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Jimmy Akena’s full end-of-year message to UPC, Ugandans 

(Last Updated On: 21 December 2023)

 

Kampala I The Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) party President and Lira City East MP, Jimmy Akena addressed the media on Wednesday at Uganda House. Below is his full statement:

As the year comes to a close and we reflect on what has transpired, it is most important to have a clear vision of where we are heading. Prior to the Covid pandemic the Party had sought to embark on grassroot mobilization. Subsequently after the 2021 General Elections the Party has been able to have some high level consultation in different regions as a precursor to rebuilding the Party and have functioning structures right from the branch to the top Organs of the Party. 

Following the tragic death of Col. Okello-Engola, I led the Congress Fraternity in the by-election where we focused on mobilizing and delivering victory to UPC on 6th July 2023. This victory is an inspiration that has helped the Party to gain momentum. It renewed vigor, confidence and focus across the Party leadership and the general membership of what can be achieved if we work together guided by the congress spirit, style and organization in driving the campaign agenda. UPC is determined to replicate this type of victory and offer leadership to this country.

After the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) launched the Roadmap for the 2025/2026 General Elections on 2nd August 2023, we launched the UPC National Mobilization tours to that effect at Apac Boma Grounds (through Kwania) on 8th September 2023. This was followed by the powerful rally which we held in Amolatar District on 4th November 2023.

All these mobilization tours are a pointer to what lies ahead for 2026 and a lot of such activities are to take shape across the country in 2024. This kind of process facilitates the recruitment of new members as you retain and consolidate the ground with old membership nourished by UPC core values.

As the Party mobilizes and recruits new members it is most important that they are transformed into well trained cadres, as such we have re-established the UPC Ideology School which is tasked with teaching the history of the Party and its ideology, beliefs, core values, policies and programmes, with a special focus on Youths who have been recruited to join the Party and need mentorship. I want to commend all partners who have and continue to supplement this mentorship and training role.

Also read: UPC declares nationwide mobilisation tours 

At the leadership level, we are finalizing the UPC National Program which includes streamlining of our membership and renewal of Party structures, thereby creating an opportunity for members to participate in framing the destiny of the Party and Country. I encourage all potential members to show up, be active in their respective branches and offer themselves for various elective positions. This call is intended to push the Party to another level as we strive to determine the destiny of our country, Uganda.

I must also encourage members to continue mobilizing and be on standby for the long-awaited LC I, II and Women Councils Elections so that we are ready by the time the Independent Electoral Commission releases its roadmap. It should also be recalled that on October 16, 2023 during my press conference, I did inform the entire membership that we will soon be calling on members of the National Council to prepare to deliberate and set into motion clear activities for the 2026 elections, members shall be informed accordingly.

I have been on record, and I want to reiterate that the single most valuable asset which Uganda has are her people whose welfare should be our greatest priority. That being the case, the peoples health, education and livelihood programs must underpin all infrastructural development, which is now to the contrary when our roads are in poor shape with potholes developing here and there, bridges breaking down while some caving in and a major recipe for trade bottlenecks as well as safety concerns for the citizens! With the rapid expansion of the East African Community, each Member State is obliged to develop transport and communication links for regional integration whose cornerstone is to foster cultural and trade relations.

Also read: CEO of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Mukasa on the new role, Uganda’s business environment 

There is a need to ensure that there is equity in the Education Sector. Education is becoming more of a commodity with limited availability and access in the different localities in the country! In order for parents to try to give their children an opportunity to succeed in life, they are forced to pay higher fees to schools seemingly offering quality education. While on the other hand, the teachers’ condition of service is not sacrosanct with their pivotal role in providing our children with the necessary knowledge and skills to be competitive in the modern world. 

This in itself affects the quality of education as the teachers, who are key in the learning process are ever demoralized. We need to open our eyes to the reality that we live in a very competitive globalized world that depends on well-trained man-power. As UPC, we shall therefore pay the utmost attention to quality education that can produce highly skilled and versatile manpower, ready to compete on the global market. UPC has also noted with concern that most of the government owned schools, colleges and universities are in terrible shape. Reinvesting in them is an absolute necessity. 

The situation is not any better in the health sector as many of the facilities are equally in bad shape. The necessary medical equipment which facilitates the health services are scarce and non-existent in some of our health outlets hence the overflow referrals of medical cases that would be managed at lower level to both Regional and National Referral Hospitals where also getting real-time service is a tall order.

In other cases where some facilities are available it is not uncommon for patients to go to the government facility for diagnosis but are forced to seek for their prescriptions from outside the facility. The working conditions of medical staff in Government are very constantly being highlighted by their demands for better remuneration. UPC recognises that the medical workers are on the frontline in preventing diseases from devastating the lives of citizens across the nation and will seek to domesticate the Abuja Declaration on Health that recommends governments in Africa to be spending at least 15% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

UPC recognizes that greater focus and concern need to be put in the agricultural sector as it provides a livelihood for the majority of Ugandans. It is important that we adequately and effectively utilize our natural advantages in various areas in the agricultural sector to supply the regional markets. There is a need to provide the necessary support to the sector to ensure that we do not compromise on our quality and standards of agricultural produce! 

The recent rejections of some of our products by the immediate neighboring countries (Kenya and South Sudan) on poor quality grounds are a clear testimony that we erred on the move and this calls for restoration of the key institutions that used to ensure standards since other more lucrative markets require much higher standards.

As UPC, it remains our duty to ensure that the farmers should get access to good quality agricultural inputs like seeds, fertilizers and drugs and not be left to the mercy of unscrupulous middlemen in both the supply of inputs and the offtake of the produce. More effort is needed towards providing farmers with better knowledge and skills to increase their productivity and also to be able to engage in climate smart agriculture.

UPC holds the view that Uganda needs specialized financial institutions to support the farmers in ways in which the Cooperative Bank was able to support the cooperatives to purchase and market produce. We believe that there is a need to revisit the concept of specialized marketing institutions, (ie improved and updated Marketing Boards) to help find better markets for all that we produce as well as instituting and facilitating commercial attaches in our foreign missions.

Our focus in the coming year will be geared towards laying a vision that will see Uganda developing equitably and at a much faster pace where all its component parts can be engaged productively for the betterment of all its citizens. As we mobilize and constitute the Party structures, UPC will be laying out its vision for a better Uganda and inviting citizens to boldly participate in realizing that just, peaceful and prosperous Uganda, where all its citizens have equal opportunities and equitable access to national resources.

To the members of the public, you need to be very careful and vigilant while marking your festive celebrations. The ugly scenes of road accidents across the country and the Freedom City stampede at the eve of 2022 as well as the recent bomb blasts are still fresh in our minds. All road users are encouraged to respect and exhibit a high degree of road discipline as our roads are always overwhelmed during festive seasons with a lot of movements of both people and goods. As you spend and shop for your Christmas celebrations, I encourage you to save some money and be mindful of the times ahead which includes, but is not limited to, school fees for our children.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. May you have the gift of faith, the blessing of hope and the peace of His love in this Christmas season and always!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year – 2024

For God and My Country

 

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