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“Let us make 2023 more prosperous,” says Akena in end of year message 

(Last Updated On: 21 December 2022)

Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) party president Jimmy Akena addressed the media on Wednesday and delivered his end-of-year message to Ugandans.

Akena, also the Lira City East MP, addressed the media from the 6th floor, Uganda House (the UPC party Headquarters). This was his third address from the headquarters this year. 

In his message, he said: “The year 2022 is coming to an end and the festivities for Christmas and New Year are upon us. UPC joins the country and the rest of the world in celebrating the first since the return to near normalcy but arriving on the back of the Covid driven economic contraction and heavily impacted by current high global commodity prices and inflationary pressures.”

As a party, he added that “we acknowledge that any meaningful celebration should take stock of the achievement and shortfalls made in the country with the focus on the betterment of the future”.

On party strategies, the former first son said a lot of ground has been covered in the development of what he described as “strategic plans,” reviewing and updating party charters; and the formulation of party policies. 

The UPC, he said, has developed the “2021-2026 Strategic Plan” and updated the youth league charter and women league charter. The party has also produced the youth league strategic plan; human resource and administrative manual.

Other successes he outlined also include financial and accounting policy; a code of conduct; the rules and procedures of the disciplinary committee; a gender policy and a policy against sexual harassment.

He also informed the country and congressmen and women that other documents are being processed and will be tabled for approval by the national council and its implementation will be followed by the various party structures.  

Nationwide consultations

The party has also embarked on country-wide consultations spearheaded by Vice President Mutenderwa Fahad Kinyiri, focusing on strategic meetings with sub-regional and district leaders ahead of the implementation of the strategic plan after its adoption by the national council. 

UPC leader said this will help in providing a cohesive direction by taking cognisance of the leaders’ views such that they can be included during the implementation. “So far, the following sub-regions have been covered; Busoga, Bukedi, Bugisu, Sebei, Greater Mukono, Greater Kampala, Greater Luwero, and Greater Masaka. I applaud and thank my Vice President and his team for this great work which is still ongoing.”

“Throughout this past period, the party has sought to improve the quality of leadership and expertise on national matters amongst its leaders, youth, women and membership and therefore to this end participated in a number of workshops, conferences and seminars geared towards qualitative improvement. A better future lies in having competent leaders and knowledgeable cadres. We greatly appreciate the support of our development partners who have and continue to make it possible to create such opportunities for our members.”

Covid-19 and Ebola

“Uganda and the rest of the world are yet to recover fully from the effects of Covid-19 lockdown effects. Apart from the fatal deaths registered, the admission cost for Covid-19 patients proved to be very expensive and the acute shortage of oxygen made matters much worse! Some people had to sell off their properties to meet hospital bills while others are still heavily indebted. UPC noted with serious concern that our health system lacked the necessary facilities to save lives, right from the lack of sufficient ICU/HDU beds to the means of moving patients within the hospitals where even elevators were at times non-functional, lack of oxygen gas cylinders and protective gears among others. This calls for the building of more HDU/ICU capacity, research centres, training of more medical workers and putting in place all the medical in-puts needed. This goes hand in hand with making priorities right and budget allocation.”

ALSO READ: UPC says the Ebola lockdown is demanding, wants essentials provided

UPC notes that much more needs to be done to help spur the much-needed economic recovery and growth. Uganda has yet again witnessed an outbreak of Ebola in the country, the containment of which had Mubende and Kassanda Districts to be placed under lockdown. Appreciation goes to those who led the fight against this disease but unfortunately, we lost some lives and witnessed others fully recover. The information relating to the Ebola outbreak should have been better managed as it had a devastating impact on the rapidly recovering tourism sector.

What UPC wants, and more

He said UPC would want to see a permanent multi-sectoral national task force which can help a country to have preparedness in case of such abrupt outbreaks and mitigate other adverse consequences. “We need to borrow a leaf from Cuba that has even a team of volunteers to rescue those who are affected across the globe. Despite the severe economic restrictions, Cuba has had a preparedness and personnel readily available, something which should be looked at by the government strategically.” 

“UPC welcomes the lifting of the travel ban on Kassandra and Mubende districts and encourages the public not to lower the guard. Let vigilance continue and follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as we hold our festive season activities.”

The recent attacks on Police stations and the deliberate targeting of security personnel are something that cannot bring comfort to the citizens of Uganda, Akena said. 

“The reaction of merging Police posts, to reduce vulnerabilities, may significantly reduce the loss of firearms but leaves the citizens at a loss when they themselves will need a rapid response from the Police when attacked by criminals! Furthermore, the concerted attacks on electricity transmission lines are of great concern to the UPC.”

More so when it is noted that the electricity pylons are key long-lasting infrastructure and that these are being erected using borrowed funds which will be repaid by the Ugandan taxpayer. “Ultimately these alarming trends will need concerted efforts for the Police and Security personnel to be regarded and accepted as in place to protect the lives and property of the citizens (not just the government in place) and that we all have a stake in the Public infrastructure. Increasing access to electricity may mitigate the lesser damage to the pylons caused by scrap metal foragers.”

Click here to read part of this address in our next edition.

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