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Government resolutions achievable, only if we stop talking and act.

Government resolutions achievable, only if we stop talking and act.

From the 25th July to 2nd August, 2016 members of the NRM Central Executive Committee, Ministers and Permanent Secretaries led by President Museveni sat in Kyankwanzi for a retreat. The theme of the retreat was “Sustaining Stable Progress” Cabinet Cohesion, Efficiency and Effectiveness for enhanced service delivery and Job Creation.

In the same vein, religious leaders under their umbrella of Inter-Religious Council of Uganda led by Archbishop Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga during a prayer breakfast with parliamentarians at hotel Africana on August 30th presented proposals which they believe if implemented, will enable the country achieve the middle-income status (hNewvision Wednesday, August 31,2016 page 4).

Cabinet under the supervision of prime minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda then hired three wise men code named Dato to share best experiences and guide them on how to achieve their targets under this Hakuna Muchezo term.

The three wise men, Siri Idris Jala, the Malaysian minister for transformation, Sir Micheal Barber, the former head of the prime minister’s delivery unit in the UK and Prof. Micheal Sinclair, the executive director of the ministerial leadership programme at Harvard University while at Serena hotel on Thursday 22nd September told ministers who were clustered in a classroom-like environment to stop talking and act.

They also implored them to set monthly targets and assess public servants they supervise weekly borrowing a leaf from their country models.

It would seem logical to deal with Uganda’s challenges through comparing experiences from Malaysia or the UK, but we need to be cautious.

Rather than just be lectured, it would serve us better if the comparison is in holistic perspective. To do so carries the advantage of considering how our troubled beginnings relate to contemporary challenges.

The UK as a first world, and Malaysia, an upper middle-income country had sweeping and radical reforms in their government systems yet Uganda had a potentially polarized beginning and failed development strategy that was not organically constructed.

Although our ministers should be open to learning and deriving ample guidance from the expatriates, the wise men must consider our history, cultures, aspirations, problems and context. We must therefore tailor our development targets to our actual ad future needs.

Despite these crucial differences however, there is need to emphasize elements that are common to all prosperous nations in laying a firm foundation for stable progress. These include hard-work, efficiency, zero-tolerance to corruption and ideological orientation.

Initiatives such as ministers forming joint sectoral committees, known as labs, and working as a team to deliver particular services using set targets and deadlines are not new. The question is whether the current blotted cabinet of 81 ministers can truly commit to such cohesiveness.

Likewise, are the ministers or technocrats in the respective government ministries or departments the most competent in those dockets?

My view is that in Kisanja Hakuna Muchezo we need to get rid of institutionalised incompetence and consider merit for public service.  Remote consideration such as nepotism, sectarianism, religion, personal loyalties, technical know-who and know-how etc must be discarded if we are to achieve a middle income status.

Similarly, there is need to insulate the technocrats from the day to day political interference and political pressures of various interest groups.

If we are to achieve results and take responsibility, ministers should critically seek answers to the question whether middle income status target by 2020 is attainable with the current conditions obtaining in Uganda. If they discover that we are manifestly and realistically wrong, then we need to immediately re-strategy.

The writer is a political analyst

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