OPINION: The parish development modal by NRM government is a hoax
By Isaah Otto Amiza
Oyam—31, August 2021: When the National Resistance Army (NRA) rebels of now President Yoweri Kaguta T. Museveni took power from the Tito Okello’s military junta, I was hardly eight (8) years old. Museveni dismantled all the existing governance structures and established new ones through the resistance councils from the village to central government.
The social and economic infrastructures laid down by UPC government were deliberately destroyed and others possessed by individuals in his NRM government.
This gave a terrible blow to households and individual families who were reliant on already established income structures, like cooperatives, industrial jobs and civil service. The NRA government was quick to reward their strategic people with looted public wealth and jobs, leaving the common person in a total economic and social dilemma.
After a short while, the NRA introduced the new projects disguised as projects aimed at improving household incomes in order to alleviate poverty among the common people.
They introduced the Entandikwa (this flopped miserably) as a social project to help improve household incomes. Entandikwa ended in the hands of a few NRA converts who had become Resistance Council (RC) members and cadres at local governments. The general public got nothing.
It soon became easy for Museveni and his NRA to convince the donor community and key political leaders using the projects tagged in the names of the community’s empowerment and poverty alleviation. The NRA government found it very strategic to generate such schemes/ projects to open up opportunities for cronies and close relatives of the regime’s managers to benefit directly from state coffers with fewer difficulties.
It soon became a governance tool, and the shortest means to siphon public money to reward the actors in government.
After Entandikwa disappearing in thin air with no trace, there came projects like Northern Uganda Rehabilitation Program (NURP), NUSAF, and PRDP, among others. All the above had little impact and never improved the quality of life of the common people.
It became a norm, where besides streamlined programs of government, the so- called household poverty alleviation projects were introduced one after the other. NAADS, Bonagaggawale, Operation Wealth Creation, SACCOS all came and now laughable Emyooga. And now government has adopted a new one called the Parish Development Model.
In all these projects, three things are similar and common:
- They designed the titles of the projects in Luganda to confuse the wider non-Luganda speakers.
- They channeled the projects through security, or intelligence networks with little authority in the hands of elected leaders.
- The beneficiaries are the same people who are selected by security and intelligence structures of the NRM government.
They designed these initiatives for political and social rewards as opposed to improving household incomes and poverty alleviation among the common person.
In the latest episodes, the President through his District and City representatives (the RDCs, RCCs, et al.), and the military officers have taken full control of key economic centers to ensure that those presumed to be closer or related to the President and his system are identified and rewarded with state funded projects meant for the common people.
It’s unfortunate that, most, if not all, these projects are either borrowed loans or donations secured in the names of poverty alleviation for the common wananchi, which either attracts debts repayment or accountability by the common people.
Before a while, there was Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) which are manned and controlled by the soldiers or RDCs whose major roles are to ensure that the opposing voices are suppressed and intimidated for ease of the loot and malpractices related to corruption, greed and mismanagement.
It’s therefore common knowledge, that, the new idea of Parish Development Model (PDM) may be well conceived and yet there are no well established and empowered structures at the parishes to man and supervise the implementation of this project, giving open access to looters of the regime opportunity to steal with impunity the 100 million shillings allocated to each parish.
The parishes currently do not exist as an administrative structure with a functional structure with exception of the PDC and the Parish Chief (Janago), who doubles as the implementing agency and the planning unit.
Today, besides the allocation of funds to the parishes without any designed criteria for selection of beneficiaries, implementation strategy and human resources to manage the projects are not adequate.
It’s now clearer to note that, after the elections of 2021, President Museveni was so much determined to reward those who supported him as a person and his NRM party.
The author is a political activist and former MP, Oyam County South.