Bars, beer makers spike uptake in vaccinations, East African states fight over job quotas, Museveni vows to catch ‘pigs’ killing Ugandans, President outlines Africa focused COP agenda

Beer makers Uganda Breweries Limited, Century Bottling Company, the makers of Coca Cola in Uganda, the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda together with Kampala Capital City Authority in September launched a campaign to fast-track vaccinations in Uganda’s capital Kampala. As part of the campaign, nurses pitched camp at local bars in and around the capital, with the purpose of taking the vaccine closer to the people. Since then, it has been recorded that Kampala alone has 20 vaccination centers, each inoculating an average 3,000 people per day. The country in September recorded a record 529,053 people receiving the vaccine and in October an even greater 668,982 people took the vaccine. This was a major shift from only 90,196 people that were vaccinated in March. The country has moved from a vaccine crisis to having more than 2 million out of a planned 9 million people vaccinated. President Yoweri Museveni, while announcing a partial end of the lockdown in July stated that in order to fully open up the government targeted having at least 5 million people under the most vulnerable groups vaccinated. Several countries, including the UK, Germany and China stepped in, donating about 5 million doses of various vaccines.

But while Uganda registers enormous successes in the fight against the global pandemic, the country continues to struggle to contain a recent spate of domestic urban terrorism. Over the last couple of years, goons have succeeded in gunning down a number of top government officials. In 2015, Joan Kagezi, a state prosecutor that oversaw the case against a group arrested and charged with the murder of Muslim clerics in the country, was gunned down in Kampala on her way home, Andrew Felix Kawessi, then Deputy Inspector General of Police was also murdered as he left his home for work in 2017. Mohammed Kirumira, another police boss did not survive the bullets in an almost similar manner in 2019. On Sunday morning, Ugandans woke to the news that a popular hang out in Kampala had been bombed and one of the waitresses fatally wounded. Others are still nursing wounds. Police have since come out to inform the world that this was an act of local terrorists. President Museveni, has in his characteristic hatred for people that kill Ugandans, lashed out to who he calls “the pigs” and promised Ugandans that they would be caught just as several others that have engaged in latest acts of killings of people in Kampala.

All is not well for the planners of the East African Federation. A letter from Uganda’s Minister for East African Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga, last week brought to light a standoff between the partner states over job quotas. The Federation periodically advertises jobs for qualified people from the six nations to take up. This year, the Federation advertised and specifically stated that the jobs were up for competitive qualification, a thing that has not gone down well with four of the member states, Uganda, South Sudan Burundi and Rwanda. These countries say that the recruitment is heavily bent in favour of Tanzania and on the other side Kenya. Kadaga, in a heavily worded letter to the Federation Secretary-General, did not mince her words asking that the member states be informed about the process that was followed in carrying out the recruitment. Uganda, South Sudan and Burundi have come out to call for halting of the process, while Rwanda remains lukewarm, Tanzania and Kenya are on the defensive as they are accused of taking the lion’s share.

Meanwhile President Museveni started the week off setting an African-oriented agenda for the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland from October 31 to November 12. Media was awash with a strongly worded article that the President wrote on The Wall Street Journal, making a case for Africa not to give in to pressure of limiting itself to only one energy source. The President argues that the continent should not compromise its prosperity for Western goals. He stated that Africa should balance its energy mix rather than rush solely for renewables. Mr Museveni’s article will more than likely shake up the global climate gathering next week.