocating UGX 2.6 billion for Kampala and that will not even do two streets. They have done some roads which have taken a while. A more disciplined government would have done more kilometres. Most of these roads are highly costly because of the quality. Kampala needs to be decongested. The infrastructure does not accommodate the growing population. The problem is seen. They do roads but no money is kept aside for maintenance.
Ministry of Health.
I am aware we spend millions on treatments done abroad. I have heard General Museveni say we will build modern hospitals. The whole project is a sham. Everything is still on ground level and that is such a shame. Parliament is quiet. We are just a country that has been taken for granted. We are losing so much money according to the reports of the world bank. The newly posted doctors are supposed to get about 2.5 million Ugandan shillings a month which is nothing compared to the lives of citizens. They don’t show concern and care for the well-being of the citizens. But we just want to hope for the best and that they see the light.
The arrest of medical interns.
They don’t have the solutions. The solution is to relocate but they don’t have the capacity to do that. The fear of the government is that if their civil disobedience succeeds, it sets the stage for teachers. The government doesn’t account for anything including government money. Parliament is to facilitate the plights but instead is facilitating the regime instead of the citizens.
How we stay focused.
God’s grace primarily. Training, reading, and sewing good seeds. If you ever want something positive then you will have to work hard for it. To want to have a good country where people proper, we must first have people who understand and think in that direction in order to act on it. We all have the capacity we just need to act on it. I understand the idea of using the “slowly, slowly” approach but we are not just fighting individuals. We are fighting a culture. We prefer to fight from the outside to work our way towards the people. There are psychological measures that are being used to break the spirits of men and women. But we as ANT are ready to break this norm and work our way to the top.
Hope for change and closing remarks
The change will happen. The only thing that is not certain is when and qualitative change. With effort and focus toward the proper direction, we just need to be positive.
We have a very beautiful place on this planet. We have definitely disciplined young people. Thank you for your time and all those watching. Remain blessed. Thank you
Report compiled by Enany Georgiana Endeley, A.N.T Intern.