In the last four months of COVID-19 pandemic, President Yoweri Museveni has caused shake up in important government institutions because of negligence, disobedience, incompetence, connivance and alleged corruption. These institutions are the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
By Ofwono Opondo
Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng who for the last four months valiantly led Uganda against the COVID19 pandemic with no death so far, successful recoveries, limited and now declining trends in overall infection, early this week fell on an own sword caught off guard without face mask on at a public gathering. And although she publicly regretted the incident, the fickle opposition has tried in futility to bay for her blood.
As the 2021 general elections draw ever closer, the fickle opposition political groups are finding themselves between self generated rocks and hard places on whether to participate. In all previous elections opposition groups have squabbled over whether the elections would be free and fair, and often tried to demobilise their supporters in pre-election activities like voter registration.
Tuesday this week government inaugurated seven new ‘cities’ by elevating former municipalities of Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Jinja, Masaka, Mbarara, and Fort Portal to city status, with the objective that physical planning, implementation of activities and general administration will be better. The last, Fort Portal, named after a British colonial army officer, deserve change of name. The designation of cities should therefore be welcome as acknowledgement of their achievements and providing impetus for higher ambitions.
With the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown measures, the electoral commission issued the revised electoral roadmap for the 2021 general elections first published in 2018 to which all stakeholders including registered political parties were invited. It was therefore surprising that the roadmap enlisted hostile reception from almost all opposition political groups claiming they hadn’t been consulted. But we need to state that these groups have always been cry babies mainly because they are never ready for anything.
On Uganda’s 31st Heroes Day morning, June 9, 2020, RO/00692 Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Samuel Wasswa Kasirye Ggwanga 68, a maverick professional soldier, prisoner of war, rebel, soldier and officer again was pronounced dead from Nakasero hospital. Ggwanga had battled months of debilitating conditions where he was in and out of different medical facilities.
The hot anger burning on US streets from Minneapolis to Miami is testing the ability of its leaders to address grievances that go far beyond the death of an unarmed black man George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. America, isn’t feeling the absence of leadership but rather the malevolence in leadership.
As the world unlocks COVID-19 pandemic measures, the political truce is getting over. Some Ugandans are demanding to know if the 2021 general elections will be held as scheduled and safely. Many political analysts think that postponement isn’t an option because the electoral commission, police, and political parties will agree on standard operating procedures (SOPs) to govern the campaigns.
Uganda is presently managing national emergency response to COVID-19, floods, landslides and possible famine in parts of the country that require a well prepared national risk register. The register should comprise civil emergencies that could conceivably strike Uganda and how government responds to each of them. During the two months the talk didn’t get translated quickly into planning, funding, preparedness and stocking vital equipment which have all caused the slowdown in effective response.
The unknown dangers and threats from COVID-19 pandemic entry into Uganda in February of this year pushed all the abrasive actors to the edge forcing them to comply without complaints against government measures including many drastic actions like banning large gatherings, mass transportation, closure of businesses, imposing night curfew, and an extended countrywide lockdown. This was in according to many, a vote of confidence in Government and particularly, President Yoweri Museveni’s able leadership.