ADDRESSBYH.E. YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
Countrymen and Countrywomen,
It has been many weeks since I addressed you on the issue of the corona-virus. The last address was on the 29th day in the month of September, 2020. Today, the virus has infected a total of 19,944 persons, 8,944 of whom have recovered and 201 have died. As you can see, the death rates are still low, mainly because of our earlier tough measures of restrictions. Since the infections were few, more care could be taken by the Medical workers for those infected. Even today, however, we should not relax.
The good thing about the virus, is that it is easy to avoid if we are disciplined. Remember the preventive measures. Do not go in public without first testing for corona if you have got flu-like symptoms. I have had to do two corona-virus tests when I felt some flu-like symptoms, the last time being on my first day in Karamoja recently. Fortunately, on both occasions, the results were negative. Otherwise, I would have had to be quarantined and suspend all work involving meetings with People. Always wear a mask, covering the mouth and the nose. Do not get near any-body with flu-like symptoms. Keep a distance of 2 metres between person and person. Always wash hands with water and soap or use sanitizers. Never touch your nose, mouth or eyes without washing first. Always sanitize surfaces that are touched by many people (table-tops, door handles etc.) and also sterilize documents in Offices. When using public transport, ensure you follow the SOPs of the Ministry of Health.
If we observe the measures above, we shall be safe. We shall not share the losses other parts of the World experienced. Up to today, the World has had 62.24 million people infected, 39 million have recovered, 1,452,435 have died. One Country, the USA, for instance, has had a total of 13.24million infections, 266,063 deaths and 8.041million recoveries (Source: John Hopkins University). The people that have died in the USA in the last 8 months, are more than the people that died in the USA War in Vietnam in the 10 years between 1964 and 1974. I, therefore, would like to congratulate the Ugandans for, especially at the beginning, listening to our advice and limiting this loss.
The World is about to get out of this nightmare by getting a vaccine or even a cure. In Uganda, we are working on both. Especially the cure, looks promising. There are good developments for the vaccines outside – the USA, UK, Russia and China. Therefore, do not allow “obwaato okufa amagoba” – the boat to sink when it is nearing the shore. This disease, kills all ages. Witness this young child, apparently totally healthy, but who died because the doctors did not attend to her seriously, assuming that children can always overcome the disease.
In the battle against the corona-virus and the other viruses, our Scientists have given me the happy news that, given the funding Government gave them and in spite of delays by the neo-colonial jesters called PPDA, they have developed seven wonderful products, six of which are under trial and one, an immune booster, is already being used.
The first 3 are all anti-virals – killing the virus and limiting the damage by the virus to the body. The Scientists have told me that dozens of People have been healed by these substances but, starting with the 15th of December, 2020, patients, under strict medical supervision, will have this medicine tried on them.
The Scientists are saying that within 40 days, enough patients will have been treated, to convince the other persons that are not part of the trials that the drug works against the corona and other viruses.
The fourth exciting product is a bronchial dilator – a drug that will keep your lung air-ways open without the need to use the ventilators that cause so much damage to the body parts where they are inserted. Our Scientists have also developed two diagnostic tests – one of which uses saliva and can give results in 30 minutes. There is always opportunity in adversity.
As we look forward to emerging from this COVID-19 nightmare, the NRM will work out a bail-out package for the categories that were most affected, businesswise: the owners of the Private Schools, the entertainment industry, the hospitality industry, the street vendors, etc. Where will the money come from?
By January, 2020, all the electioneering will be over. How much money shall we have spent on these elections eversince the time of the registration of voters in the month of November, 2019? It will be a total of Ug. Shs.1,073bn. Fortunately, this huge money is a one-time expenditure every five years. We are not going to spend it again for another four years. We shall, therefore, have money with which we can address these needs of bailing out our People. In the End of the Year address, I will touch on the challenges we faced at the beginning of the year: the locusts, the floods, the land-slides, the floating Islands, on top of the corona-virus. What happened to the others, apart from the virus? They have been solved, either wholly or partially. Instead, we are now having the problem of surpluses of: sugar, maize, milk, bananas, cement, steel etc., as already said. Uganda, under the NRM, is unstoppable.
Since it was going to be more troublesome to postpone the elections, we decided to go for the Scientific elections where we would campaign by holding small meetings, not exceeding 200 People, outdoors, using the radios, etc. Some candidates, however, from the beginning, swore that they would not observe these precautions and that they would hold rallies as if there was no danger to the People. This irresponsibility, must be condemned. These aspirants stand in open-roofed vehicles to wave at the gathered People, address crowds etc.
As you all have seen, even when the NRM crowds gather, in this campaign, I have not, even once, stood in an open-roofed vehicle to wave at the People or to talk to them. I simply slow down, remain inside the car, wave at them and using signs, I advise them to social-distance (tonsemberera, otampika) and to put on masks. I could put on the N-95 surgical mask and the face – shield, stand up in the open-roofed car, wave at the crowds and talk to them while I remain safe-not vulnerable to the infection by the disease from the crowd. That would, however, be criminal to the extreme. I would be safe, but encouraging the People to infect one another. While the locals have been ignoring the social-distancing etc, the added danger to the campaigns is that political groups from afar, encouraged by non-caring politicians, can now import added danger when they roam around claiming to be mobilizing. However, some of the political actors, working with anti-Ugandan elements from outside, have been promoting impunity and swearing that they will render Uganda ungovernable. We have been monitoring them through intelligence. Working with criminal gangs, whom they pay money and give drugs, taking advantage of serious weaknesses in the Police, some areas of Kampala were declared “No Go areas” for law enforcement by these conspirators. They have been saying that they will burn the petrol stations etc. When, therefore, the Hon. Kyagulanyi, one of the Presidential aspirants and the Hon. Amuriat another Presidential aspirant, were arrested on the 18th of November, 2020, those criminal gangs, sponsored by political opportunists and backed by some external elements, decided to execute their long-planned scheme. They started burning tyres on the roads, mounting illegal roadblocks, robbing Ugandans, beating People, attacking people with NRM uniforms, stoning cars, stoning Security personnel, damaging Government cars etc. In spite of the weaknesses of the Police that allow such impunity of lawlessness to persist in our Towns, the overall security posture of Uganda is robust. A multi-force response was immediately activated and 1,014 suspects were arrested, of whom 843 suspects were charged in the Courts of Law including Hon. Kyagulanyi. 699 were remanded, 93 released on Court bail, while 113 were released on Police bond, including Hon. Amuriat. 21 were cleared and released and 37 are still in Police custody pending Court, including those who burnt Wobulenzi Magistrate’s Court that are facing the charges of terrorism.
Unfortunately, 54 people died in this confusion. 32 victims were rioters, some were hit by stray-bullets and two victims were knocked by vehicle registration No. UAW-827N that lost control after the driver was hit by stones and another vehicle with Presidential Candidate Museveni pictures, where the driver was hit by stones, also lost control and killed another person. According to the Police report, for instance, the 5 persons who died in Nansana, were part of the rioting group. They had, apparently, “over powered” the Police. I will get the details of “over powering” the Police. What actually happened? It is criminal to attack Security Forces by throwing stones or attempting to disarm them. In that scenario, the Police will legitimately fire directly at the attackers if they fail to respond to the firing in the air. Many of the up-country Police groups are not equipped with anti-riot equipment (shields, batons, water cannons, rubber bullets etc.) and should not be. We should not have a Country of rioters. It is the duty of everybody to keep the peace. If Honourable Kyagulanyi was arrested, his supporters should have waited for him to go to Court as he, eventually, did. The idea that Hon. Kyagulanyi, or any politician, is untouchable because he is a politician and if the Police legitimately arrests him, there will be riots, is not acceptable and must never be repeated.
A very clear picture of impunity by the criminals comes out in 3 incidents that happened on the 20th, 21st and 22nd November, 2020. On these 3 dates, highly trained security personnel wearing the uniform of the counter-terrorism Police, went out on patrols through the so called “no go areas” for law enforcement. On the 20th, the patrol went to Makerere-Kivulu, North of the Kissekka Market. They were attacked with mitayimbwa by thugs. Two criminals were shot dead there and then and the 3rd one died later on account of injuries. On the 21st, the patrols went to the Katwe area where thugs started throwing stones at the Security personnel and injured one of them. The attacker was promptly shot dead. On the 22nd of November, the security personnel were patrolling the “No Go area” of Nakivubo. One thug started attacking them by throwing stones. He was shot dead. You can see the videos of a criminal that was attacking a Police woman and a group of criminals undressing NRM women. This will never happen, again. The perpetrators have tested the consequences of playing with fire. It is wrong for some groups to only condemn the Security Forces, but never condemn law-breakers that attack innocent people, kill them, rob them etc. In the Book of Romans Chapter 1 Verses 22, it says, in Runyankore: “Ziryabareeba abo ababikora, naabo ababishemererwa”. In English it says: “that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them”.
The weak Police responses in the past may have created that false impression. It was definitely a miscalculation for the schemers to imagine that they can use such anti-people techniques in a country led by the Original NRA/NRM. You have no right to stone Ugandans, to undress people, including women, because they are wearing yellow garments, to damage property etc.
The original mistake, of course, was by the Presidential candidates that did not adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines and to imagine that they are immune and can violate those safety measures with impunity. The Court system should also help the country by strictly implementing the law so that nobody is led into temptation.
On the Police side, apart from their weaknesses and some corruption that have led the criminals and their opportunistic manipulators to believe that they can act with impunity, they should also audit the phenomenon of shooting people by “stray bullets”. What was the original purpose of those bullets before they became “stray”? Even if you do not have anti-riot equipment, you can still firmly but humanely handle a riotous situation as I guided in my letter to the IGP of the 8th of September, 2020. You should, first, fire in the air to scare rioters. With firing in the air, there cannot be “stray bullets” because, by the time the bullet falls back on the ground, it will no longer be lethal. “Stray bullets” only come into play when you are firing directly at the attackers but some bullets miss the attackers and hit by-standers, passers-by or people just sitting in their homes.
I extend condolences to all the Ugandans and their families that lost their lives in these senseless riots. The Government will compensate all those who were not rioters but lost lives in this confusion. The Government will also compensate those who lost their properties, if it can be verified.
Regarding the illegal rally at Luuka, the Police could have warned them and concentrated on Hon. Kyagulanyi because he should be the one to discourage them and not encourage them to congregate. When my supporters congregate, I do not encourage them.
My staff and my family members also brought to my notice two incidents where Police or Army appeared to be firing at People. I tasked the Security Service leaders to locate these People. Apparently, the white pick-up was at Nsangi where a Police Officer Kidega had been injured and that pick-up was evacuating him. They say they were firing at attackers. We shall confirm that. They say nobody died on the civilian side. That will be cross-checked. The uniformed People were patrolling in Mukono, at the junction of Kayunga Road. I will get more details of what happened there. Again, they say nobody died. The cameras that we put in place will always give us a clear factual picture. Why were the criminals attacking the cameras? It is because they have alot to hide. NRM has nothing to hide: that is why the smallest mistake can clearly be seen. This is good for the country.
The message about the corona-virus and the violence cannot be concluded without integrating it with the success story of the NRM right from 1965 when, as a Student Group, we rejected the politics of sectarianism (religious, tribal and gender chauvinism) and emphasized the politics of dealing with the common human needs: peace, food, shelter, clothing, education, health, jobs, poverty, markets etc. Unlike 1962 when the political groups had fragmented the political map along tribal and religious lines, our emphasis on the needs of the people rather than their identity, enabled the NRM to create more unity among the People and that is why the NRM is always winning 60% to 76% in all these election cycles.
On account of a more united population, we have created a powerful Army. The two, a united population and a strong Army, have created peace for the first time in 500 years, eversince the collapse of the Bachwezi dynasty in the year 1,500 AD and coupled with pro-private sector policies, we have attracted considerable levels of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) from outside in the form of factories and Service companies. While in 1986, we had only 80 factories, we now have a total of 4,920 factories, 8,400 Service companies and 4,100 ICT companies. These have helped us to end the shortages of the goods and services in the country (sugar, soap, sodas, beers, cement, steel products etc. and transport, financial services, insurance etc.). They have also helped us to create jobs that are not Government jobs or agriculture jobs. These non-agriculture, non-Government jobs are now 2m million. These foreign economic actors have also helped us to generate more taxes. While in 1986, we were collecting only Shs.5bn in taxes, we are now collecting Shs.21,000bn, that is 4,200 times more than in 1986. We, therefore, have more goods, more services, more jobs (although not enough to cover everybody) and more tax revenue. What is, therefore, needed is okugabula bulungi (poko marom, aikor ejok etc.) – good and targeted distribution (budgeting) of this money to cause faster growth. We also need to stop corruption because it diverts money from development to stealing.
Besides, we should use the bigger economy (now the GDP stands at US$ 34.7bn compared to US$ 3.9bn in 1986) to transform our indigenous society from a society of Abakolera Ekidda Kyonka to a society of People who work for ekidda, ensawo with ekibaro (working for the stomach and the pocket with ekibaro) – i.e. fully monetizing the economy. This will have the effect of expanding the jobs in the agricultural sector. All these efforts will lead to the global waking up of the population of Uganda and the transformation of the society and economy. Subsistence agriculture will disappear and be replaced by commercial agriculture, industries, services and ICT. This will result and has already resulted into the big scale production of goods and services. Where shall we sell all these products? We go back to the plan of our elders – Mzee Kenyatta, Mwalimu Nyerere, Mzee Obote etc, of the East and Central African integration, including the Political Federation of East Africa. This is the medicine of NRM to deal with the 500 years political, security and growth problems of this part of Africa. It is 11 points:
(1) People’s needs rather than emphasizing, in unhealthy ways, their identity (sectarianism);
(2) this creates more unity and a strong Army;
(3) the two in No. 2, create peace;
(4) peace plus pro-private sector policies, have attracted alot of FDIs (abagagga from outside);
(5) these have solved the problem of shortages;
(6) they have created many non-Government and non-Agriculture jobs;
(7) they have also enabled us to collect more taxes;
(8) we, therefore, need to kugabula better – the MPs and the President – with good kugabula, nothing is impossible;
(9) we also need to eradicate corruption, that takes away the resources of the country;
(10) that leaves us with the problem of the Abakolera ekidda kyonka that must also work for the pocket but with ekibaro;
(11) that will lead to huge volumes of production that will need a larger market that will lead us to the struggle for the East African Integration, including the East African Federation and the Continental Free Trade Area.