Questions to Mao and Besigye on federalism


Some of you asked me (I suppose because I am now seen as an enemy of the opposition), my take on the policy responses/platforms offered by Dr Besigye and Mr. Mao to the questions posed by Mr. Hussein Bogere of the Uganda Observer nnewspaper. Can Mr. Bogere clarify something for us: were the questions sent to the candidates who then sent back written responses?  Or did Mr. Bogere send the questions to the candidates in advance and then met with them to respond? Or the candidates showed up for the interview without prior knowledge of what Mr. Bogere would ask them.  This is important and should be routine disclosure.

That said, I have read the questions and the responses by the two opposition candidates.  What I came away with is a need for the candidates to clarify some of their proposals, but keep talking more policy and issues.

Mr. Mao says he will hold a referendum on federalism.  The questions I have for him are as follows: when will he hold the referendum on federalism? Will Mr. Mao produce the necessary bills, take them for debate before MPs, get them passed, and then take the federal proposals to the voters for ratification?

Or will Mr. Mao “leading by personal example” frame the federal question and take it to the voters to decide whether he should proceed with his federal proposals?  I would like to hear more about the sequencing of the referendum from Mr. Mao or his camp.

The other question I have for Mr.Mao comes from his response to the education-employment question that “Uganda needs to concentrate on polytechnic education. There are many people clad in neckties and suits with clipboards chasing very few jobs…what we need now is to tap into the global economy by having information and call centres the way India is doing, so that we can give international jobs locally. Secondly, we need an education system to equip our people with skills to make something, whether chairs or candles, or table clothes; you have something to sell and that means all you need to do is get a buyer.”

This needs to be clarified. Is Mr. Mao saying that Uganda needs a strong apprenticeship program?   If that is the case, what is it he will propose to do to develop such a scheme which is the envy of Germany (many European countries have tried to imitate Germany with limited success).

Regarding call centers, Uganda can start them today because it has some advantages, a) well educated workforce who speaks English. b) Favorable time difference, 5 hour difference from most of Europe, 8 hour difference with Eastern USA and Canada, 11 hour difference with Western USA and Canada etc.

What then is the problem?  High electricity rates, endless electricity shortages and high telephone rates. Ugandans in their stupidity have almost killed the land line so talk of call centers will remain pipe dream.  If these are improved, the manpower is there so Mr. Mao should talk more about the infrastructure.

Dr Besigye:

He says he will switch to federalism.  When?  Is he saying that he will table the necessary bills and once passed and he signs them into law, Uganda shall become a federal state?  In other words, unlike Mr. Mao, Dr Besigye is saying that Ugandans voters elect their MPs to make tough decisions and once they pass his federalism bills that will be it.  The differences between the two candidates could become clearer once they clarify and add meat to their proposals.

Dr Besigye promises to reduce current taxes. Which taxes? Let him be more specific. There is an issue for the opposition to lead.  Hint: the Heritage oil issue, section 89G and now the proposed amendment by Minister Omach.

Regarding irrigation-it is about time-how will Dr Besigye deal with the colonial treat that forbids Uganda-the source of the Nile-from using Nile water for irrigation while Egypt and Sudan can do so?  Will Dr Besigye capture rain water and use it for irrigation?  We need to hear more detailed proposals.

I hope that helps the candidates to clarify their proposals and sharpened them before rolling them out to the voters.





One Comment so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. john mukasa,

    I’m sure all of us would like to know more from these candidates,but surely we have to remember that its not promises uganda need. M7 did that, and what is there to show for. If Mao or Besigye took over,it will be a nitemare maybe bigger then Obama’s in America or coalition in uk. We should also learn to be smart in politics as known before,it takes a fools mouth to give idears to those in power to cost them a vote. NRM has turned uganda into a police state,which is involved in the compaigns as well. NRM has been known to bribe and confuse voters in the past especially MPs who convince voters in there local counties with offers that never exist. This is because the gov’t has the up hand in the finance.
    By Mao exposing his wise idears to any of the other vultures ,does not seem to be wise. I also think that at present uganda has so many graduates with crip boards etc,but uganda has nothing modern were all these job ready persons have trianed on to gain competence I.E techinology. Surely when Mr. Mao talks of aprentice, this is the area i think his talking about as most techinicians in uganda just gamble or cowboy tusks they come accross i.e uganda’s public servises/police,hospitals etc, We should not say Katwe repairs in the 21 century is the best uganda can give,nore any other look like in kampala city.
    I also think good governance from some one if supported is when issues are out to those who chose him in for a referendum. The coalition goverment in the UK now is up for some of that,to return some of the power back to the voters other than dictating to them.The tax payer pays the politicians and not the other way round.
    Uganda does not need dictator any more and if you read between the lines,who of the two candidates is capable of becoming one.

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