On Doctors’ strike: “I applaud both the Uganda Medical Association and Government for choosing dialogue to solve the issues at hand.”
By J. Akena I MP (UPC) President
Kampala – 22, December 2021: As we come closer to the end of the year 2021, it is very important to recognize that it has been a year of both great challenges and successes across board. At a Party level, the political cases that bogged us down since 2015 have come to an end, with full recognition of the Party leadership that was ushered in office on 1st August 2020 at the Delegates Conference held in Kasangati.
The Party successfully competed in the 2021 scientific general elections at Parliamentary and local government levels with a marked improvement in the results consistent of “Grassroots Mobilization” policy. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Party members who sought to uphold article 5(3) which requires that members “offer themselves for elective office and participate in elections” as flag bearers. I wish to appreciate all who competed in these difficult elections and those that went through in the just concluded local government by-elections.
I want also to appreciate all candidates who did not go through for standing firm to carry the UPC flag and represent the Party in those respective electoral areas. I encourage them to stay focused, re-strategize and plan for future elections. This equally goes to all Party members and leaders to put more efforts and emphasis on what benefits and takes UPC forward. This can only be achieved through continued Party activities which include but not limited to mobilization and recruitment of members into the Party.
The Party leadership has been working on the strategic plan for the period 2021-2026, which will guide our activities of grassroot mobilization and provide a clear direction to the members of the party and people of Uganda when approved and adopted by the National Council. Once approved we shall ensure to implement its key areas as part of the rebuilding work of UPC, which is on-going.
I wish to inform, members and the general public that the Party will be participating in the forthcoming East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) elections. Early next year 2022, the Party plans to carryout internal processes which include vetting of candidates and nomination purposely to get a suitable UPC flag bearer for EALA elections and representation in the Regional Assembly.
I must update you members and the general public that the UPC and the economic wing of the Party, the Milton Obote Foundation (MOF) stand-off is still going on. Since June 2015, when MOF abdicated from its symbiotic obligations and instead opted to impose financial sanctions on the Party as well as engaging in funding schemes aimed at crippling or rendering the Party hapless in a most difficult political environment; much as this has negatively affected the Party’s operations and activities, I want to assure UPC members that this too will come to an end!
The Covid 19 pandemic and its lockdowns have hugely affected both the Party and the country in several aspects. We have lost a number of dear lives, and the focus on covid-19 pandemic has denied attention to other old diseases which may also put us as a country in a delicate position if not well handled. This comes at the time when our frontline workers, the medical doctors are up in arms with government over delayed implementation of salary increment.
UPC has, on several occasions urged Government to address the general welfare of workers as it will bridge gaps and forestall any industrial actions. I applaud both the Uganda Medical Association and Government for choosing dialogue to solve the issues at hand. It is our hope that their engagements will restore sanity in the health sector.
Our economy is still locked down, with curfew in place, this limits the night economy that brings income for people in the informal sector whereas some businesses have totally collapsed! This pandemic has affected the livelihoods of our citizenry and the revenue collections in the country. The transport sector that is an engine at the center of economic activities is undergoing serious challenges.
Due to Covid-19 pandemic, all public and private transport had to reduce to half seating capacity. This increased the transport fares and now coupled with new fuel pump hikes has made the cost of those wishing to go to their villages to celebrate Christmas with their families even more expensive.
Now that we have vaccinated the targeted population and have Covid-19 vaccines in the country, with the intention of fully reopening of the economy in January 2022, we must continue to roll out massive vaccinations and continue encouraging people to observe the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
As we prepare to re-open schools in January 2022, after a period of two years, a lot of counseling of both teachers and children to prepare them for the new setting of school life. I commend the government for training teachers in preparation for the reopening of schools, this will advance their knowledge base especially on the new academic structure/syllabus. We also acknowledge that in the current economic situation, parents and Guardians are going to struggle with school fees and other scholastic materials.
UPC acknowledges that schools especially private are facing difficult times to repay the loans they acquired before covid 19 pandemic and the same applied to parents. I therefore request the school authorities to be lenient enough and appreciate where we are coming from as a country, embrace payments by instalments to enable continuity of education and parents should as well endeavor to play their part.
Of late, Uganda and Kenya have had on and off trade sanctions. Initially it was with sugarcane, maize, beans, milk and milk products and now poultry and poultry products. This kind of standoff between member states does not reflect on the overall spirit of the East Africa Community (EAC) integration and it affects both the economy and our farmers. UPC calls for dialogue and constructive engagements among member states to resolve the prevailing issues. As a country we ought to find alternative markets and market our products, this should go a long way with improving the quality of our finished products.
During the festive seasons, people travel to different places across the country to join and celebrate with their loved ones. In this season of 2021, I would like to call upon members of the public to be more cautious of their safety while traveling and celebrate responsibly. Please let us follow the SOPs and go for vaccinations for those who are not vaccinated, and those who have not completed their dose of the shot should as well do so.
On behalf of the Uganda Peoples Congress and my own behalf, I wish you a merry Christmas and happy New Year!
For God and My Country