Good afternoon Lira,
My name is Amama Mbabazi and I thank you for coming and receiving me so warmly.
I am glad to be here at John Akii Bua stadium. You all don’t know this but in 1967 when I was a young man; we were preparing for the 1968 Olympics. I was a runner then and so I was selected on the team to go to Mexico.
At one of our last trainings, I ran ahead of Akii Bua in the 400-meter hurdle until the last hurdle where he overtook me. I promised myself that I would beat him in Mexico. I was into all sorts of sports then including rugby. We were also preparing for rugby 7s game with England and unfortunately, I got an injury so I could not go to Mexico for hurdles nor could I play in the rugby competition.
I joked with John that by the time he came back from Mexico I would be ready to go with him to Munich in 1972 but unfortunately, Amin came to power. I was proud of John Akii Bua when history was made in Munich and he won. He had put Uganda on the map.
I therefore pledge to build a stadium fitting of his memory right here.
Many speakers before me have told you the reasons why I am standing. The reasons are few, but very strong. Many of you have been asking these questions: “You have been close to the President for more than 40 years, you have been in the NRM government from start to last year; What do you plan to do that you have not already done?
I am committed to bringing change to our society. In the last 53 years, governments have been changing violently and unfortunately for each change, there has been shedding of blood. Not the leader’s blood but that of the ordinary people.There has been destruction as well that accompanies this violent change. We do not want to see this.
We are committed to bringing peaceful transition of power and this will be the first time in Uganda. A vote for me is a vote for peaceful and stable change of power.
Lango is an industrious region with industrious people. However we need a government that understands this and will help to work on issues affecting the region.
Firstly, the state of the roads especially the network of roads that connect all the districts in the region need to be worked on. Lira should be connected to Amolatar, Otuke and so on.
This easing of road transportation would impact positively on the economic growth of the area. The important road connecting Masindi port to Lira all the way to Kitgum will be one of our priority roads.
Through consultation with your leaders, I know that your health centres are in dire straits. We have documented very well the state of your hospitals and health centres. In many cases instead of providing you curative help; they have turned into death traps.
This will be worked on as a matter of urgency when I am elected President.
Maternal mortality remains a big problem in Uganda. There are 16-19 women that die in childbirth. This can be avoided but only if we first of all pay health workers a better salary such that they may pay better attention to their work and serve you better. We also need to focus on improving the quality of care and service from these Health workers. It is not enough to put up buildings, but they must be staffed with competent personnel and run efficiently.
Education remains one of Uganda’s challenges. Despite the introduction of UPE and USE, we have to tackle school attendance and quality of education in terms of teachers standards. We also need to find teachers to fill up all the vacancies and improve their pay as well as their housing situation.
This ties directly to expanding the economy so that we can widen the tax base and have the ability to in turn improve the standard of living of our teachers.
We who are Going Forward believe we can do it with focus.
The area of Lango is well known for its agriculture and we shall talk about this extensively when we begin the constituency rallies in this region. One of the proposals we shall discuss which is also in our manifesto is how to uplift our citizens through the advanced sub county model.
This models in brief means we must tie productivity to cooperatives and community banks. These would be different from the SACCOs that we have now. The model would ensure that nobody gets left behind.
I am sure you all know what a SACCO is? A SACCO is a union of people who willingly come together to save so that they may be able through the union to borrow from this fund. This is not bad but we are saying that savings and productivity are linked so cooperatives based on production are very necessary to spur growth and savings.
Lira was once a shining example of industry and it can be again.We will build a center at each sub county of the Advanced Sub county Model. We shall have a cooperative office for teachers, farmers, transporters (boda bodas, buses) among others at this sub county office.We also propose a basic commodities exchange. Today as it stands, the buyer determines the price of your commodity.
With cooperative and commodities exchange this will not be possible as you will have collective bargaining power.The commodities exchange will also protect you from price fluctuation. And if you have surplus grain and there is still no market for it, the Silo will help you store, grade, and process it. You will be given a warehousing receipt that can be taken to the bank for loan purposes.
For the pensioners present here today, I would like to repeat what I have been saying at all other rallies. Nobody will be able to play around with pensioners money.
So, if you want change, your vote is the most powerful tool. Vote for Amama or the Chair, which is my symbol. On the day you vote, ask yourself one question. Am I voting to maintain the status quo or to see a better Uganda that works for everyone?
Please go out and vote on Election Day; let no one remain behind. Even if someone is sick, bring them to the polling station because this is going to be historic.
Finally, I would like us to agree that the Country belongs to all of us and we must all guard our peace and stability jealously.
I know that this is the birthplace of our second President Milton Obote and I would like to use this opportunity to thank him and all the forefathers for the role they played in our country’s Independence.
We are taking a long journey where each of us has something to contribute. We do so knowing each generation must plan and prepare for the next generation. It is the duty of each generation to guard their peace and stability and to do this I request two things.
- Go and vote.
- After voting, don’t leave. Remain until your votes have been counted and results declared. There will be no cheating at the polling station if you do that.So, don’t be intimidated, your vote will be protected and your victory protected as well.
Thank you very much, May God bless you.