Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) Vice Chancellor Professor Venansius Baryamureeba has declared his bid to stand for Presidency in 2016.
In his acceptance speech that was published on his official website, Prof Barya accepted the Presidential nomination by Progressive Ugandans.
“Therefore, with a deep sense of duty and commitment, I accept the Presidential nomination by Progressive Ugandans. I accept it without any reservations and I promise to devote every effort of body, mind and spirit to lead the Progressive Ugandans to victory in the 2016 Presidential Election and our country to greatness,” said Barya.
He also revealed that he is the best candidate and he will win come 2016.
“I want to assure you here and now that I am the best candidate for President in 2016. My record and views spanning several years in several key sectors like education, health, agriculture, job creation, corruption, institutional building, regional governments, culture and the state, church and the state, and resisting pressure from any source in the performance of my public and private duties should be clear by now to everyone.”
Below is Baryamureeba’s acceptance speech.
Ladies and Gentlemen
My name Baryamureeba –They Will See Him, embodies “dreams from my father’’. My father always told me that I was born to lead, to excel and to be great.
Therefore, with a deep sense of duty and commitment, I accept the Presidential nomination by Progressive Ugandans. I accept it without any reservations and I promise to devote every effort of body, mind and spirit to lead the Progressive Ugandans to victory in the 2016 Presidential Election and our country to greatness. Progressive Ugandans are Ugandans that put peoples’ progress first. Thus, the Progressive Ugandans’ platform is one on which I can run with enthusiasm and conviction and win the 2016 Presidential election.
I am grateful that in the coming months I can rely on so many great citizens of this country who believe in the progress of our country. I am proud of the contrast with the National Resistance Movement Organisation (NRM-O) competitor; his key campaign issues are out of touch with reality amongst most Ugandans. Infrastructure for roads, railways and energy, though long over due, cannot take precedence over education, health, agriculture and job creation for a country such as ours. Similarly the other Presidential candidates of parties like the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) and Democratic Party (DP) do not resonate with the young generation, which is the post 1986 generation that is not concerned with either the past struggles that brought NRM-O to power in 1986 or the struggles that led to independence of Uganda in 1962.
I am fully aware of the fact that the Progressive Ugandans’ platform has taken on what many regard as a hazardous risk by nominating someone of my tribe and faith. Hazardous in the sense that President Museveni my fellow tribesman has been President for over 30 consecutive years and Uganda since Independence in 1962 has never had a catholic President. These gallant and patriotic Ugandans have placed their confidence in the Ugandan people, and in their ability to render a free and fair judgment and to uphold the constitution and to vote for the best candidate regardless of tribe, religion, gender or political party affiliation.
I want to assure you here and now that I am the best candidate for President in 2016. My record and views spanning several years in several key sectors like education, health, agriculture, job creation, corruption, institutional building, regional governments, culture and the state, church and the state, and resisting pressure from any source in the performance of my public and private duties should be clear by now to everyone.
I hope that no Ugandan, considering the really critical issues facing this country, will waste his franchise by voting either for me or against me solely on account of my tribe, religious affiliation or political affiliation. It is not necessary. I want you to vote for me because I am the best candidate to take Uganda forward. I mention all of this only because this country faces so many serious challenges, so many great opportunities, and so many burdensome responsibilities that I hope that it is to those great matters that we can address ourselves in the coming months.
Under any circumstances, however, the victory we seek in 2016 Presidential election will not be easy. We all know that in our hearts. We recognize the power of the forces that will be aligned against us. We know they will invoke titles like General on behalf of the NRM-O or FDC candidate–despite the fact that being a good President has nothing to do with having a military rank. It will definitely not be easy to campaign against President Museveni who has made most Ugandans believe that he is the alpha and omega. He has turned the majority of voters into beggars as evidenced in the numerous presidential pledges and handouts. This is a man who has built the military and intelligence agencies, albeit for his own intentions, but killed all other key institutions.
Therefore the post Museveni President has to have a proven record of building institutions but also be able to allow regional governments to operate autonomously and also ensure independence and separation of powers among the three arms of government. But most importantly we need a President who will prioritise the sectors such as education, health, agriculture, and job creation that are key to human and economic development of Uganda.
After over 30 years of drugged and fitful sleep, Uganda needs strong, creative and transformative leadership at State House. President Museveni’s generation, together with all his Bush-war comrades have had an opportunity to lead this country for the last 30 years and now is time for the current generation to lead our country to greatness. However, we shall forever be grateful to President Museveni’s Government, the police, the armed and security forces for the peace and security Uganda has enjoyed over the years.
For the employed like teachers, nurses and causal workers that cannot even meet their basic needs because of low wages and salaries, they will know how to vote without our telling them. For the families forced illegally from their bibanja (land) will know how to vote without our telling them. The unemployed especially the youth will know how to vote without our telling them. For Ugandans that believe in charity begins at home and who want a federal system of government for Uganda as promoted by President Museveni at East African Community Level know how to vote without our telling them. For Ugandans who want the religious and cultural leaders to perform their duties and exercise their rights without unconstitutional restrictions from the state know how to vote without our telling them. For the regions whose leadership have been handcuffed and disabled to ensure they do not promote the development of their regions will know how to vote without our telling them. For Ugandans that want to end bad politics, they will know how to vote without our telling them. The families without descent medical care, the families without decent homes, the families without good schools for their children, the families without adequate food and the families without descent income to sustain their families – they all know that it’s time for change. As President Barack Obama said during his primary campaign on February 5, 2008 ‘’The time for change is now; we are the ones we’ve been waiting for; we are the change that we seek. ‘’
The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent, and the stakes too high—to permit status quo and therefore change is the only hope for a better Uganda. We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.
As Winston Churchill said in his address to the House of Commons on June 18, 1940 ‘’If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future.’’ Today our concern must be with the future of our country, Uganda. For the world is changing and the old ways will not do. More than 60 years ago, a technological revolution on the farm led to an output explosion yet in Uganda today more than 80% of the farmers still use a hoe, a primitive colonial farm tool. An urban population explosion has overcrowded our urban services like hospital and school services, cluttered up our suburbs, and increased the squalor of our slums. A peaceful revolution for human rights–demanding an end to abuse of human rights and right to privacy, freedom of speech and assembly in all parts of our community life–has strained at the leashes imposed by timid NRM-O executive leadership through enforcement of bad laws such as Regulations of Interception of Communications Act 2010 and Public Order Management Act 2013. Undermining of our culture that provides a sense of belonging, unity and purpose has led to many Ugandans losing their way, their will and their sense of historic purpose.
It is time, in short, for a new generation of leadership–new men and women to cope with new problems and new opportunities. All over the world, in the developed and developing nations, young men and women are coming to power–men and women who are not bound by the traditions of the past—men and women who are not blinded by the old fears and hates and rivalries– young men and women who can cast off the old slogans and delusions and suspicions. The majority of Ugandans today were born after independence in 1962 and more than 60% of Ugandans were born after the National Resistance Army (NRA) took over power on January 26, 1986. So many Ugandans are not trapped into who contributed what in the independence struggle and the NRA war but are more concerned about their future. The NRM-O candidate belongs to the old generation that is trapped in pre-independence and the NRA war contributions but has no connection to the current generation in terms of what they feel and want this country to do for them. As they demand for quality education, quality health services, modernisation of agriculture and job creation President Museveni has focused on infrastructure i.e. roads, power dams and recently railways at the expense of these other sectors, which is at variance with the priorities of Uganda if we are to have inclusive development into a middle-income country. So President Museveni has turned NRM-O into a party of the past. His speeches are generalities from the past achievements and failures since January 29, 1986 when he was first sworn in as President of Uganda. NRM-O pledge is a pledge to the status quo–and today there can be no status quo.
With millions of Ugandans still using a hoe as a farm tool, with so many graduates unemployed, with the whole country lacking good health care services and with the majority of Ugandans getting poor education right from primary to University; For the problems are not all solved and the battles are not all won–and we stand here today on the edge of a New beginning –the beginning of the 2016 Transformative Leadership–a leadership that will explore all opportunities and minimize all threats to bring hope and prosperity to the people of Uganda.
President Museveni since 1986 has made all sorts of promises in education, health, agriculture and job creation, which are the key sectors of any economy and fulfilled almost none. Ugandans in the past have been entertained to programs like education for all, plan for modernisation of agriculture, National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), let everybody be rich (bonabagaggawale), health for all, youth livelihood program etc that have ended up as big failures.
The new beginning I speak of will ensure that all Ugandans have quality education and health services, and descent income through setting a realistic minimum wage, job creation, expansion of employment opportunities, industrialization and modernisation of agriculture among others. The new beginning also sums up what I intend to ask of Ugandans. It appeals to their pride, not to their pocketbook–it holds out the promise of more sacrifice and nation building. I believe the times demand new invention, innovation, imagination, decision and change of the status quo. I am asking each and every Ugandan to take part in this new beginning.
As JF Kennedy in his Address Accepting the Democratic Party Nomination for the Presidency of the United States, Los Angeles, CA, July 15, 1960 said and I quote: ‘’ My call is to the young in heart, regardless of age–to all who respond to the Scriptural call: “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed. For courage–not complacency–is our need today–leadership–not salesmanship. And the only valid test of leadership is the ability to lead, and lead vigorously. A tired nation, said David Lloyd George, is a Tory nation–and the United States (US) today cannot afford to be either tired or Tory.’’ End of quote.
Uganda today is in the same state the US was in 1960, and we cannot afford to be a tired nation and therefore we must change the tired leadership of President Museveni if Uganda is to progress to greatness. But at all times we must be reminded that our ends will not be won by rhetoric, and we can have faith in the future only if we have faith in ourselves.
As Ugandans we need to make a choice of whether we want to move backwards or forwards. That is the choice our country must make–a choice that lies not merely among Presidential candidates or political parties but between the public interest and private comfort–between national greatness and national decline–between the fresh air of progress and the stale, dank atmosphere of “normalcy”–between determined dedication and creeping mediocrity. The whole of the East African Community waits upon our decision. A whole world looks to see what we will do. We cannot fail their trust, we cannot fail to try. “ As Plato said, the heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.” This country needs a better President and by all standards I am the best Presidential candidate for the 2016 Presidential election. So all I ask of Ugandans across the political divide is to come out in big numbers on the voting day and vote for me overwhelmingly.
Recalling our history, which has been characterised by political and constitutional instability it is important that before I end this speech I talk about the need for politics, culture and religion to co-exist. Noting that political, religious and cultural institutions have been there since time immemorial, we need to search for a constitutional relationship between politics, religion and culture. Even when it came to debating the constitution of Uganda before independence, the cultural and religious leaders were invited to the Legislative Council (LEGCO) to take part in the debate. Therefore, the interreligious council and all recognized cultural institutions must have an advisory role embodied in the national constitution.
We must acknowledge and appreciate that every region of Uganda has a cultural tradition handed down from past generations that must be preserved. As a matter of fact a cultural leader acts as a focus for regional identity, unity and pride; giving a sense of stability and continuity; officially recognizing success and excellence; and in some cases supporting the idea of voluntary and community service.
On the other hand, in as far as religious leaders are concerned, the prophetic dimension of their ministry demands that their voice be heard. God Almighty has appointed the charge of the human race to two powers: the Church and the State. Whatever is consecrated to God i.e. all matters concerning the spiritual (souls, religious and moral) is governed by the Church who judges them. The Church has a duty to form people’s consciences. As a matter of fact, after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, He commissioned Peter to feed and tender his flock (John 21: 15-19) and so the role of the church in rallying for the welfare and wellbeing of mankind is undisputed.
Furthermore, whatever concerns the government of the people in temporal matters belongs to the realm of the State (Archbishop Dr. Joseph Kiwanuka, 1961). More importantly, it’s the duty of the state to leave the Church free to fulfill her duties and even defend her against her enemies. The state must recognize that it’s bound by the laws of God. Civil rulers have a duty to remember that God is the authority above them and that He rules over everybody on earth and in Heaven (Romans 13.1). It’s no wonder that Uganda’s motto is ‘’For God and My Country’’; a motto depicting a country founded and routed in God’s Principles.
Many religious leaders including Archbishop Janani Luwum, Prince Badru Kakungulu Wasajja and Archbishop Dr. Joseph Kiwanuka among others made tremendous contributions on politics, culture and religion. Fellow Ugandans, for emphasis allow me quote a few more examples from the Catholic Church but there are many examples in other religions. The first Cardinal in Uganda, His Eminence Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga in a 1989 booklet in Luganda entitled Eby’obufuzi mu Uganda 1945-1989 wondered why Uganda was in such deplorable state, although Sir. Winston Churchill had called it the Pearl of Africa. He concluded that Uganda was not moving forward because the leaders were repeating past mistakes. Even as early as 1989, it was clear then that the NRM-O government was hell bent on making bad amendments to the 1995 constitution that would lead to political and constitution instability that had charactersied our past. The several bad amendments to the constitution were followed by the removal of presidential term limits from our constitution in 2005; an act that was resisted by eminent personalities including His Eminence Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala. The removal of Presidential term limits set the country back on the path of destruction as it gave President Museveni false hope to pursue a life Presidency at all costs. So, in 2009 Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala in a foreword for a book entitled Uganda: Still the Pearl of Africa stated that ‘’it was now time for us all to make a self-evaluation, a self-examination and a self-criticism that would help us to arm ourselves for the task of rediscovering our glory and of living up to its demands’’. In order to avoid past mistakes, Archbishop Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga In his Pastoral Letter of September 2011 advised that Uganda must exercise zero tolerance to corruption, adopt a federal system of government and plan and promote dialogue among politics, culture and religion.
By repeating past mistakes coupled with accepting and entrenching corruption in government, President Museveni has gradually transformed himself into Saul (1 Samuel 15: 23). So just like God replaced Saul with David (2 Samuel 5: 1-3) come 2016, God shall replace President Museveni with Prof. Baryamureeba as President of Uganda in 2016 so that all nations may know that Civil rulers have a duty to remember that God is the authority above them and that He rules over everybody on earth and in Heaven (Romans 13.1).
Fellow Ugandans, reshaping Uganda’s destiny is the task ahead. Just as Kwame Nkrumah said at Ghana’s independence on 6th March 1957 and I quote; “I am depending upon the millions of the country, and the chiefs and people, to help me to reshape the destiny of this country. We are prepared to pick it up and make it a nation that will be respected by every nation in the world. We know we are going to have difficult beginnings, but again, I’m relying upon your support, I’m relying upon your hard work. We have awakened. We will not sleep anymore.” End of quote.
I need not say much more. But after 58 years of that memorable speech by Kwame Nkrumah at the dawn of African Hope and Independence, we have awakened and we shall not sleep any more.
It has been a long road since Ugandans craved for transformative leadership uptill today when I accept the nomination for the Presidency of Uganda 2016-2021. Now begins another long journey, taking me into your villages and homes all over Uganda. Give me your help, your hand, your voice, and your vote. Recall with me the words of Isaiah 40:31 “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
As we face the coming challenge, we too, shall wait upon the Lord, and ask that he renew our strength. Then shall we be equal to the test. Then we shall not be weary. And then we shall prevail come 2016 Presidential election.
Fellow Ugandans, a city that is set upon a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Progressive Ugandans, let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5: 14-16). It is only and only then that “You Will Be As a Shining City Upon a Hill”. God bless you and God Bless Uganda. For God and My Country, I thank you.