DEATH OF GEN.PAUL LOKECH AND GEN. PECOS KUTESA
The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) joins the country in mourning the passing of two senior Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) senior officers; Lt. Gen. Pecos Kutesa and Maj. Gen. Paul Lokech. We send our condolences to their families to the forces and to the country.
These two officers represent two worlds. Lt. Gen. Pecos Kutesa is one of the few young educated Ugandans that picked up arms to fight the dictatorial regime of Dr. Milton Obote. Kutesa was very instrumental in the bush war that eventually brought Museveni to power. He is remembered for leading attacks against barracks that helped NRA acquire ammunition. Despite his role and senior rank in the military, he led a fairly modest life. His name didn’t feature in corruption and land grabbing like names of many of his counterparts. He was a complete opposite of Generals like Elly Tumwine who think the country owes them because they fought in Luwero. We ask UPDF especially senior officers to emulate his example.
Maj. Gen. Paul Lokech has rightly been described as battle hardened, “Lion of Mogadishu” etc. He was a ruthless commander in the league of Lt. Gen. Olwelu. It is not surprising that a mission to hunt down those who attempted to kill Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala that he personally oversaw resulted into the murder of four suspects. There is an attempt to cover up these murders. The suspects had been arrested and dully subdued. Those that were not killed were severely tortured before they were presented to court. This is a matter that Lokech personally handled.
Combating crime is what everybody is yearning for but it must be lawfully done. Maj. Gen. Elly Kayanja commanded Operation Wembly whose order was “shot on sight.” Many people were murdered during this operation. The country dreads these kind of operations.
Police officers must therefore learn that life is precious. Don’t’ unlawfully terminate anybody’s life. It is as precious as yours.
THE COVID 19 MANAGEMENT
Over the weekend, we began a fourth week since Mr. Museveni relaxed lockdown measures. Life in the country has returned to normal. Even sectors that were supposed to remain closed according to Museveni, have slowly re-opened themselves. The only bars that were not operating this weekend, are the ones with no customers.
The FDC is disturbed by Mr. Museveni’s continued refusal to open places of worship and schools. The second wave according to scientists, has now fully subsided. The scientists including Museveni’s health Minister Jane Aceng are now warning of a more devastating third wave.
The FDC as communicated earlier, wants the country fully re-opened during this period when the second wave is terminating. This will allow everybody including school children cover lost ground. Children should be facilitated to quickly sit for promotional exams and sent back home before the third wave. Places of worship should re-open because they will be closed when the third wave struck.
The FDC welcomes the news of the vaccines that we are told will begin arriving in the country next month (Nine million dozes of Johnson and Johnson, 18 million Chinese Sinopharm and 18 million of unnamed type from COVAX).
Knowing this NRM government, vaccines are likely to arrive in the country when there is no vaccination plan. You will then hear them fidget with transportation and storage. We demand for a vaccination plan before the arrival of the first batch. Remember, it took us more than six month to administer one million dozes that were donated to the country. We demand a list of those who will be vaccinated using the first batch and places where this vaccination will take place. If we must recruit additional health workers, let us do it now. We may also need to sign a memorandum of understanding with private health providers because we will certainly need their services when the vaccines arrive. Teachers and students should be vaccinated from their schools which we think should be immediately re-opened.
Should we be required to feed people again during the third wave, let us transparently develop a national list of vulnerable people. We should know in advance the amount of money we will require to feed people incase of a third wave.
And most importantly, we must improve our health facilities. There should be no excuse this time when a third wave hits the country. Should Museveni refuse to listen to this advice, we will be left with no option but to lead the population in civil action.
EMYOGA, PARISH MODEL
Last week, Mr. Museveni met with NRM MPs at Kololo and asked them to support distribution of one trillion shillings to the population. Cash distribution centres are going to be set up at parish levels. This is what Museveni has termed as Parish Model.
Parish Model, the new song, is Mr. Museveni’s new economic miracle that will get Ugandans out of poverty. In this financial year’s budget, Shs 202 billion was approved by Parliament to specifically be used to recruit and set up parish structures. There is therefore no money to distribute this financial year. The money approved by Parliament was for setting us of the structures. It is the reason Museveni wants Shs one trillion fixed in next financial year’s budget.
Each parish regardless of the population and economic activity will receive equal amount when the promised trillion is provided. For example Kireka in Kira Municipality with 200,000 people will be given Shs 100 million each financial year. According to National Bureau of Statistics, a parish in Uganda is 800 people.
The FDC would like to warn NRM MPs and Parliament in general against risking taxpayers’ money again in unplanned ventures. The country has not recovered from Emyoga fraud which Museveni entrusted with his RDCs. Parliament budgeted for Shs 250 billion for Emyoga and this money cannot be accounted for. Its effect on the population is not there.
At Kololo the same Museveni who has been praising Operation Wealth Creation led by his brother Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho, said it has not benefited the population. In fact, if you read Minister Matia Kasaija statement to Parliament delivered in April this year, government wants Operation Wealth Creation phased out. Kasaija proposed that Shs 200 billion meant for OWC be diverted to finance Emyoga.
UGANDA SHOULD LEARN FROM AFGHAN
Hosting refugees running away from Afghanistan has been debated by the country exhaustively. The US has asked a number of countries to help it accommodate thousands of Afghans it is evacuating from Afghanistan including Uganda as they process them for their final journey to America. Many countries such as UAE, Qatar and Germany have accepted to help America by hosting these refugees. Uganda is one of the countries that America has requested.
As FDC we sympathize with thousands of Afghans who have endured war for the last six decades. We sympathize with them because their country has been turned into a ground for proxy wars by the international powers.
We would therefore be willing to offer them any assistance so they live a happy life including hosting them in our country. We will only demand that all necessary health/Covid 19 protocols are followed and their settlement or hosting is in line with international refugee conventions.
The fall of Kabul to Taliban must serve as a lesson for all countries including our Uganda that are drafted in costly foreign aggression led by America. Those who escorted America to Afghanistan have been left embarrassed by the chaos in Afghanistan that the US withdrawal has caused.
The very people (terrorists) that America and allies went to fight in Afghanistan are now working hand in hand with them. As a country we must not pride ourselves in occupying or helping occupation of other countries.
The Americans the main backers of the Somali war, may one day walk away like they have done in Afghanistan. The Americans may one day work with Al-shababs the way they are working with Talibans in Kabul.