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    OPINION: Uganda’s Biggest Pandemic Is Poverty Caused By The M7-1986 Virus, Citizens Should Turn Up To Vaccinate Against It On January 14 – Presidential Candidate Kabuleta…

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    Joseph Kabuleta (Courtesy photo)

    “Don’t look at where you fell, but where you slipped”

    AFRICAN PROVERB

    We know where the media fell. They fell when they were caught in the crossfire between opposition politicians and trigger-happy security hitmen; when they were unfairly targeted as they went about their noble duty of covering this explosive elective season. Sadly, some journalists are nursing wounds; others weren’t so lucky.

    But it’s important for us to understand where they slipped.

    If someone is sitting by the roadside sipping on his brew and he sees a gang of people sprinting past him, as if for their lives, it’s understandable if he impulsively joins without asking questions. But if after nine months he is still sprinting, and has still not asked any questions, then there’s something terribly wrong with him.

    When we first went into lockdown in March, it was probably the best course of action because we didn’t know the full extent of the Cofit threat. But in the first 90 days, it was clear to all and sundry that it was never going to rank among Uganda’s top health challenges. And that’s not my opinion.

    The Daily Monitor on July 15th quoted Dr Baterana Byarugaba, the Mulago Hospital Executive Director, describing the Cofit strain in the country as a mild form of flu which does not require hospital admission since it can be treated at home or in lower health facilities.

    “l told Ugandans right from the beginning that the type of coronavirus we expect in Uganda is the mild one. It can be treated at health centre II, III, IV or the district hospital,” the top Medic said.

    I read the story with glorious delight supposing that finally common sense, (or should I say science sense) would inform our decisions as a nation. But it’s difficult to know where science stops and politics starts. It’s become clear over the months that Cofit is not just a virus that causes respiratory problems, it’s a lot more than that; it’s a weapon in the hands of politicians that gives them power beyond their wildest dreams. In America, for instance, Democrat Congressman Jim Clyburn said Cofit is a “tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our (leftist) vision” while actress and activist Jane Fonda said that Cofit was “God’s gift to the left.”

    Our media could have taken the side of poor Ugandans by showing the immense suffering and death from preventable sicknesses that resulted from the harsh Cofit measures; they could have highlighted the plight of businesses permanently closed and workers rendered redundant and sent back to villages. They could have wondered why truck drivers were testing negative in Kenya and positive in Uganda, or wondered why Cofit deaths only started after Prophet Museveni showed us a macabre lineup of coffins in his address, or why every celebrity who dies since then is ruled as Cofit (no autopsy required)

    They could have told us that according to Worldometer, Cofit has a 0.28% mortality rate (or a 99.72 survival rate) and that it doesn’t rank anywhere in the Top 10 of Uganda’s health challenges; they could have told us that a child dies of malaria every two minutes (and Uganda accounts for 3% of the world’s malaria fatalities), which means that more Ugandans die from mosquitoes in ten days than Cofit has (allegedly) killed in the nine months it’s been on our lips.

    Ugandans (especially of my age) have lived through real pandemics. As a young man growing up in the early 90s, nobody had to remind me that AIDS was real. Goodness me, I knew it was! And I didn’t need police to force me to wear protection, I knew the consequences. The fact that we are constantly being reminded that ‘Cofit is real’ tells a story of its own.

    The media could have asked why Uganda, with one of the lowest Cofit cases or deaths, still holds on to a 9:00pm curfew when Kenya moved to 11:00pm in September, as did South Africa and several countries. The media could have told us that Malawi, Burundi, Tanzania and, recently, Ghana all held successful elections with full blown campaigns in 2020, and we aren’t hearing people dropping dead from Cofit in any of those countries. May be they should have tried to find out if people are dropping dead in Tanzania which altogether ignored all Cofit measures and went on to acquire middle-income status while Ugandans were still in lockdown.

    They could have told us about the asymptomatic Cofit patients who were filmed dancing the night away in hospital wards, or of people suffering from other diseases who dare not go to hospital because they fear to be given a fake Cofit label and held for two weeks against their will.

    The media could have told us that Cofit deaths across the world have been grossly inflated. Minnesota lawmakers say Cofit deaths could have been inflated by 40% after examining death certificates (according to The Washington Examiner) while Fox News reported that in Colorado 45% of Cofit corpses “were also found to have bullet wounds”.

    They could have told us that 22 European countries, all of which had tens of thousands of Cofit deaths, opened their schools in the fall, and there has not been any reported spikes in cases as a result. They could have told us that more people have been killed by security men enforcing Cofit measures than by the virus itself.

    Well, they could have…but they didn’t. And that’s where they slipped.

    Instead they chose to go down the path of alarmist reporting and in so doing became, inadvertently or otherwise, enablers of Uganda’s trillion-shilling Cofit enterprise. Like Squealer in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the media used flowery language to drum up fear by keeping people’s eyes transfixed on swelling numbers while the thieves carried their loot and stashed it away, and loan money was distributed among family members or used in regime prolongation.

    The recent joint television news bulletin, and the adverts that followed, were the peak of hysterical reporting. “Zuukuka Tusaanawo” (wake up, we are perishing) screamed an advert featuring top media personalities. What a load of……(fill in appropriate word).

    Remember, all the tyranny we have witnessed in this season has been done in the name of Cofit, and such sensationalist reporting justifies it; it gives dictators like Museveni the perfect pseudo-moralistic cover to unleash their most despotic fantasies while actually pretending that it’s for the good of the people. Unfortunately, the terror has now spread to the very media people whose hyperbole enabled it in the first place. There is such a thing as the law of cause and consequence, after all.

    Instead of the media walking out of pressers and threatening to boycott government functions, let them threaten to stop all Cofit reporting. Museveni himself would come running with chocolate in hand.

    If the president extended curfew by just two hours, for instance, he will have put as many as 200,000 Ugandans back to work especially in the hotel, restaurant and entertainment industries; but he doesn’t care, and sadly neither do many middleclass Ugandans who suppose that it’s their moral obligation as responsible citizens of the Global Village to fret over Cofit just because their ‘fellow citizens’ in Europe and America are doing so. Of course they can afford to do that because their corporate jobs have, for the most part, insulated them from the devastation of the government-instituted Cofit measures. They can enjoy working at home, beer in hand, as they listen to CNN and BBC and still expect the full complement of their salaries at the month end, and that makes them feel every bit like ‘their brothers’ overseas.

    Such aspirational conformists are more likely to be offended by my stance on Cofit because they haven’t traversed crook and creek of this country and seen the damage reigned on this fragile society; not by the virus, but by the measures supposedly instituted to mitigate it.

    You see, perhaps the most enduring damage this regime has done to our society is creating a three-part hierarchy of class and needs. At the zenith are a handful of connected ‘1986 generation’ and their families who feel entitled to all power and wealth. Beneath is a small (and shrinking) middleclass, and at the bottom of the pyramid is a mass of peasants. Every society, to various degrees, is ordered in the same fashion, but what makes Uganda unique is that the megalomaniacs at the top don’t give a nickel about the plight of the middleclass and the middleclass in turn don’t care a bit about the quandary of the peasant. The charlatans at the top will impose punitive taxes on the middleclass, then dip into NSSF coffers at a whim to share out their savings, and no one can stop them.

    And the middleclass Ugandan, armed with his medical insurance, and safe in the knowledge that his wife is unlikely to die in child birth (20 Ugandans do EVERY DAY), and his children are very unlikely to die of malaria (20 do EVERY DAY), or from malnutrition (thousands do every year), will go around trumpeting Cofit because it’s more relevant to his status than malnutrition or malaria.

    I could just as easily go down that path. I could also close my eyes to mothers failing to get breast milk because they can only afford half a meal a day (black tea with a piece of cassava), and the malnourished babies that emerge as a result; I could close my eyes to the teenage girls that were given out in marriage because schools closed, or those given out to meet family needs; I could ignore the fact that our president is opening 5-star markets in cities which have 1-star referral hospitals; I could also choose to look the other way and enjoy my middleclass lifestyle, but as an aspiring leader, I cannot.

    As a leader, my aspiration is to remove the privileged/entitled class, to expand the middleclass (and their income), and to shrink the peasantry; but mostly to blur the lines that separate each category.

    It doesn’t bode well for our country if the average Corporate Ugandan knows more about racism in America than about extreme poverty in Teso or Busoga because that disqualifies him/her from the solution to those local problems.

    And finally, I have come to the realization that the biggest pandemic afflicting our country is poverty and the virus that causes it is called M7-1986. Vaccination against it is January 14.

     

    The Writer, Joseph Kabuleta is a Presidential Candidate 2021, Uganda.

    Former Sports Journalist, Media Consultant, Leader, Rights Activist and Author.

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    NATIONAL

    Who Are The 26 Corrupt High Profile Public Officers Set To Vomit Shs.18.2 Billion? Parliament Tasks Minister…

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    Mityana District Woman MP, Joyce Bagala

    Members of Parliament have moved a motion that Anti-corruption day funds should be earmarked to victims of corruption.

    Appearing before Parliament during plenary that was presided over by Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Thomas Tayebwa, Mityana District Woman Member of Parliament, Joyce Bagala noted that a lot of statistics on money purportedly tracked down, saved and sometimes recovered is not backed by faces that allegedly stole such funds.

    Bagala contended that the minister reported investigation of 26 high-profile cases.

    “We need to know who these high profile public officers are and what was the outcome of the reported investigations warranting recovery of shs18.2 billion,” she said.

    Bagala’s statements follow a report from the State Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Rose Lilly Akello who noted that the Inspector General of Government (IGG) has investigated 26 high-profile cases and directed the recovery of Shs.30 billion, 86 cases were prosecuted and 34 convictions secured whereas the Auditor General made audits which led to recovery of shs.175 billion.

    She added that the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) of the police has registered 318 cases and through prosecutions and recovered Shs.615 billion.

    This comes ahead of the International Anti-Corruption day set to be held on Friday December, 9, 2022.

    During plenary today, Mityana Municipality Woman MP however insisted that the shs.452 million earmarked for the International Anti-Corruption Day should be re-channelled to victims of corruption.

    “The victims of corruption are mothers who die during childbirth due to inefficiencies in the health sector public schools without toilets and communities without clean water. The activities of the anti-corruption day would make sense by thinking of those affected by corruption.

    Kazo County MP, Dan Kimosho asked whether they can look at a sector approach and see what cases are investigated and what is done against the officers.

    “We cannot keep carrying the burden for the corrupt. Whoever comes here should be specific and not demoralize those who are working hard,” he said.

    Ntoroko Constituency MP, Gerald Rwemulitya also urged people fighting corruption to be free and bold adding that there are people shielding the corrupt.

    He propounded, “You here, ‘call from above, he is from my region & religion’. This vice has no side. We need to start attaching property of the corrupt.”

    Leader of Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga however moved a motion that the shs.452 meant for marking the anti-corruption day should be channelled to ‘the victims of corruption in Ibanda District’.

    He wondered why they should put this money to tents, balloons and chairs and yet victims of corruption are around.

    The 3rd Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Rukia Nakadama however revealed that preparations for the anti-corruption day commended earlier, insisting that preparations are already in high gear and some activities have already taken place and so if there is need in the near future, they should come early.

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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    Maj. Gen. Takirwa Appointed Deputy Commander Land Forces…

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    Major General Francis Takirwa has been appointed as Deputy Commander Land Forces.

    President Yoweri Museveni who also doubles as the Commander in Chief of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) also promoted and appointed General Officers.

    Maj. Gen. Takirwa will deputize Maj. Gen. Muhanga Kayanja who was also appointed as Commander Land Forces (CLF) in October, 2022.

    He also appointed Maj. Gen. Jack Bakasumba as Acting Chief of Staff Land Force.

    Maj. Gen. Bakasumba has been Uganda’s delegate to the South Sudan Peace Monitoring Mechanism as the acting chief of staff land forces in the UPDF.

    Museveni has also promoted Brig. Gen. Bob P. Ogiki to Maj. Gen and appointed him 2nd Division Commander.

    Deputy Defence spokesperson, Col. Deo Akiiki congratulated the General Officers upon their well-deserved promotion and appointments.

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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    FOR PRAISING M7: Medical Association President Steps Down To Allow Independent Investigations..

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    Dr. Oledo praising President Museveni at Kololo Grounds

    The President of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA), Dr. Samuel Oledo, has stepped aside to allow independent investigations, according to Dr. Luswata Herbert, the Secretary General.

    Last week, during the Patriotism and Youth Investment symposium, Dr. Oledo appreciated President Museveni for the great job when he decided that all scientists must be paid well.

    “We request that you increase the salaries of our brothers and sisters in uniform, the soldiers, Uganda People’s Association (UPDF) prisons, and others.”

    He went ahead and knelt before Museveni and asked him to stand again 2026.

    This has since been condemned by a number of people who have termed his acts of kneeling as disrespectful to the profession and asked that he should resign.

    On 4th December, 2022, UMA released a statement disassociating themselves from the actions of their President Dr. Dr. Samuel Oledo and his Kololo team.

    Their statement read, “Uganda Medical Association is non-partisan and therefore does not participate in political activities of a partisan nature. The current U.M.A President attended the particular meeting in his personal capacity but not as U.M.A and
    his communications at that meeting were not representing the official position(s) of UMA.

    “Uganda Medical Association dissociates itself from any and all partisan political actions or acts, and is constitutionally required to do so. U.M.A is committed to remain neutral to and to serve all Ugandan doctors and persons from all the political dispensations of, and in Uganda and globally.”

    Dr. Oledo’s team of medical personnel with President Museveni

    Today morning, Democratic Party member and Buikwe South Member of Parliament, Lulume Bayigga said that Dr. Oledo should be brought to book.

    Lulume made these remarks while appearing on NBS’ Morning Breeze today following an incident where Uganda Medical Association (UMA) president, Dr.Oledo Samuel was seen kneeling before the president and asking him to stand again in 2026.

    Dr. Lulume noted that when they were in medical school, they were taught to be respected professionals and serve their country by treating people.

    “The engagement we wanted the UMA president to be part of would be to advocate for the improved welfare of the medics to serve the country better,” he said.

    Dr. Lulume added that the people who followed Dr. Oledu were not from Uganda Medical Association, and that’s why Dr. Mirembe is distancing herself from the act (endorsing President Museveni).

    Dr. Joel Mirembe, a doctor at the UMA noted that they are not against Dr. Oledu and just like the UMA statement noted, whatever he did, he did it in his own capacity and so they are here to protect the Association.

    He adduced, “It is sad that the doctors leadership body is invited to discuss a topic of political succession. That is where the issue is.

    “We have reached out to Dr. Oledu and he is okay and safe. He hasn’t commented about his action, he seems not concerned about what is happening.”

    Dr. Lulume however insisted that UMA will continue with its aspirations because it is Constitutional but what Oledo did scandalized the whole Association, and he must be brought to book.

    “Impeachment is one of the reprimanding measures, but the doctors will take the decision.”

    Dr. Mirembe adduced that Dr. Oledo is the President of the Uganda Medical Association, but what he did was embarrassing and wrong for the profession.

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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