I will not step aside, insists UMA's Dr Oledo

Uganda Medical Association (UMA)Dr Samuel Odong Oledo

What you need to know:

  • On Tuesday, UMA NEC consultative meeting with the association's National Governing Council (NGC) and UMA Elders' Forum resolved that the association’s vice president, Dr Edith Nakku-Joloba takes over as acting president of the association in absence of Dr Oledo who was asked to step aside to pave way for an independent probe.

Uganda Medical Association (UMA) president Dr Samuel Odong Oledo has rejected calls by the association’s executive members to step aside to allow a probe by the Ethics and Professionalism Committee into his conduct after he last Saturday led a group of other medical practitioners to kneel and endorse President Museveni’s candidature for another term of office come 2026.

Dr Oledo is accused of using the association for his personal political gains to express his support for Mr Museveni who has been in power since 1986 and the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party which UMA members said compromises the association’s values.


“I disagreed with the issue of stepping aside because it’s unconstitutional. However, I accepted the ethics committee and the ethics team to follow up and have a fair hearing. This is not the first time I have knelt down. I knelt down last year and doctors got the Shs5 million then I was arrested by police and no one came out; actually doctors celebrated that time,” Dr Oledo told this reporter.

According to Dr Oledo, Mr Museveni, 78, being the NRM national chairman which he (Dr Oledo) subscribes to and the fountain of honour, he deserves respect for what he has done for the country since he came to power.
“If I can kneel in front of the police, what about the fountain of honour sincerely? And secondly, everyone knows I’m NRM, I have never hidden my political affiliation. When I was being voted as president of doctors they knew my political affiliation, they knew I had contested for NRM regional vice chairperson northern Uganda against Jacob Oulanyah. And I made it clear; even my posters were circulating everywhere. So, doctors voted me knowing I’m NRM,” the former East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) MP contestant added in an interview with this publication.

A video grab of a section of medical practitioners led by Uganda Medical Association (UMA) president Dr Samuel Odong Oledo kneeling before President Museveni during NRM youth patriotism symposium at Kololo ceremonial grounds on December 3, 2022

Dr Oledo also wondered whether he was being criminalized for asking his party President “basing on the achievement and the great contributions he has made” to come back in 2026.

“Is there a crime in that? So, that’s why I accepted the ethics committee to actually do an investigation in the case. I did not accept to step aside and that is what is deforming my character. Over time the truth will eventually come out, that’s all I can say. Besides, this is not a do or die. I have given every bit of me, my life and my energy to serve Ugandans. I’m happy that those attributes in health have been there. I’m happy the NRM government has made all those things, I’m happy the President honoured the collective bargaining agreement of 2016 and implemented it 100 percent. Doctors are among the most highly paid civil servants in Uganda and across board. So if you don’t appreciate the fountain of hour for that and kneel before him, when will you ever thank him sincerely?” he added.
The unapologetic Dr Oledo said he was discussing with the ethics team to see that all that’s happening is handled smoothly and to its logical conclusion.
“By the way, I’m not apologetic for anything I said. I meant everything I said at Kololo because of what the President has done for this Country,” he said.

However, UMA members and some critics have argued that Dr Oledo’s actions are contrary to what the association he heads stands for. 
At least 170 paid-up members of the association spearheaded by Dr Gladys Atto and Dr Ronald Kazibwe wrote to the secretary general, Dr Herbert Luswata to urgently call for an extra ordinary general assembly to discuss the Dr Oledo's censure motion. They also want to avoid such incidents in future.

According to a December 5 letter, 425 doctors participated in an online opinion poll generated by Dr Atto and Dr Kazibwe as paid-up members in line with Article 15 of the UMA constitution to mobilise at least a quarter of paid-up members to call for an extra ordinary general assembly.
On Tuesday, UMA NEC consultative meeting with the association's National Governing Council (NGC) and UMA Elders' Forum resolved that the association’s vice president, Dr Edith Nakku-Joloba takes over as acting president of the association in absence of Dr Oledo who was asked to step aside to pave way for an independent probe.

“The UMA Ethics and Professionalism Committee together with a lawyer from Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) will investigate the matter of the conduct of the UMA President with respect to the association and report to the UMA National Executive Committee (NEC) within five working days to effect the recommended measures. The UMA President will step aside immediately to allow an independent investigations by the Ethics and Professionalism Committee,” reads a statement signed by UMA vice president Dr Nakku-Joloba and Dr Luswata.
 

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