Uganda and how it’s copying with COVID-19

Thumbs up to the doctors and nurses in Uganda for a good job done, taking care of our brothers, who have been affected with COVID 19 with no fatalities as of now. Out of the 76, reported cases of which 55 are Ugandans and 16 cases are truck drivers from Kenya and Tanzania respectively, the country continues to be in total lockdown.

So far, 46 patients have been released from quarantine after testing negative and being treated for 3 weeks. I dedicate Alicia keys song’ GOOD JOB’ which she dedicates to raise awareness of COVID 19 and appreciate all you our heros behind the scenes. Your also our ‘HEROS’.

With the quarantine, we can say that it has been effective and successful in Uganda with low infection rates so far. Salute the president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for handling this pandemic with timely interjections and military like coordination to ensure people fall in line and contain the spread of this virus. The methods might be shroud, inconveniencing and some dictatorial, but in such time, we are lucky to have a pragmatic leader.

Like how Pires Morgan a reknown journalist and author said, Britain and U. S.A have been badly hit by this pandemic due to how Boris Johnson and Trump tried to be liberal in their approach. He credited success so far, to fight this pandemic in Africa, to the long serving presidents and regimes, sighting adhoc means of operations like strict quarantine, cafews, lockdown like in Uganda.

As the medical frantanity fight for us on the front line, we are saddened to hear that government had not paid their allowances for the last 3 months. Government should know that, if this continues, it would demoralize the confidence of these medical personals which would leave us valunalable. Yes, others may argue that, they are sworn to Orth to serve and protect, however we should not forget that their demands of family applies to them as to you. Humanity should not be lost in these trying times. Government should prioritize this crucial health sector and its demands. This is not time for politicians. It is a time for science and medicine to triumph. Please politicians stay out of the lime light this time, as it has been witnessed, you trying to forecast yourselves.

This week started with questions about the government supplementary budget that was passed by the Ugandan parliament. A tune of around 1trillion Uganda shillings was tabled and passed allocating it to cover COVID 19 pandemic , members of parliament allowances and a “miscellaneous budget” .
700 billions shillings was allocated to a “miscellaneous budget” , 304 billions shillings to the cause to fight COVID and 10 billions as allowance to create awareness by members of parliament during this COVID period.
Though what has raised eyebrows, as scrutinized by fourth estate(media) and the public, is where M.Ps derive the moral authority in this current situation to demand for this 10 billion shillings as allowance when the country can’t afford to dress properly the medical stuff with required protective equipment and limited specialized equipment to handle COVID 19.

Rebecca Kadaga

These 10 billion shillings has been the cover story in the media. This week, some M.Ps’,who the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, claim have shown stupidity, to have taken a case, of questioning why M.Ps’ have to receive 20 millions shillings allowances, to courts of law asking for court interjection to stop M.Ps from receiving this money leaves a lot to be desired as our economy is struggling.

Each M.P got 20 million shillings (5400 usd) allowance. Some M. Ps justified to getting this money other haven’t. Those who support getting this money claim they must have it to create awareness in their constituencies. They claim to use this money to facilitate their personal ambulances the bought to help communities by buying fuel and paying the drivers, since the government has been found wanting and slow during the lockdown to reach their constituencies.

However, the speaker of parliament had earlier advised strongly against members traveling to their respective constituency. The million-shilling question by media and public is, how are they going to use this money for awareness campaigns in their respective area when the speaker had banned them from travel. The legislature (parliament) is accusing the judiciary for mendling in its activities and the executive is playing a cat and mouse game since it seems to support the parliament to get this 20 million, asking for accountability but at the same time admiring the efforts of the judiciary to do it watch dog job, as it inquires why this money was allocated.

The speaker has called for members of parliament who went to the courts of law to be displined, since she believes it was uncalled for. She claims, issues of parliament should have been tabled and handled by parliamentary committees but not courts of law.

Some members of parliament have started bringing back the money as court ordered. The 20 million shillings which M. Ps took, should not be used, until the moderately of which it was given are understood. Noticeable M.P to bring back the money is Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi, the founder of People Power movement, an opposition pressure group in Uganda. On his bank receipt of the 20 million returned, he wrote’ return of a bribe’.

Putting the legislative assembly aside, government is going ahead in its second week of giving food relief to the ‘valuable’ that is posho and beans. The government is also putting in consideration the pregnant mothers and the breast-feeding babies to 8 months, by giving them powdered milk. Of the targeted 1.5 million people in the suburbs of Kampala the capital city of the country, about 400,000 people have be reached and given food. This exercise has meant many hindrances. The quality of food has been found wanting. Scanty government suppliers, the question of the quality of beans where the population says they have found a lot of stones, leaves a sour test of unveiling events. Government has arrested four senior officials in the prime minister’s office, with reports that they were giving tenders to suppliers who hiked prices leaving those with better prices. This later was coupled with questions, on the quality of the food that was supplied with claims that it was not suitable for human consumption.

In the collidors however, there are claims that these arrests were merliceous, and they may be due to some party which wants to gain the supply, by tainting the other as not being reliable. These kinds of issues have led to the delay of supply of food, as recalls to suppliers have be ordered by government leaving a shortage of food. Government claims though that they have sorted the problem and can now deliver food in time to the ones in need. The question people are asking themselves, “won’t hunger kill them before COVID 19 catches up with them?”

This has led to people to dare the gods and defy the government, snacking out from the lockdown to try and look for what to put in their stomachs. Large queues of people are seen every morning making the long trek to town and back every evening.

The budget for the next financial year 2020-2021 is being tabled to parliament for assessment, and it is estimated to be 4 trillion Uganda shillings. The country expects to raise this money from taxes of goods and services which is estimated around 2.5 trillion shillings. The rest as usual, we shall call from foreign debating and grants, though this time it may sound skeptical. The irony is, of the 2.5 trillion shillings, Uganda revenue authority (URA) tax assessment includes tax to be got from tourism, travel and hotels service. Really in this current world uncertainty of COVID 19 situation, who and why can someone one come up with such misleading assumptions. I don’t want to sound as a pessimist, but I see Uganda again asking for a more relief debt to cover for the short fall in tourism and travel revenue.

China and other European countries that would have billed us out seem to have enough economic problems on their plate. They have been hit hard than even us where they have to revive their own economies. I don’t see any kind of activity in tourism and travel any time soon. I feel, we will be in the worst economic recession. An estimated 5 million people are surely losing their jobs and way of life, God should help us all.

#Stayhome Staysafe#

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