COVID-19: Opposition politicians scoff at Presidential directive on donations

Wednesday April 1 2020

Army try Bobi Wine today says govt

Kyadondo East Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine at a recent press conference.PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI 

By DERRICK WANDERA

Politicians in the Opposition wing have slammed President Museveni’s directive stopping local leaders and politicians from supplying food items to the vulnerable members in the community during the two-week lockdown in the wake of Covid-19.

Following the suspension of public transport and other businesses in the country about a week ago in a bid to control the spread of the virus after several cases had been confirmed, some politicians, businessmen and religious leaders came out to donate food stuff and other supplies to the needy people in their communities.

However, Mr Museveni on Monday while announcing more measures in a bid to prevent Covid-19 from spreading further following the rise of more cases, warned politicians to desist from “taking advantage of the situation to play cheap politics”.

The President in his argument said that such acts only endanger the lives of people as they will all gather in one place, something the health experts have time and again advised against as a way of preventing further spread of the virus.

On Tuesday while addressing the nation, Mr Museveni again reiterated that anyone who will be caught giving out food in such a manner, will be charged with attempted murder, because that is directly exposing people to the virus.

He, however, advised those who want to contribute to the wellbeing of others do it institutionally through the taskforce committee headed by the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and the health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng.

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He also said that government was in the process of identifying those categories of people that will need support and will be supplied with food items through the Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and other local leaders.

“I call upon the different politicians who are busy making distributions of rations to our people, please you are creating a fertile ground for the spread of coronavirus. Put aside your love for popularity and politics and avoid calling people to gather in the name of giving them food. If you genuinely have a contribution to make, get in touch with the national task force that is in charge and we shall be grateful. In return, you can as well gain your popularity, we shall record your name and give you all the publicity you want, even if you want to sleep on TV. Most importantly God will recognise and reward you,” Mr Mueveni said.

The President’s remarks, however, did not go well with some leaders who described the directive as “ridiculous” arguing that as leaders, a number of people approach them for support..

"Museveni, in yet another ridiculous move, banned our relief activities and declared that anyone who continues to give food relief would be charged with attempted murder. This is an absurdity like no other. Our view is that if Museveni was not doing this for political reasons, he would have instructed the Ministry of Health to put in place Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) so that our efforts to help our people continue but in a manner that does not cause threats to their health,” said Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, Kyadondo East MP, in a phone interview.

Mr Kyagulanyi on the other hand said government should allow people to lend a hand where necessary because it will soon get overwhelmed.

“When the health sector cannot support itself, how sustainable will the food supply be? We need to be realistic when dealing with such a pandemic.”

“President Museveni should accept and declare a state of emergency so that we can all sit and see how to get through this problem together. The fight is not for only President Museveni but for the whole country and anyone who can help should be allowed to do so, he is just being ridiculous with this directive,” said Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.

Makindye south MP Allan Ssewanyana said, “I have been moving in my constituency to see if the people have actually received the food and they said they have not gotten any help. Is the President wishing death of our people? We are helping with what we have we should be appreciated rather than being arrested and charged with attempted murder.”

As of last evening, most of the local leaders Daily Monitor visited in selected parts of the city said they were yet to receive the food items from government.

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