Former security minister and president hopeful Gen. Henry Tumukunde has joined hundreds of Ugandans that have faulted the health minister for breaching the Coronavirus SOPs during the weekend.
In a lengthy statement, Tumukunde pens down a series of questions that have not yet been responded to by now.
The controversial military maven also demands for the minister’s immediate resignation as detailed in the statement below.
Ugandans have every right to be angry with their leaders who continuously fail to practice what they preach.
The whole world finds itself in a different position today as the coronavirus pandemic slows things down, tears families apart, and exposes it to all sorts of new norms like lockdowns and restricted movements.
Thousands of people have died, and millions are infected. In Uganda, a lockdown was imposed, and millions supported it to help minimize the spread of the disease and fortunately no death has been recorded to date.
However, as the lockdown was gradually lifted, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) were developed by the Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, who has championed them over radio, television, and other forums.
Sadly, on 10th July 2020, images and a video clearly showing Dr. Aceng without a face mask and surrounded by a large group of people, surfaced and this has angered many Ugandans as they struggle to observe the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, in the face of economic hardships.
We are in a lockdown because of Dr. Aceng’s recommendations but if one of Uganda Government’s most impressive, professional & disciplined Ministers was seen disregarding her very own guidelines, how then can she expect the rest of us to abide?
In other parts of the world, we have seen Ministers resign after such blunders, for example, New Zealand’s Health Minister who resigned after breaching their lockdown rules, and in the U.K, a Junior Minister for Scotland in the British Parliament stepped down after taking a trip during the quarantine period slapped on the entire country. This is what responsible and accountable leadership looks like and how citizen trust is gained – when leaders practice what they preach. This is what Ugandans must start demanding.
I want to speak for millions of Ugandans who have been good, disciplined and maintained the SOP’s but have over time gotten disappointed with their political leaders. Indeed, we Ugandans should be angry when our leaders fail us.
As leaders, we cannot preach social distancing and wearing of masks only to be let down by those who preach it. The country is going through a debate on the upcoming elections with some proposing the “scientific” way, while others call for postponement of the same. Then a Minister, an enforcer of the law is seen among her expected voters in the upcoming elections, without a mask and in a crowd.
Her defense is riddled with mistakes that should be pointing to her resignation so that we have another Minister who can build trust of the people. Or should we now say open campaigns are possible since the Minister of Health held an open rally with total disregard of SOPs? Is it possible that what we saw is what NRM is planning to do during the coming elections? Setting restrictions on citizens and political players in the name of COVID under the guise of SOPs? They are restricting us and yet freely flaunting the very guidelines under which they have put us.
As Ugandans, we must continue holding our leaders to the highest standards set by the Constitution of Uganda and other supporting laws. Over the years during my time in public service, both in Parliament and the UPDF, I have always stood up and questioned the Government and NRM administration when they tried to go against the constitution and I am on record for serving prison time over this.
My belief is in leading by example across all spheres of life. And this I will continue to do as I present myself to lead my fellow Ugandans into a new, better, and more accountable future for our country as your President.
Lt Gen (Rtd.) Henry Tumukunde