Lt Gen (Rtd) Henry Tumukunde (Independent)
Tumukunde, an erstwhile bush war comrade of Museveni’s, is running independently. In his post nomination speech, Tumukunde said the 2021 polls are the most important in his life because Uganda is facing “monumental challenges.”
He says since the promulgation of the Constitution (which he participated in drafting), the rights of citizens are no longer protected by legislation but rather by those who occupy the executive. He says Uganda’s public debt is spiraling out of control.
“We have Shs 4.5 trillion of public debt; this is ‘very deep debt’ for an economy like Uganda’s and I would want us to become very sensitive to the speed at which we borrow other tax payers’ money.”
“We shall tackle government spending. Apart from overspending, we also have too many leakages, which we must take care of,” Tumukunde said.
He says no single responsible government just looks on as teachers go without pay (as has been seen during the COVID-19 period).
“I intend to bring an end to the story of the hoe. I believe, like Malaysia hanged the hoe in 1972, we should be able to do the same as quickly as we can.”
“Our promise to Ugandans is very simple,” says Tumukunde; “We shall work on energy infrastructure.”
He says the private sector must look to his camp because his government will acquire cheap capital from the developed world and lend it to the SMEs which are creating employment and fostering economic growth.
Tumukunde says although SMEs which constitute about 80% of the country’s manufacturing output and provides 2.5 million jobs, only 30% of them live to celebrate their third anniversary due to difficulty in handling overhead costs.
Tumukunde also wants to merge Post Bank with Pride Microfinance and capitalize them with trillions of shillings per financial year to offer cheap credit to the SMEs. He also wants to create corporations to manage seed as well as agricultural export. A mining corporation as well as one for the fishing sector will be coming on board too.
The other sector Tumukunde thinks can boost Uganda’s economy is tourism; a sector he says was quite strong in the 1960s. He too will be focusing on Constitutionalism and building strong regional relations.
“Ugandans should come out and vote because Uganda is too important to be left to politicians,” he said.
Fred Mwesigye (Independent)
Another debutant in the 2021 presidential race is Fred Mwesigye, 38. Mwesigye who is an evangelical pastor and heads the House of God Ministries in Entebbe says he has examined Uganda’s politics and history and says it is time Uganda runs on a religious ideology.
Mwesigye says President Museveni is not growing any younger and this is the time to engage and take over the leadership of this country.
Mwesigye says that good manifestos alone cannot build a nation like Uganda. He says Uganda’s founding fathers laid the foundation for this nation using God (as seen and heard in the national motto and national anthem).
“If we speak and do things minus the consciousness of God; thinking that it is only us who have a plan for Uganda minus involving God, then our leaders will not be self-driven and accountable to the citizens,” he says.
“Our vision is a prosperous Godly nation in which citizens take pride. It is not enough to say Museveni is the problem because time will come when Museveni is no longer there,” he says.
Mwesigye says he wants to increase the budget of agriculture from the current 3% to 15%. To fix the negative attitude towards agriculture, especially among young people, Mwesigye says Uganda needs to have a public television modeled on National Geographic so that the station provides relevant agricultural information on a 24/7 basis. He says most youth don’t have jobs because of selfishness because agriculture can create jobs for them.
He also wants to revive cooperative societies to boost both small scale and commercial agricultural ventures.
Mwesigye is also keen on realizing the potential of the country’s mineral and oil and gas sector so that Ugandans can earn the right income from their resources. He says he will plug revenue leakages.
Above all, Mwesigye says he wants to implement all the good policies that already exist in the country. His other priorities will be fighting corruption and unemployment. Mwesigye says he will be a president who will tell the truth, listen and also put into practice what he promises.
John Katumba (Independent)
In his mid-20’s, John Katumba is the country’s youngest presidential contestant and is also running on an independent ticket. His dream almost evaporated on his nomination day when the car he was travelling in got a flat tyre mid-way through the journey to the nomination venue in Kyambogo.
He got out of the car sprinted to the venue over a kilometre away. At the venue, the EC said his documents were not processed because he had not paid the nomination fee of Shs 20 million.
His efforts to explain that he had instead carried the money to the venue because he does not have a Tax Identification Number with the Uganda Revenue Authority fell on deaf ears but the EC gave him another chance the following day when he cleared the financial obligation.
On being declared duly nominated by the EC, Katumba who is a fresh graduate from Makerere University told the press that he will put his focus on solving Uganda’s unemployment problem and land grabbing. He also wants to tackle the growing problem of human trafficking.
Speaking after nomination, Katumba said if he is voted into power, he will work hand in hand with all Ugandans to create a difference in the country. “I want to see Uganda shine,” he said, “I will fight unemployment.”
“As a fellow youth and fresh graduate from Makerere University, I know what it means when your mother, father or guardian pays fees and you go through the raucous and at the end of the day; you end up without a job.”
Katumba does not think land grabbers are aliens and so he intends to decisively deal with the land grabbers. “They are local “heartless” Ugandans,” he says. He also intends to fight poverty which he says is all over the country.” He says poverty starts in the minds of Ugandans; many of whom are resigned to their fate and they think nothing is possible. “I am going to fight poverty starting with our minds. There is nothing impossible when God is on our side. Many of us are limited by our minds because we think that doing some things is impossible,” he said.
He also thinks it is possible for all Ugandans to have decent houses and high quality roads. Without explaining why, he also thinks Uganda’s education system is embarrassing and needs to be fixed.
“My symbol (on the ballot) is a table. Why I chose this is because I want all matters to be solved on a table and not by using force. We need to understand that we are one and should not resort to violence.”