State House staff catch Covid-19

By Misairi Thembo Kahungu

By Ronald Kabanza

President Museveni yesterday revealed that some of the State House staff have tested positive for , something that also forced him to take a test before travelling to Rukungiri District on his final campaign leg in Kigezi Sub-region.

“In State House, we have workers who have been found with Corona. There are workers in three categories. Those of the press and some household workers. I also asked to be tested because I did not want to bring Corona to Rukungiri,” the President said without mentioning the third category of staff affected.

He also did not specify the number of people who tested positive and neither did he speak about their condition nor where they were being treated from.  

Mr Museveni, who is the National Resistance Movement (NRM) presidential candidate, made the revelation at Rukungiri Stadium, while he lauded the people for showing him love by lining up on the roads to welcome his convoy.

“I thank the people of Rukungiri for welcoming me like this though I have not come out of the vehicle to wave at you. I want to protect you from the diseases ()” he said while addressing NRM leaders and flag bearers from Rukungiri and Kanungu districts. 

The vaccine
The President, who during his routine address to the nation, promised that Ugandan scientists were involved in research to find a cure for the deadly virus, said yesterday that the country is trying some medicine. He, however, did not reveal details about the ongoing trials and what kind of medicine it is.

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“We have some medicine that we are trying but we have not yet concluded. If I tested positive, I would not come here to spread the disease. I would address you on the radio and then drink that medicine,” he said. 

It is not clear whether the staff who tested positive had travelled with the President to his country home of Rwakitura in Kiruhura District where he was on Sunday hosting Kigeze NRM youth. It is also not clear whether the positive cases among State House staff was the reason he met the youth leaders outside his home at Karo Primary School. 

This is the third time the President is revealing that he got a scare only to test negative.

 In August, during his nomination to run for the NRM national chairperson seat and also for party flag bearer, Mr Museveni told the gathering at Plot 13 Kyadondo Road in Kampala that he had called in experts to test him for after his voice got irritated following constant wearing of a face mask.

Also in Kumi District last month, Mr Museveni said he had called experts to the State Lodge in Karamoja to take his samples after developing similar signs.

The NRM is fighting to take the entire Rukungiri District out of the hands of the Opposition. Being the home of four-time presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye, his party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has three Members of Parliament in the district against NRM’s one MP, Ms Mary Paula Kebirungi of Rubabo County. 

Former Health minister Jim Muhwezi, who has returned to challenge for Rujumbura County, said with Dr Besigye not in the race for the 2021 General Election, the people of Rukungiri are ready to vote for the NRM.

“This is no longer an Opposition place. People turned full circle and came back to support the movement and President Museveni. So we are going to take all the seats back to NRM. The people are tired of being in Opposition without getting anything and have seen the successes of the movement,” Maj Gen (Rtd) Muhwezi said.

With two Independent parliamentary candidates remaining in the race after losing in the FDC primaries, NRM is seeking to take advantage of the division within the opposition.

 Ms Ingrid Turinawe, the FDC Secretary for Mobilisation, and Ms Winnie Babihunga, last week lost their FDC membership after contesting against party candidates for Rukungiri Municipality MP seat and district Woman MP seat, respectively. Also thrown out of FDC is Rukungiri Municipality Mayor Darius Tweyambe, who is running as Independent after losing in primary elections. 

Although Dr Besigye decided not to join the race for the 2021 General Election, Rukungiri District has two Independent presidential candidates. These are Lt Gen (Rtd) Henry Tumukunde and Mr Fred Mwesigye while the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) candidate Maj Gen (Rtd) Mugisha Muntu hails from Rwashamaire area in Ntungamo District, a few kilometres to the border of Rukungiri.

Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the NRM vice chairperson for western region, said the recent campaigns of Gen Muntu and Gen Tumukunde in Kigezi yielded nothing.

“These generals who are contesting, Mr President, you are the person who secured their future. Even if they (Opposition) bring Field Marshals, we will defeat them because you brought peace that is enjoyed by everyone and that’s why guitarists and comedians can come out to contest,” Dr Baryomunsi, who is also State Minister for Housing and MP Kinkizi East, said. 

Prime Minister said the people of Rukungiri have united, a gesture that gives hope for NRM’s overwhelming performance.

 
Mr Museveni after delivering his campaign message which revolves around NRM’s contribution to the fast growing economic growth in Uganda, castigated Dr Besigye, Gen Tumukunde and Gen Muntu for failing to learn from his experience to change the mind set of their people from working only for home consumption.

“I want to open a case against people like my brother Besigye, Tumukunde and Muntu for causing stillbirth in the development of this area. I am angry with those men because I have nothing I want in politics but they keep saying go away,” the President said.

Mr Museveni blamed the trio that fought the Bush war for failing to learn from his example of fighting to promote household income.

“In 1986, after we came out of the bush, I found my project of guiding people of Nyabushozi to rear cattle for income generation had worked. I called these people, and told them to see what to do for their people. But what have they done?” he asked. 

Mr Museveni, who will campaign in Kasese District, promised to discuss what his government has done for the entire Kigezi Sub-region and the plans in the 2021-2016 manifesto during a radio programme. There were several demands by the leaders of Kanungu and Runkungiri which include improved healthcare, construction of roads, construction of iron ore smelting factory, elevating Kanungu and Kihihi town councils to municipal status. 

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