Covid-19: Government should address issues clearly

Saturday July 18 2020

 

By Editor

Messages, communications and pronouncements from government during the Covid-19 lockdown have many times been haphazard.

Save for the measures announced by the President between March 18 and 22 to curb the spread of the coronavirus such as closure of schools, churches, mosques, bars, among others, the subsequent communications from government, especially about how to cushion the population from the unexpected uncertainty following the pandemic, have remained lukewarm.

In the end, it has left citizens at crossroads. Apart from distributing food rations once, government has not made clear pronouncements to save people from an uncertain future amid job loss and salary cuts. This is likely to invite criminality since such citizens may want to strive to live yet the means are curtailed.

Other countries have been outright on when, or not, schools will open whose closure was occasioned by the onset of Covid-19 pandemic. This is yet to happen here. This uncertainty is not good for the affected people, but also for planning purposes. Learners need to know whether they will repeat classes or not, and they need to know early enough.

The policy on e-learning has a lot of gaps, worsened by the government announcement to provide free TV and radios to families which, hitherto, have not been provided.

There has also been no known stimulus package for some of the hard-hit groups such as the small and medium enterprises, save for government announcing it had put money in the Uganda Development Bank, whose borrowing might still be cumbersome.

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Some members of the Executive have even disregarded the medication they prescribed themselves to control the spread of Covid-19.

They threw caution to the wind and went ahead to appear in public without wearing face masks, and conducted campaigns even after the Electoral Commission chairperson directed that this time round campaigns will be virtual.

Worse still is when the minister of Health says government has not provided money for distribution of free masks.
On the other hand, the Finance ministry read a Budget that did not cater for the emergency situation caused by Covid-19.
So where have government strategists gone? Why has government not been crystal clear when communicating to its people? Such vague messages have sometimes cost lives. We ask government to walk the talk now.

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