OPINION: Which crime did the doctors who knelt before the President commit? 


By Sam Evidence Orikunda

For many years the opposition has harassed and exerted pressure on anybody who comes up openly to support President Museveni and the party in power. It actually takes confidence and boldness for some people to express their support for the NRM these days. 

Whereas the constitution gives every citizen a right to belong to any political formation of their choice but the opposition thinks its criminal for anybody to belong to NRM. This is why the doctors who knelt before the President requesting to run again as president are being trolled on different social media platforms and I'm told their leader was forced to step aside I don't know for what reason because I haven't read through his resignation letter. Those criticising him and throwing insults at him should have first tried to find out if there's any law that he breached both in the constitution and in the standing orders that govern public servants. 

In Uganda we have medical  doctors, who have joined politics and openly opposed President Museveni and the NRM government,  some of them have contested on the tickets of different opposition political parties and won the elections and they're serving as members of Parliament, I have never heard the Uganda Medical Association requesting them to apologize but rather they praise them. 

Kneeling is considered as a culturally normal way of showing respect to someone older or any person you hold in high esteem. In some parts of the country like the central region it is taught to children so that they grow knowing it as a way of showing respect and gratitude.  

So why did it eventually turn sacrilege when the doctors did it before the President of Uganda who is the fountain of honour and the chief executive? What crime did they commit for them to be harassed to extent of forcing their leader to resign? 

This kind of biased politicking should stop. We should allow Ugandans to express themselves irrespective of the profession they belong to. I think that's  what the democracy and the human rights is all about.

It is in President Museveni 's era that the scientists have been recognized and considered as a priority. This has actually brought disagreements between the scientists and the artists. The President has been very consistent in supporting the scientists to be innovative and also supporting our health system. 

Recently while addressing the teachers he made it clear that he was not going to accept any kind of intimidation, he also said that he was not going to listen to anybody who has no respect for prioritisation. Also, during the Covid 19 pandemic, the President followed all the guidance from the ministry of health and that is why we were able to fight Covid 19 as a country. 

Even now when we are struggling with the Ebola Virus, the President continues to rely on the advice and the guidance of the medical practitioners. He could have chosen to use his military skills and ignore all this advice but he appreciates scientists too much. 

So why shouldn't the doctors kneel before the President in gratitude? Why shouldn't they beg him to run again as the President if he has promised to have their renumeration raised and has fulfilled it? How come we no longer have the sit down strikes of doctors? How come the scientists are paid better than the artists and yet the President is an artist? He would have chosen to ignore the scientists! Such person deserves an appreciation. 

Asking him to run again is also in order because we can't be sure of who is coming to replace him, what if that person changes all the policies that have been put in place by the heroic president who shown tremendous support for the medical doctors of Uganda? It was actually a culture for most of the doctors to run to the neighbouring countries for work where they said they would get enough pay. More and more doctors are opting to stay and work in Uganda because the renumeration better.

It is true that in some areas, the working conditions are bad and even what to use in the health facilities isn't available but we've come from a worse off situation.

The Uganda Medical Association should apologise to Ugandans for harassing and trolling Dr Samuel Oledo and his colleagues who knelt down before the President as a way of appreciating him. They should tell us if they're not grateful for the pay rise, they should also be aware that not everyone's salaries were raised and they should be made to understand that it is the President who led struggle of working on the renumeration of the medical workers. 

The writer is a deputy RDC Sheema District.

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