I first came into contact with some leaders in the NRM government at Ntare School in the early 1960s. We reconnected in the late 1970s in Lusaka, Zambia. I participated in their informal conversations and was impressed by what they were planning to do particularly in the economic and social sectors. The agenda was people-centered. To them everything – security, politics and economics – was to serve the interests of Ugandans who are sovereign.
This message of hope was contained in the ten-point program published in 1985, shortly before the NRA captured power in January 1986. Uganda would be united and prosper with no one left behind. Religion would be a matter between the individual and his/her God. The government would ensure that classrooms, teachers and instructional materials were available in sufficient quantity and quality. Adequate hospitals and dispensaries would be built, properly staffed with trained staff, and equipped with medicines and supplies. Preventive programs in line with primary health care requirements would also be provided. Households would have adequate and balanced diets for a healthy, productive and active life. These pronouncements and more endeared the NRM government to the people of Uganda who were prepared to do what it takes to make the government succeed in its noble mission, including postponing elections. The president, ministers and senior civil servants travelled abroad to sell their program which was well received in the international conferences and summits.