By Moses Byaruhanga
As the campaigns come to an end, Ugandans are now ready to decide who their next President will be.
With the recent presidential debate, it came out clear that President Museveni is a statesman that Uganda needs.
When he came on the stage he went around greeting every one.
That was the first plus for the old man with a heart for Ugandans. When it came to answering questions, although the time was short, he abided by the rules.
Many had anticipated that he wasn’t going to follow the rules.
Then with his facts, he had to bring Besigye to order on the issue of when was oil discovered in Uganda.
Besigye had told his usual lies that the oil had been discovered by the British in trying to dispute the president’s assertion that it was the Ugandans he trained in petroleum studies that discovered the oil.
He referred Besigye to a report written by the British in 1958 which had concluded that there was no oil in Uganda.
The president also had to correct Besigye that Uganda went to the Congo in order to guarantee our security.
That is Museveni for you. I have worked for him for over twenty years and I can assure every one that he is always thinking about his country and its people.
In whatever he does, President Museveni puts his people first.
It’s against that background that he started Universal Primary Education.
His target was to help the poor people who couldn’t afford school fees for their children.
I remember that time in 1997, some people thought that Museveni was going to fail with his UPE.
We only had 28,000 classrooms in the whole country with about 60,000 primary school teachers.
So the question was where are the classrooms and the teachers to teach these children.
As it had been predicted, the introduction of UPE saw the numbers in enrollment double from 2.5 million to 5 million children showing that many children from poor families who had no hope of seeing the inside of a classroom were given a chance to study by President Museveni.
He prioritized education taking the biggest share of the budget.
Classrooms were constructed or expanded and rehabilitated. Teachers were recruited.
Now Uganda has aver 100,000 classroom under UPE schools with 150,000 teachers.
The other day I met a student from Mukono University who told me that he had had his primary in a UPE school. There are many like that.
When it comes to health, Museveni found immunization in Uganda at 30%.
He prioritized immunization first by training local people in the communities on how to immunize. Thus revolutionized immunization.
He bought kerosene fridges that were stationed at parish headquarters to keep the vaccines.
He didn’t wait for the formal health centres of today and the hospitals were far away from the people.
Today immunization in Uganda is 95%. When you see that there are many youth in the country, it’s because of the Museveni success in immunization.
The children are no longer dying. Infant mortality rate is now 44 children per 1,000 live births compared to about 150 per 1,000 live births in 1986.
Then came the Museveni idea of bringing health services nearer the people by constructing health centre IIIs in every sub county and a health centre IV with a theatre in every electoral constituency.
Out of 1,500 sub counties and town councils, only 225 don’t have health centre IIIs.
At constituency level, out of 290 constituencies, only 100 don’t have health centre IVs. These are going to be a priority for President Museveni in the next five years.
His policy of bringing health services nearer the people has been successful.
As a result, the percentage of mothers giving birth under the supervision of qualified health workers is now 60% from 38% in 2010 and maternal mortality has improved from 435 mothers dying per 100,000 live birth to 360/100,000.
I feel proud to write about this because it has happened while I was seeing President Museveni pushing for it all these years I have worked under him.
He is always concerned about the poor and how to improve and better their lives. He is also always concerned about the security of his country.
When I started working with him in 1991, insurgency was at its highest in northern Uganda, Teso and West Nile.
Almost every month he would go to Gulu and camp there to help the NRA later UPDF to fight the war.
Many times he would go in field himself to take command. I remember vividly, traveling to Gulu many times in a convoy and a long the way after Karuma we would be escorted with mambas.
Today you can travel to any part of northern Uganda free at any time.
Buses plying to the north sometimes take off at 10 pm from Kampala and vice versa.
That is because Museveni put a lot of effort in ending the insurgency in the north.
It’s this peace and stability that the people of uganda credit him for and vote him back.
That is the Museveni I have worked with all this time concerned about the security of his people.
Which of these other candidates would take time to go to a war zone? After all some of them like Besigye and Amama were participants in government at that time but the north was a no go area for them preferring the comfort of Kampala.
President Museveni is now concerned about fighting poverty through the women fund, the youth fund, the micro finance fund and increasing the NAADS fund to give more inputs to the farmers to engage in production for the market.
For our people in Kampala, President will provide micro finance to the small businesses like those operating in arcades, markets, garages, etc, to support their businesses.
He will also give common user equipment to the people in garages, carpentry workshops etc.
For those who want to build houses, President Museveni will capitalise Housing Finance Bank with 60 billion to enable it increase its capacity to finance mortgages.
The Museveni I know who has a heart for Ugandans is the one I commend to you. He will create jobs for the youth he immunized and educated.