On Wednesday, I called two people from my earlier life of active journalism: Mr Joseph Kabuleta and a lady whose identity I would like to keep anonymous. Kabuleta was not as warm to me as he has always been (and as I expected). And the lady old friend even annoyed me by addressing me as “Afande Asuman Bisiika.”
I know Kabuleta. I worked with him at The New Vision. An entry in my journal dated Friday, August 9, 2004 says thus of him: “A very conscientious fellow whose liberal attitude lacks the latitude necessary for political activism.
His social and political outlook is highly moderated, nay, influenced by his moral and religious sense of faith and belief (in Jesus as God). With his high intellect, I don’t see why he couldn’t appreciate my argument (which was purely academic by the way) that even without Christian deification of Jesus, the text of his teachings is enough to reveal a man to himself, his community and humanity”.
Here is another recorded anecdote: “When Joseph Kabuleta saw Eagle Trap’(by Geoffrey Archer), he was able to tell the author was not the more famous novelist Jeffrey Archer, author of Cometh The Hour. I later lent my Eagle Trap to him.
‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man…’. Mr Kabuleta this week made public his interest and aspiration to be president of Uganda. I called him (on Wednesday) and quarrelled: Why could he make such an important declaration without tipping me? He just laughed off my rant… And when I offered to chair the dirty tricks committee of his campaign, he laughed uncontrollably.
President Kabuleta? Yes, why not? Post-Museveni Uganda does not need a giant from Planet Mars with supernatural capabilities. Ugandans just need a leader who can give them hope. And the action points for this hope are two: Making institutions work and punish the corrupt. The Kabuleta I know can’t fail to do that. Plus he will have a certain Asuman Bisiika as presidential adviser on Great Lakes Region.
A video showing the poor hygiene in a facility holding quarantine interns at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital went viral. The video was made by Ms Mary Aliona, a former Ugandan nurse, now with legal residency in South Korea. It was brought to mainstream media by Dr Muniini Mulera.
Ms Aliona came to Uganda in January and was due to return to South Korea somewhere in March. However, by that time, Uganda had entered the first phase of the fight against Covid-19 pandemic. She couldn’t leave the country.
When a national lockdown was declared, she was in Kampala. When the movement restrictions were eased, she went to visit a friend in Rakai. Our information is that she voluntarily went for a Covid-19 test; which returned an asymptomatic positive result. And all hell broke loose. She was first interned at Rakai and was later transferred to Masaka where she shot the viral video.
In response, the Ministry of Health quickly issued a statement signed by the PR Unit under the Permanent Secretary’s Office. But it lacked in payload. What angered me was the said PR Unit’s attempt at framing and characterising Ms Aliona as a disruptive person. I will save readers the details of the ministry’s other attempts to respond to a clear case of poor hygiene.
The Minister for Health (or someone senior enough) is said to have visited the facility, but did not meet the interns. The hospital management is said to have scared the ministry officials off what they described as highly infectious interns. Bagyenzi…! Guys in government PR business, you cannot run government on PR. It has limits.