By Dan Matsiko
Kampala—May 23, 2020: It has been long since the lockdown and curfew were put in place. And even the Holy Month of Ramadan for our Muslim brothers and sisters started and has ended when the two stringent measures are still in place.
COVID-19 is a very dangerous virus which has claimed hundreds of thousands of human beings, diaspora Ugandans inclusive. It has attacked every nation directly or indirectly and caused a huge pause in both commerce and trade globally.
Countries have put up different interventions to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. Others have moved swiftly by creating an immediate rescue national fund for their economies and extending special grants and pay-outs to citizens.
Here in Uganda, my country, the focus was on begging for donations and reckless borrowing from both the citizenry and international funders. The Kampala establishment stuck with unpaid huge debts saw COVID-19 as an opportunity to gain more liquidity for the impending elections in 2021.
Museveni’s regime quickly embarked on harvesting and importing cases of COVID-19 from neighbouring countries and his defiant stance of ignoring timely advice took a huge tall on the country. In the first place, Uganda should have stopped all in bound flights as early as February 2020 and also should have closed borders points from unscreened travellers and truck drivers.
The NRA generals] stubbornly wanted cases to come in to justify their many loan applications to both International Monetary Fund [IMF] and World Bank and other unsuspecting funders. Mission accomplished and even begging for internal donations from oppressed Ugandans was made possible and the regime is busy raising billions of shillings for its ulterior motives.
Food and relief help to the vulnerable people was an idea by New Form of Thinking [NFT] visionaries and we shared in the public domain, prompting the military junta to hijack it as it has always done over the years on several interventions.
They quickly banned all other sources of relief help except the NRM source. Museveni quickly appointed his party functionaries and apologists to do the begging for him and he quickly called it a national COVID-19 task-force.
Full of corrupt and suspicious characters, they embarked on distributing the food to 1.5 million Ugandans, basically urban dwellers. In areas of Kampala and Wakiso.
According to poverty statistics, Northern Uganda residents were the most deserving people to receive relief food and help, not the central region first. Majority have not lived in Karamoja and West Nile sub-regions. The NRM chairman deliberately elected to give food and other relief items to the region that has traditionally continued to give him a vote of no confidence since 1996 to date.
Kampala and Wakiso are certified opposition strongholds to his NRM junta for the last 34 years of his rule. COVID-19 created an opportunity for him and his deputies to outshine and outsmart the opposition in the central region. The mission, according to observers, was a futile scheme.
In Western Uganda, majority laughed at the junta’s desperate attempts to feed and sweet-talk the opponent, yet loyal supporters were ignored and told to die in their houses and homes due to starvation and diseases during the lockdown and curfew. In fact, Western Ugandan is a no-go-zone area for NRM come 2021 polls.
It took a short time for NFT visionaries to awaken the tired and sleeping regime that we must take seriously the plight of all Ugandans and addressed it without favour. Then the junta responded quickly by calling for decentralization of food and relief help, which created some ray of hope of starving citizens in upcountry areas, both rural and urban areas.
For us our role is clear, to shake the tree and right fruits fall off! Credit to NFT visionaries and the leadership of other political pressure groups.
Supplementary budget passed, State House and the security ministry bagged a lot of billions compared to the ministry of health and disaster relief under the Office of the Prime Minister [OPM].
I beg to end my narration prematurely here for today till next time as I extend a peaceful and joyous Eid Mubarak celebrations to all Muslims in Uganda and globally. God, give us wisdom to lead Uganda.
The author is an independent aspiring President of Uganda 2021-2020
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