The coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced Ugandans into a countrywide lockdown of almost forty days from March 20 when President Yoweri Museveni first dissolved large gatherings in schools, religious, political and cultural ceremonies including burials, and weddings. Mid this week, he extended the lockdown to May 5, keeping in place all measures of the past two weeks. These include ban on mass and private transportation, trading in non-essential goods, bars, solons and night curfew.
Ordinarily I should have left Tuesday’s outburst against me by the ever bully Speaker of Uganda’s parliament, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga to pass without much comment, had it not been made on the floor where I have no right of reply. But alas, it is now habitual for Kadaga to try ride the high horse on matters of legitimate public discourse whenever she disagrees, or simply feels slighted.
In times of a major global crisis as the current COVID-19, especially for poor countries like Uganda, it is when the test, and taste of leadership comes to the fore. In Uganda’s case, we have gone through crises of catastrophic proportions, but emerged from them looking almost unscathed because of able leadership.
It is three weeks since Uganda began an aggressive response to the sprawling Coronavirus (COVID-19} in which government initially issued precautionary and preventive measures because the virus was still thousands of miles away in China, US, and Europe. Gradually, COVID-19 has reached Africa, and Uganda in particular through importation by travelers from the epicenters.
What a month makes. March, 2020, the flamboyant Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Henry Tumukunde announced his presidential bid in style hoping to subdue the Coronavirus and desert locust invasion news, which has apparently failed. Tumukunde’s outbursts, subsequent arrest and now remanded in prison over alleged treason hasn’t generated the firestorm he anticipated and should be pointer to how he will inconsequentially end.
Last week’s decision by parliament to set academic qualification for lower local government elected leaders in the electoral reform law is a step backwards in our universal, popular and participatory democracy. It is being motivated by a false hype of trust and perhaps arrogance in superficial elite education which has little to do with ethical values, patriotism, commitment to duty, progressive and transformative leadership which Uganda so badly needs.
The political resurrection of the ebullient, cunning and yet aggressive Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Henry Tumukunde is almost complete, but only. We can now wait and see the influential endorsements that will line behind him as he brags of having one thousand underground tricks, although I guess none that big or credible will pop up any time soon. Ugandans may not be itching for another big revolution as Tumukunde seem to believe, the consideration of which, he should ask those from the same backyard, and ahead of him in political rebellion, Col. Kizza Besigye, Maj. Gen.
It may still be too early to extend some appreciation to the much-maligned Uganda Police Force, now headed by Okoth Martins Ochola (OMO), for scoring modest success in curbing crime waves hitherto characterized by violent robberies, murders, and kidnaps among others that had gripped the country since 2017.
It is a year since the grandiose opposition political groupings were reported mulling an alliance or working together to defeat the NRM, but perhaps more precisely dislodge President Yoweri Museveni, whose thirty-four years on the throne gives them goose pimples. It is also one year to the billed titanic 2021 general elections, but again, many groups are in tatters, and Uganda is like to witness huge stampede from many angles including acrimonious contestations over party membership registers, already triggered in DP.
Two months of sustained distressing news from distant places first in Wuhan province, China about the devastating Coronavirus, now named Covid-19, by the World Health Organization (WHO) has killed about one thousand three hundred people there provide an interesting review of the infertile local elite. The second and equally fearsome, is the invasion of Uganda this week by desert locusts.