Why you shouldn’t miss M7’s 7th address on COVID-19 today

President Museveni Yoweri Kaguta. Courtesy photo.

Kampala – Ugandan leader – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will again address the nation on Tuesday night – from 8pm to clarify on the directives he issued on Monday.

This is his second address this week, and the 7th in total since his first address, after the Ministry of Health confirmed first case of coronavirus in Uganda.

His first address was on March 18, 2020 in which he announced closure of all learning institutions – from nursery schools to universities. In that address, he also closed public places like bars, churches, mosques, among others.

In all the 6th previous addresses to the nation, strictly on coronavirus pandemic globally, with much attention in Uganda, Mr Museveni has been speaking with a lot of seriousness; issuing directives and calling for obedience and vigilance.

The Head of State, has – also in his addresses been factual with data – and whenever he’s not conversant with something in health– he asks experts near him to clarify.

It is worth to remember that on Monday [yesterday] while addressing the nation, he banned all private cars – because, according to him, owners had turned it into a taxi for transporting other passengers.

Also, he reasoned that, by banning all private cars from moving, it would be easy to contain the spread of the virus from one place to another.

In his measures [directives] number 1 and 2 of Monday, he directed as below:

  1. Measure number one is to prohibit all people to people movement by everybody including those using their private vehicles, bodabodas, tuk-tuks, etc. Why? Two reasons: (i) some private car owners have turned their cars into taxis, transporting the two people we had permitted, assuming that they would be members of one’s family, when in fact they were passengers being charged the exorbitant fare of shillings 50,000/- from Kampala to Jinja. Hence, the problem we were trying to cure of allowing the mixing of people from different sources was not being addressed. Instead, it was taking new forms.
  2. The people with private cars were now the new public transporters without licences and facilitating the dangerous mixing in the process. Secondly, even more importantly, even if the private car owners had been disciplined and only moved around with only the 2 members of their families, still that movement would be dangerous because we do not know who has the virus now and who does not, given the penetration of the imported cases into the society, short-lived though it may have been. The ban on privately owned passenger vehicles will take effect from 2200 hours (Ten O’clock ─ Shaaha inna ez’ekiro), today, the 30th of March, 2020. I would have given the public time to adjust but on more scientific study, it was found that this would be a wrong policy. Why? A longer time would give people time to try and go to the villages. In so doing, they may transfer the sickness. We, would, then, not be curing anything. This freezing of movement will last 14 days from the 1st of April, 2020. This time it is not Fool’s Day; it is wise-person’s Day.

On Tuesday, some Ugandan Members of Parliament who subscribed to the ruling government and some citizens spoke to TND News – disputing Museveni’s Monday directives.

“The President was wrong to ban private cars. To me, some private car drivers misused the opportunity of being allowed to use the roads, but – how many people will now die from homes because they have no ways of reaching health facilities? Are you aware most vehicles now stationed at district headquarters have no fuel?” an MP, who asked not to be named, said.

According to this MP from northern Uganda, the President was swiftly advised last night to make adjustment on this particular directive.

“Expectant mothers will now die. Elderly people in remote villages, or even urban centres suffering from diabetes, cancer and should have gone for their reviews using private cars of their sons and daughters will now die. What will he [Museveni] say afterward?” he added.

According to this outspoken MP, Museveni should, in his address today, as was advised yesterday, allow private cars to operate but with some restrictions and caution to drivers – disobeying new guidelines.

On security, another MP and a prominent businessman have jointly asked President to order LDU senior commanders to tell them to desist from unlawful beating of people at this trying time.

“Now the LDUs have got power. The police and the army have got more powers. Ugandans will suffer because I have seen some LDUs beating up people on boda-bodas during day without stopping the rider first, and asking “why” or “where to?””

Also, in his Tuesday night address, Mr Museveni, after directing all people to stay home for 14 days or more, without work [especially for casual workers], according to our reliable source, will issue directive[s] to landlords.

“He will direct all landlords to give a grace period of at least 30 days to all tenants in casual employment or those employed by private companies but their jobs [employment] or businesses have been affected by COVID-19,” this contemporary digital newspaper has learnt.

By WHO Africa

Uganda’s COVID-19 confirmed cases as of today, stands at 33, according to Ministry of Health.

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