HAVE you ever heard about Revolutionary guards Uganda? Who are they and what are they doing? Is it about who to take overy after President Museveni? Who are the funders and what is their mission?
News Editor Online has interacted with Arua businessman Jackson Lee Atima, the coordinator of Revolutionary Guards Uganda in West Nile.
NE: What is Revolutionary Guards Uganda about?
Atima: It is an organisation, which is intending to guard the achievements of the revolutionary in this country. Here we are talking about the progress and transformation ushered in by the NRA/M government in 1986, which has been the cornerstone of the development that people are today witnessing. We act as a delivery vehicle for social, political and economic transformation. Its foundation is built around a network of progressive NRM cadres who believe in the revolutionary ideology and are committed to defend, safeguard the core values and principles of: Democracy, Patriotism, Social Economic Transformation and Pan-Africanism.
NE: So you are the Coordinator?
Atima: Yes for West Nile
NE: Are you not duplicating the work of NRM secretariat?
Atima: No please. We are partners in social economic transformation. In this, we get to understand the programs, projects and initiatives undertaken by government for the benefit of our communities and follow them through the various stages by informing the public and mobilizing them to guard them. This involves encouraging them to participate in the democratic process, social economic transformation programs like NAADs or Operation Wealth Creation amongst others.
NE: How is yours different from Revolutionary Guards of Iran?
Atima: We are different in all aspects because for us we do follow up as private citizens without government funding or policy influence, which is a sharp contrast to that of Iran. We are into charity, social dialogue and encouraging harmony, equity and unity amongst diversity of culture, belief, social class and the political divide.
NE: Are there really gains you are guarding?
Atima: Yes, very many. Like access to education for all, peace and security, infrastructure development like roads and on this, in West Nile we have a clear testimony on the new tarmac roads that was not there back in the days ( from Karuma all through Pakwach, Nebbi, Arua, Maracha, Koboko it was murram), power dams- Bujagali, Insimba, Karuma which is yet to be added on and certainly connect the West Nile to the national grid. Here we have Muni University fully funded by government. We are guarding gains about security within the region through encouraging peace coexistence with our neighbours in DRC, South Sudan and tap into the opportunities to better our society.
NE: How did you become the coordinator?
Atima: Ironically people from the districts of Arua, Maracha and Madi Okollo met here in Arua with the officials from the headquarters of the Revolutionary Guards who unanimously elected me to be the coordinator for West Nile. This is huge responsibility for such an organisation and the projects being undertaken in the region.
NE: We hear another group within, fighting you. Is it about who you want to take over after President Museveni?
Atima: Not to go that way What we have discovered, there is too much dishonest amongst civil servants especially in the procurement and implementation process to inflate project costs, corruption tendencies, failure to pay service providers by government agencies thus resulting into numerous legal battles that weigh heavily on public funds. Talk about negative mindset about government programs by the public, low morals of public servants, frustration of local investors through tideous processes, poor accountability and showdy works.
NE: Any special role for the Revolutionary guards in the comming elections?
Atima: Just to remind Ugandans that this is an opportunity for us to cross examine our leaders, make new choices and renew mandates for those who have exhibited high levels of integrity, performance and progress for the social transformation of our country. But most importantly ensure we maintain peace and security, we shouldn’t take the prevailing peace for granted, but undertake to live in harmony. There is no election that is organized to divide the people of a country.
Differences in political affiliation shouldn’t mean hostilities, because at the end of the day we will remain Ugandans, bearing in mind that Uganda is bigger than all of us.
NE: Any mission project?
Atima: As our mission states that we are for ‘Improving people’s lives through strategic, systematic and sustainable interventions’ there are programs that are being undertaken jointly with government agencies and private stakeholders to help our people like donations to institutions that are meant to benefit the communities