Kagadi – The coronavirus presence in Uganda will test the capability of the National Resistance Movement [NRM] party and will also define its survival in the next elections – argues, Dr Diini Emmanuel Kisembo.
In some African nations or globally, governments have been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 infections and the numbers of citizens it’s killing – thus far.
Whereas Uganda has only registered 44 cases as of Tuesday 31, March, 2020, and 11 of whom are children choirs of Watoto Church who returned from the United Kingdom, government is now ‘overwhelmed’ with the pandemic.
In his opinion, Dr Diini Emmanuel Kisembo who’s the executive director of the Bunyoro Kitara Youth Initiative Health Watch, says: “COVID-19 is a big test for NRM regime.”
Mr Kisembo who has also shown interest to vie for the position of NRM national vice chairperson for Western Uganda, a position currently occupied by Uganda’s ambassador to Burundi – H.E Matayo Kyaligonza, wants all security forces in the country to take part in the fight against COVID-19.
According to him, the Army, Police, Uganda Prisons Service, CMI, ESO top leadership; the RDCs and his team, among others, are NRM’s security bodies who should fully participate and help vulnerable people at this time.
He also says the officers managing the above institutions should not allow any gaps to be seen – as coronavirus cases continue to increase in Uganda.
“NRM structures across the country should come on board to fight against COVID-19. Army, police, prisons should directly get involved in the fight,” he emphasizes. He wants NRM cadres to be given vehicles and motorbikes to help them support victims countrywide.
“The NRM leagues should be used in this COVID-19 fight. It’s now that we involve every ruling party members, or never,” Kisembo tells this publication.
President Museveni has in recent weeks and days issued a number of [additional] directives in a bid to curtail the pandemic. All his directives, like night curfew, boda-bodas carrying cargos [food stuffs] are to be implemented and monitored by security personnel.
He also says many Ugandans are still unhappy because the President has often left the most critical part, in his speeches. “He has not addressed the issue of ‘tenants and landlords’ and bank loans which the President should direct that it can only be paid after 6 months.”
Should the President issues such pronouncement in his next speech, Kisembo says it will reach majority of Ugandans who are now redundant homes – very well and that – it could do well for the regime – next year.
“Competent committee should be instituted to identify those unable to pay for their rental fees; those unable to service their bank loans be supported by government. Also, to an extent of paying for their electricity and water bills for six months,” he said.
He requested further that, Mr Museveni who’s the chairman of the NRM and the President, should come out and assures the people of Uganda “it will handle many of the current problems”.
In his 6th address on Monday, 30 March 2020, President directed that all government workers should also stay home for 14 days.
However, according to Mr Kisembo, government workers won’t be badly affected for 14 days like those in causal employment because they get monthly salaries.
On traders hiking prices of foods, he said those found to be guilty should be prosecuted in the courts of law, noting that “they are the people letting down NRM government”.
“For the above missions to be realised and to award NRM with victories in the next polls, NRM structures from villages should be empowered, trained to support people with trauma and to rehabilitate them after the pandemic is over,” Dr Kisembo, offers medical advice to his party leader.
Mr Kisembo urges citizen to stay home, practice social distancing and for government to enforce a district to district quarantine.
He has also sounded a clarion call on various media houses in western Uganda to Ugandans and other good Samaritans to offer food stuffs and support to the neediest.
Speaking to this contemporary digital newspaper, he said he has also commenced a community safety campaign in Bunyoro under the slogan “I am safe, he/she is not safe” to raise awareness of social distancing and other safety measures, among others.