Minister for the Presidency, Milly Babirye Babalanda, has appealed to opposition politicians across the country to put their country first so as to serve Ugandans better.
Babalanda made the call Thursday while closing a 5-day manifesto monitoring and validation retreat which was held at the National Leadership Institute (NALI), Kyankwanzi.
The minister’s remarks were in recognition of two opposition leaders, Isaac Muwonge of the National Unity Platform and DP’s Hadija Namutebi, who honoured the invitation from the Office of the President to attend the manifesto review and assessment meeting.
Lauding the pair for their politics of patriotism, Babalanda urged other opposition politicians to borrow a leaf from NRM’s ideology of inclusive politics which promotes meritocracy and reconciliation thus enabling any patriotic Ugandan to work with the government regardless of religion, tribe or political shade.
Babalanda reminded all members of the opposition that the ultimate goal of any politician is to work for the people who entrust them with power, which is why they should endeavor to go to the holders and trustees of public resources.
“It is delusional for any opposition person who holds an elective or other civil office in this country to believe or say that they can work in isolation of the NRM government. You must accept that it is the NRM government which was chosen by the people to lead the country and as such controls all the resources needed to deliver services to the people,” Babalanda said.
She thus advised opposition politicians to cast politics and empty egos aside and work with government if they are to be able to lobby projects to benefit their voters.
“All budgets and manifesto commitments are controlled and managed by the NRM. It is therefore incumbent upon our colleagues from the other side to be patriotic and courageous enough to come to us whenever we invite them to such crucial service delivery retreats. In that way, they will even be able to get firsthand budgetary information and ask the right questions to serve their people better,” she said.
And indeed, the minister’s words were echoed by Wakiso District Speaker Isaac Muwonge from NUP who earlier explained that he had honored the invitation by the Manifesto Implementation Unit (MIU) to be able to understand the manifesto commitments made to his voters so that he can put the NRM government to task to fulfill them.
“I realized that I couldn’t ask the tough questions regarding service delivery when I’m not aware of what was promised and what’s within the budget. But now that I have got firsthand information I will be able to make follow-ups with the relevant offices to press for services for my people,” Muwonge said. He then urged his voters to desist from politics of hatred because social services do not conform to any sectarian inclinations like religion, tribe or religion, or even political party, among others.
Need For Extra Hard Work
In her closing remarks to central region manifesto stakeholders, Mama Babalanda highlighted the critical importance of the central region as a fulcrum of the country’s politics and development. Calling it the centre of industries, agriculture, innovations and all other aspects of national development, the minister urged the leaders of the region to more than double their efforts if the country is to achieve its national development goals and socioeconomic transformation agenda for all as envisioned by NDP III and the NRM Manifesto respectively.
On a happy note, the minister appreciated the MIU led by Mr. Willis Bashaasha who was flanked by his deputy Richard Bakojja for the meticulous organisation of the retreat.
She lauded the inclusion of new presenters like KCCA ED Dorothy Kisaka among the facilitators, saying it gives the local leaders a chance to get new information and also ask the tough questions aimed at improving service delivery to the masses.
She reiterated the need for team work and constant but efficient and effective communication of government programmes to help empower citizens to discerningly engage in government’s socioeconomic empowerment programmes like the Parish Development Model, Emyooga, OWC, Youth Livelihood Fund, UWEP, among others.
The closing ceremony was also attended by NALI Director, Brig. Charles Kisembo, who appealed to the manifesto implementers to grasp the NRM’ people-led service delivery ideology but most importantly to endeavor to implement it correctly so as to cause the desired change within the population.
“Avoid simply singing about the NRM ideology but endeavor to apply it in your work because practice is the true measure of (theoretical) ideology,” he said.