Human rights activists under their umbrella association of Human Rights Defenders Union Uganda have called for the resignation of the Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr. Diana Atwine.
In a press brief held on Monday morning, the activists said that Dr. Atwine had misused Covid-19 response funds among other key issues, and should leave office immediately.
“We demand therefore that the PS, Dr. Diana Atwine must resign with immediate effect for her extensive abuse of office,” Namata Mwafrika alias Nalongo Nana, an activist said in a statement.
Last year, government collected at least Shs 29 billion in donations from Ugandans and companies to aid the fight against Covid-19 and the activists said that Dr. Atwine misappropriated the funds and failed to offer accountability.
“Ministry of Health, the National COVID-19 Task Force, and other relevant entities must be held accountable publicly for all funds borrowed, donated, budgeted for management of the pandemic.”
When asked to respond to the accusations, Health Ministry PRO, Emmanuel Ainebyoona told Nile Post that the activists’ claims are ‘baseless.’
“They should provide proof/evidence of mishandling COVID-19 funds and submit to competent anti-corruption authority as opposed to making baseless claims in the media. Let them also find more details on how funds were spent in the auditor general’s report,” Ainebyoona told Nile Post.
Last month, Dr. Atwine while appearing on NXT Radio’s Big Talk show said she was tired of Ugandans calling her and the minister ‘thieves’ because they are not.
“We are tired of being called thieves. Let me tell you, we care about Ugandans. It’s not fair to call us insensitive,” Dr Atwine said.
Dr. Atwine said the challenge is that everyone is looking for faults, instead of supporting their efforts and work together in the face of the pandemic.
The activists also tasked the Parliament to rein on the executive by denying any requests for loans. They said that while the government borrows more funds in the name of management of COVID-19, the initial loans have been unaccounted for.
“The Ministry of Health, the National COVID-19 Task Force, and other relevant entities must be held accountable publicly for all funds borrowed, donated, budgeted for management of the pandemic,” they added.
The activists want Government to as soon as possible, come up with a sustainable palm or way foward on education of Uganda’s youth without discrimination.
They said that majority of Ugandan learners have been out of school for nearly two years but children of the privileged continue with their studies online and with the aid of technology.
The activists also want government to halt the ‘unfair ‘taxation of Ugandans, particularly the new internet tax which they said is regressive and will greatly frustrate young learners who are trying to study virtually.