“How do you stop a hungry child crying overnight? Sending the parents out on the hostile streets?”
By James William Mugeni
Iowa, USA – June 9, 2021: I have gone through the presidential directives, and I am raising up the following concerns as a front liner. Recently, precisely at the beginning of Covid-19, I said Uganda has a known history in managing infectious diseases. The world of primary health care had a lot from Uganda from the Primary Health Care (PHC) work done in Kasangati by 1964.
The Aids Support Organisation (TASO) being such an example of people starting self-help efforts to fight epidemics. When one looks at these over 22 directives, one sees President Museveni “thinking for Ugandans”.
Amidst Covid-19 surge in the country and globally, Uganda government should ensure they address the key highlights that I have put down:
- President Museveni, where are these specific vulnerable groups taken care of in your new directives?
- The children under five  to show that your government is addressing the child mortality.
- The pregnant mothers, meaning we want to address maternal mortality.
- The old people, meaning we are focusing on our aging population (Geriatrics).
- People with underlying disease conditions: diabetes, hypertensives and other conditions.
- People living with HIV/AIDS
- People living with disabilities.
President Museveni, I am a beneficiary of now three  stimulus cheques in America, and I never asked for them, but through my tax returns and my earning, the US government identified me as someone vulnerable and struggling in the US systems.
President Museveni, minus addressing directly what is affecting vulnerable groups in Uganda, your directives only make the populations more vulnerable and falling victims of your militias in the Covid-19 task force.
You included the UPDF there for special consideration, but we miss out the populations that are suffering from the impacts of the pandemic.
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President Museveni, as an example, I am one of those parents who had just taken children back to school two weeks ago and expecting not to feed them in the house for the next two to three months. Now they are back in the house and left the money at school.
Why are your directives not supporting students? Your directives victimize us because they are more punitive than supportive. When will your government be with the people not against the people? Slogans like “we are in this together” are not in your directives. The militias think the AK47 is everything.
We can not have a military that has a human face; a military that can go out to teach people on SOPS other than enforcing SOPS? And how do you ignore the necessities that know no law? How, for example, do you stop a pregnant mother pushing a child in labor?
How do you stop a hungry child crying overnight? Sending the parents out on the hostile streets?
How do you stop someone in a diabetic crisis from seeking urgent help when they must?
I hope your next address will have a human face that will address the destitution created by Covid-19 in the populace. The population is looking at you as a government leader to do something different from LDUs running after them. Give Covid-19 relief to your population now struggling as you try to keep the economy running with a miracle.
Here, I am reminding myself and Ugandans about the summary of your [presidential directives on COVID-19] issued on Sunday night.
1. All schools closed for 42 days.
2. All teachers MUST fully vaccinate before going back to school.
3. Communal prayers in churches, mosques, malls suspended for 42 days
4. Public and cultural gathering/conferences suspended for 42 days.
5. Travel from category A countries suspended but category b too may be revised depending.
6. Farming should continue.
7. Marriage ceremonies allowed with a maximum of 20 people. (Must be Scientific)
8. House parties banned.
9. Number of persons at vigils/burials must not exceed 20.
10. Markets suspended for 42 days.
11. All public transport across districts suspended for 42 days.
12. Cargo trucks only 3 people are allowed.
13. Discos, cinemas, closed
14. Sports allowed but with empty stadiums.
15. All offices are directed to encourage people to work from home and back to shifts after 42 days.
16. Vehicles maximum of 3 people, but only within the district. Inter-district movement is banned for 42 days.
17. Shopping arcades, hardware shops can continue up to 5pm while observing Sops
18. Food markets will continue operating up to 7pm
19. Saloons, lodges allowed to operate up to 7pm
20. Curfew shall remain at 9pm to 5:30am.
21. Bodabodas allowed to operate up to 6pm
22. Factories allowed to operate.
Yes, the above directives take immediate effect but the first wave should have informed the second and third wave. In conclusion, kindly give Ugandans what they want, empower them, give them the package to live on during this lockdown.
The author is a Medical Clinical Officer/Certified Public Manager