The wrap up: 2021 in the eyes of Uganda’s President Museveni

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni on Friday December 31 2021, delivered a highly anticipated national address, winding up the year and giving an update on how the country is faring in the fight against the global Coronavirus pandemic. Ugandans waited with bated breath, as they anticipated a full reopening of the country’s economy which for the last two years has undergone the effects of virus mitigation measures.

Several sectors of the economy were closed in March 2020 when the government declared a total lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. The economy has taken a beating undoubtedly, with records indicating a 3 percentage point drop in growth.

Schools across the country have remained closed and children have sat home for the two years. An attempt to reopen in early 2021 turned disastrous, spiking the numbers of infections and deaths that caused government to reverse the decision and close schools again. Ugandans have suffered the pains of sitting at home, with recorded increases in cases of sexual abuse and young pregnancies, yet Mr Museveni remains steadfast. In his address on December 31, he uses trials and tribulations as well as victories and triumphs to describe 2020 and 2021.

He lists the invasion of locusts, floods and rising levels of the waters of lakes Victoria, Kyooga and Albert, landslides in the Mountain areas, floating islands that were threatening the hydro-dams as the other tribulations besides the corona pandemic that Uganda has faced since 2020. “Uganda, under the NRM, has overcome almost completely, the four of these. The only exception that we are still struggling with, is the corona pandemic.

Uganda doing better than many countries

Explaining why he remains steadfast that the government decision to lockdown the country was not misgiven, President Museveni draws a comparison to other parts of the world where the pandemic has hit harder. He highlights global infections that have hit 281,808,207 million people, with 5,411,759 million people succumbing and 252,735,264 million people that have recovered.

“In Uganda, after almost the two years of battle with corona, the total number of the infected is 139,079; those that have recovered, the number is 98,379; and those that have died, the number is 3,291. We cannot jubilate over this, but we can also not fail to see the much smaller number of deaths here as compared to some of the other countries. This was on account of the tough and timely measures, that we undertook that minimized the infection levels as well as the death-levels,” he states, adding: “The tough measures we took, were in order to buy time, so that we find better solutions. We think now, we have found some solutions.”

Progress on vaccination

Uganda set out to vaccinate 22 million Ugandans above the age of 18 years of age, starting with the 4.8 million most vulnerable persons (3.3million above the age of 50 years, 550,000 teachers, 150,000 health workers, 250,000 security personnel and 500,000 below 50 years of age but with co-morbidities like diabetes or high blood pressure. Of these, are 11,377,067 total doses have been administered and out of this, 3,756,248 million people have been vaccinated fully either with 2 dozes of the various vaccine types or the one vaccine of Johnson and Johnson. Of the 22million people, 45% (9,979,206) of the target population, have received at least one shot of the vaccine and 17% have been fully vaccinated.

The country faced challenges accessing vaccines, causing Mr Museveni to attack Western countries that he accused of double standards for hoarding vaccines.  “As of today, we have received a total of 20,658,940 million vaccine types that need two dozes to cover one person and 12,037,500millions of the single doze Johnson and Johnson. This means that we have already used 21,086,318 and what we have but have not used, have the capacity to vaccinate 8,503,631millions of people or to cover 6.1million people due for second dose. We are expecting another 7,319,610millions double doze vaccines, able to vaccinate 3,659,805million people and another 3,691,200 Johnson and Johnson able to vaccinate a similar number,” President Museveni states in his December 31 address.

Covidex still in the picture

While the hullaballoo about a locally made cure has quietened, Mr Museveni stresses that the country has progressed in its efforts to develop remedies to the virus, including conducting clinical trials of the now popular Covidex concoction which appears to treat the symptoms of Covid. “Ugandan scientists and the community, the latter through their ancient knowledge of the environment, have discovered substances that seem to cure corona and other viral diseases. I have interviewed many patients, that have been cured. Dr. Ogwang, is now trying out the medicine in a clinical setting. We shall know the results of this clinical trial by May, 2022. This would be a path finder, in terms of medical care,” Museveni states. The results of these clinical trials will be followed with great interest.

Staggered reopening of the economy

He declared the reopening of economy, education and social sectors, albeit in a staggered manner and with a warning that measures would be reversed, if Covid-19 high dependence and intensive care units bed occupancy, exceeds 50% and if the daily rate of hospitalization for severely and critically ill patients, is sustained at 30 per day for 5 days in two or more Covid-19 Treatment Units. Uganda has 187 beds in Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 475 beds in HDU (High Dependency Unit) beds and a total  of 3,100 coronavirus beds.

Terror and crime

The year 2021, in the President’s narrative was also dotted with various incidents of crime and terrorism. He highlight the machete wielding criminals, locally called the Bijambiya operators, who killed 26 people in the Masaka area. He was, however quick to add that 21 suspects connected to those Bijambiyas have been arrested and are now in the Courts of Law.

On terrorism, the Commander in Chief of Uganda’s armed forces narrates thus; “The ADF terrorists had kept quiet since the arrest of Jamil Mukulu, now in Luzira. However, in June, this year, characteristic to their shallow miscalculation, on the orders of their leaders who had made parts of Eastern Congo an area of their control, tried to assassinate General Katumba Wamala. Katumba survived, but his daughter and driver were killed. This was the ADF’s greatest mistake. They did not know, that since my 2018 twelve (12) points anti-crime plan, we had partially upgraded our anti-crime infrastructure.

With patient analysis, the Police identified some of the criminals. We started arresting them and those who tried to fight during arrest, were killed. Up to now, inside Uganda, a total of 12 of these criminals have been killed and a total of 113 have been arrested and many of them are in the Courts of Law. As we were hunting them and arresting them, in their foolishness, they sent a group to Pader, to plant a bomb during the burial of Lt. General Lokech, apparently, because he had devotedly hunted them after the attack on Katumba. More of them, thus exposing themselves, were arrested and some were killed. In a rush, they started trying to plant bombs in Kampala. With the Police hotly in pursuit, they planted a bomb at Komamboga among Pork eaters, another one in the bus and the two, on the 16th of November, 2021, one at the CPS and another one at Parliament Avenue. A total of  5 Ugandans were killed in these bombs without counting the 3 bombers who were blown up by their own bombs.”

He continues: “On account of the partially improved anti-crime infrastructure, the Police knows almost everybody that is involved in these crimes ─ whether inside Uganda ─ on the run or in hiding ─ or abroad.

Their headquarters, definitely, has been in Eastern Congo for more than 20 years. It is a syndicate of crime succored by the absence of Government authority, in some parts of Congo. These terrorists, have been making money in Eastern Congo and using it to finance terrorism in Eastern Congo by routinely massacring Congolese, orchestrating terrorism within Uganda and funding terrorism as far afield as Mozambique. It is pathetic to listen to the sick talk of these disoriented young people, claiming to be fighting Bakafiiri (us Ugandans), in order to make Uganda a country governed by “Sharia law”. At the right time, we shall publicize this information so that Ugandans can see the tragedy of Africa. We had, of course, met, before, such sick-minded confused people in Somalia and on the border with Sudan (Kaaya, etc.) and shown those groups how the people they call Bakafiiri can defend the land of their ancestors, Africa.”

He lists countries where similar terror and mayhem are being mounted on Africans, calling for unity of African States if they are to be defeated. “It is this unity, partial prosperity and general progress, that these confused parasites are fighting. Such groups, working for or with foreigners, or taking advantage of some situations, are sowing mayhem in different parts of Africa: Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Central Africa, Chad, DRC, Mozambique, Somalia, etc,” Museveni states.

No force can defeat a united Africa

In calling for unity, Mr Museveni, a renowned advocate for Pan Africanism states that the strength of African nations in wading off terror is in them working together. “This shows that once the different chapters of the African Patriots co-operate and co-ordinate, there is no force that can defeat us on the African continent. Therefore, all and sundry, should know, that once the chapters of the African Resistance co-ordinate, there is no security or defence problem they cannot solve. The recent co-ordination between the Government of DRC and Uganda is such an example,” he says.

On the November 30, the UPDF launched an attack on camps of the ADF terrorists in Eastern DR Congo, killing a number of terrorists, The UPDF, working with DR Congo forces then advanced to the Semliki bridge camp through the forest to the terrorists’ Kambi Ya Jua, the headquarters of the ADF in Congo. Gen Museveni boasts that the UPDF did not lose a single soldier by enemy action, save for two soldiers Pte. Lugingi Nicholas and Pte. Kapulyaka Mustafa who died on account of self-inflicted accidental self-injury. One, on account of an RPG that was loaded and corked and the other one, from MGLs (Multiple Grenade Launchers) fired while in the middle of trees. They had not been thoroughly briefed.

Surrender or die

He states that terrorists are now fleeing and killing villagers. Mr Museveni appealed to the Congolese government to allow the UPDF to follow the terrorists to Kisangani or Buta or beyond. He gave the terrorist the option to surrender so that the peoples of Congo and Uganda have peace and they also get rehabilitated and learn how to earn an honest living.

One thought on “The wrap up: 2021 in the eyes of Uganda’s President Museveni

  1. Thank you for your sharing. I am worried that I lack creative ideas. It is your article that makes me full of hope. Thank you. But, I have a question, can you help me?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *