Four-time presidential candidate Kizza Besigye has rolled out what he has termed as 24-crisis action points for the country, saying it is part of the build up to his Plan B.
In what he calls prevailing national crises and discontent in Uganda, Dr Besigye highlights mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic, corruption, marginalisation, inequality of representation, healthcare crisis, and land grabbing among the country’s top crises.
In a booklet launched by his newly-found People’s Front for Transition, Dr Besigye also cites what he calls ‘education apartheid’, impunity, State capture, the tax burden, poverty, youth unemployment, lack of democracy, mismanagement of oil and gas resources, environment and other natural resources, human trafficking, and open-ended refugee policy, among other crisis action points.
“We first want to make people see the crisis and have an open debate about these matters. When everyone has appreciated that our country is in a crisis, then we can take action to remove the junta,” Dr Besigye said during the launch of the crisis points.
But government has dismissed Dr Besigye’s list of grievances saying they are his personal viewpoints and not shared national viewpoints.
Mr Suubi Kiwanuka, the deputy executive director of government’s Uganda Media Centre, yesterday told Saturday Monitor, while responding to some of the issues raised by Dr Besigye that the country was headed in the right direction.
“You need to do some research, but as a country, our debt to GDP [Gross Domestic Product] ratio is okay. The debt burden we have is not so big as compared to other countries with worse figures, nonetheless, their economy is flourishing. Dr Besigye is a private citizen and he is free to say whatever he wants and those issues are his, not for the country,” Mr Kiwanuka said.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) data for 2020 puts Uganda’s debt to GDP ratio at 49 percent.
Early this year, the Auditor General warned about Uganda’s surging public debt, which now stands at 41 percent of GDP.
He warned that if government acquires more loans, the debt will hit the 50 percent cap of debt-to-GDP ratio, which the IMF states as the limit.
But Mr Kiwanuka dismisses the concerns, saying: “This is no issue and the economy is growing at 3.5 percent despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the World Bank says Uganda’s GDP as of 2020, was growing at 2.9 percent down from 6.8 percent nearly two years ago.
Asked about corruption, which Dr Besigye cites as one of the country’s crises, Mr Kiwanuka said: “There could be cases of corruption, but the President has since come out very strongly against it and as you can see we have a new Inspector General of Government (IGG) to weed out the corrupt. This should not worry Ugandans because it is being handled.”
However, a new IGG report indicates that Uganda is losing about Shs20 trillion to corruption per year.
This is nearly more than half the government annual national budget.
At the launch of his 24-points crisis action plan on Thursday, Dr Besigye and team did not provide tangible solutions to the issues, but promised to rally the country to press President Museveni into relinquishing power.
He ruled out elections as one of the avenues of forging change of governance.
But this is not the first time that Dr Besigye is dismissing elections as a workable way of changing government.
After the 2011 elections, he vowed not to subject himself to another vote, only to make a U-turn and stand for elections in 2016 on the ticket of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), a party he co-founded.
At the launch, Dr Besigye said: “I am surprised that some people still ask Besigye where Plan B is. Even when it is right in front of them. We are revealing Plan B in episodes, we bring the hand, the leg, stomach and before you know the whole body will be out. But we first have to let people know the crisis our country is in,” he added.
Asked about the solutions to the crises, Mr Wafula Oguttu, the PFT spokesperson, said if their mission works, they will bring out the layout of the solution to the crises.
“We shall bring the solutions soon. We are going to rally the country into civil disobedience and President Museveni will open negotiations with the people. We shall not be boxed into any election,” Mr Wafula said.
Dr Besigye also, without detailing the methodology of his action plan, indicated that 90 percent of the country is in crisis, nine percent is helping the one keep in comfort which he says needs to change immediately they take power.
“All figures available are not reflective of the reality of the crises registry,” Dr Besigye said.
“The indices, for instance, of the education system, can reflect what I am talking about. 90 percent of the students are in Uganda Primary Education (UPE) and Uganda Secondary Education (USE), nine percent in private schools and one percent in international schools,” he said.
This is not the first time Dr Besigye is rallying the country into civil obedience.
Shortly after the 2011 elections, Dr Besigye rallied people in a Walk to Work protest, citing the harsh economic realities then prevalent across the country .
List of crises
1. Mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic
2. The corruption pandemic
3. The health care crisis
4. Marginalisation, tribalism, nepotism and domination
5. Land grabbing
6. Education apartheid
8. State capture
9. Tax burden
10. Deliberate neglect, impoverishment and destruction of livelihoods
11. Failure to address youth poverty, unemployment and exclusion
12. Undermining multi-party democracy and assault of political Opposition
13. Refusal to conduct credible free and fair elections
14. Refusal to transfer power peacefully
15. Refusal to devolve power
16. Mismanagement of the environmental and natural resources
17. Exploitation of the women cause
18. Human trafficking
19. Open-ended refugee policy.
20. Irresponsible borrowing
21. Dictatorship , tyranny and overstay in power.
22. Deliberate erosion of national ethos
23. The personalisation of the military, police and security services
24. A blotted foreign policy
Source: Daily Monitor