Last week, the National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED) was officially declared Uganda's latest political Party after reaching all necessary requirements to become one.
During the handover ceremony on October 3, 2022, Joseph Kabuleeta, the newly elected President of NEED, received its certificate and constitution from Shadrach Ogemba. NEED replaced the People’s United Movement, formed in 2005.
Speaking to the NEED president, a former Presidential candidate, journalist, sports analyst, and pastor, Joseph Kabuleeta informed that NEED is bringing something new to Ugandan politics; an ideology.
According to him, political parties in Uganda are run on ‘personality cults’ rather than ideologies.
“I don’t think there is any party with a clear ideology, not even NRM. “Steady Progress” and “Securing Your Future'' were just campaign slogans, and the same applies to other political parties. We, therefore, want to start something that people can identify with, other than merely being another party that wants to take over power or another force itself in the political space so that anyone that believes in what we advocate has the liberty to join us,” he said.
He explained that an Ideology is one of the ways to do away with a personality cult in Uganda since it makes ideology redundant. “All it does is structure the person as a savior with a cult following him. But when you have an ideology, it becomes issue-based politics lacking in our country,” Mr. Kabileeta stated.
He cited Kenya's William Ruto, whose ideology was a reduction of food prices through empowering farmers, a message he clearly stated in his campaigns. George Wajackoyah had an ideology of legalizing marijuana which Mr. Kabuleeta believes is something worth emulating.
“Regardless of how trivial the issues were, they were being advocated for. But no one was pushing for personalities. Therefore, it is useless attacking the personality of one another because they each were selling an ideology. Having an ideology as your focus eliminates unnecessary abuses, and calls for discussions about issues,” he said.
Mr. Kabuleeta says since the evolution of multiparty politics in 2005, all opposition candidates come with the motive of removing President Museveni but have nothing more to offer.
The former Presidential candidate explained that one of their ideologies is ‘Money In The Pocket’. “There is a system built by Museveni that takes money out of people’s pockets. People in Uganda work hard to accumulate money but it never sticks because the system designed takes it away from them through charging exorbitant taxes, for instance, high electricity prices, which Ugandans may not realize.”
He cited Uganda as being among the top 5 countries paying the highest electricity tariffs, yet reported as among the world’s poorest, something he believes makes Ugandans poor because investors that would set up factories to provide people with jobs cannot operate with such costs.
Kabuleeta further describes that at almost every level, somehow, the system takes away money from people, such as free government health care that people pay for, their poor capacity, which requires Ugandans to fly out for emergency health conditions, and in the long, drains their finances.
According to him, the population needs to be empowered to address the challenges. “There is a way every group of people can have money retained in their pockets with proper leadership without giving out government funds,” he said.
He discredited the Parish Development model that gives handouts to people instead of creating policies to help them accumulate wealth.
“The Parish development model is not meant to lift anyone from poverty because Museveni’s design is to keep people in it. If Museveni stopped the importation of Irish potatoes, the people in Kigezi who grow a lot of Irish potatoes would be helped. Suddenly, the demand for potatoes everywhere in Uganda would be high, and the prices would go high. With this approach, people would become rich without any Parish Development model. That is empowerment, and it is how people are lifted from poverty, not through handouts,” he deliberated.
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