While speaking out on spiking COVID cases in Kampala President Museveni said that City’s recent spike in Coronavirus cases is because the city dwellers refused to heed government’s advice.
The president also noted that the country will not lose lives to Coronavirus because of ‘idiots’ and he singled out Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament Francis Zaake, who he said is an enemy of the people.
He said: “I hear there is a one Zaake who goes on saying there is no Coronavirus. We will discuss these enemies of the people in the taskforce meeting.”
Zaake Replies to Museveni attacks
This is a response to Mr. Museveni who referred to me as an ‘idiot’ and ‘enemy of the people’ during an address he delivered to his NRM party yesterday. Museveni further promised to have me arrested for saying that his regime is exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic for political gain. I stand by that opinion. I am ready to be arrested for it.
I don’t know what exactly I, Zaake, did to Mr. Museveni to routinely be singled out for persecution and ridicule. But I believe that Museveni’s latest outburst against me flows from an interface I recently had with his Minister of Information-cum-Mityana Woman MP Ms. Judith Nabakooba. About four days ago, Ms. Nabakooba and I unexpectedly met in Mityana at the burial ceremony of a longtime friend of mine who had passed on.
When I was given chance to address the mourners, I used that opportunity to question Minister Nabakooba about the regime’s mishandling of the COVID-19 situation in Uganda. I asked her why they tortured me to near death for allegedly distributing food in violation of Covid-19 guidelines yet Museveni’s close associates were distributing it without sanction.
She had no answer. I asked her why the regime has never held Policemen who tortured me accountable yet it was quick to prosecute LDUs who manhandled NRM’s LC5 Chairperson in Mityana. She had no answer.
I queried her about why the regime hides behind Covid-19 to block my leader Hon. Kyagulanyi Robert from appearing on TV and Radio shows yet the same restrictions are not subjected to her or other members of Museveni’s party.
She had no answer. I asked Ms. Nabakooba why she was attending a crowded burial without putting on a mask, and without observing social distancing yet the regime she serves directed us to do the contrary as a measure to purportedly control COVID-19. She had no answer.
I asked her why the regime has never given us masks as it promised. She had no answer! I then turned to the gathering and asked them whether in light of these circumstances they believe there is Coronavirus in Uganda. They unanimously answered in the negative!
I tasked Ms. Nabakooba to inform Mr. Museveni that we are tired of being tortured and intimidated for criticising him. We have no personal differences with him as an individual, but rather with his leadership style and refusal to hand over power democratically. I did not mince my words when I asked her to inform Mr. Museveni that our generation supports Bobi Wine for President, not him. Our choice may hurt his ego, but we are entitled to it as bona-fide citizens of this country.
When Ms. Nabakooba’s turn to speak came, the mourners did not hide their disappointment in her and the oppressive regime she represents. The video that many of you recently watched in which she is seen trying to address a gathering amidst defeaning chants of “twagala Bobi ssi Bosco” (we want Hon. Kyagulanyi for President, not Museveni) was recorded during this burial.
I therefore think Mr. Museveni’s angry outburst against me yesterday was motivated by the unequivocal demand for justice and freedom that I delivered to him through his Minister Nabakooba. It is unfortunate that he conveniently took my legitimate criticism of his leadership for an ‘insult’. That misplaced anger is now driving him to decree that I be prosecuted, as if persecuting me invalidates the legitimate questions that I put before him on behalf of many other suffering Ugandans.
I think that the regime’s conduct towards the COVID-19 situation has been highly suspicious, shrouded in mystery, punctuated by corruption, and calculated to cripple opposition leaders and their supporters under the guise of fighting the virus. As a result, several people have concluded that either there is no Coronavirus in Uganda or the regime is exploiting it for political and financial gain. If this were not so, Museveni’s regime would have taken the lives and livelihoods of Ugandans more seriously during this period than it has pretended to do.
For instance, how many Ugandans have gotten the masks that Mr. Museveni promised more than 2 months ago? If there’s Covid-19 in Uganda, how come the Minister of Health who recently violated her own regulations with impunity has never been sanctioned to date? How come it’s only opposition gatherings that Police keeps dispersing for ‘violating’ Covid-19 guidelines yet gatherings staged by NRM members are left untouched? Are NRM members immune from Covid-19?
Parliament allocated Mr. Museveni UGX 59Bn more than 3 months ago to feed 1.5M citizens during the lockdown. How many of them were actually fed? Where is all the money that the regime has collected from citizens and the international community to purportedly fight Covid-19? How many Ugandans have really died from Covid-19 and why are more people allegedly dying of the disease as we approach political campaigns? These are legitimate questions being asked by ordinary Ugandans out there. They need convincing answers instead of Mr. Museveni’s threats and insults.
Initially, the regime had our trust that it was taking the right steps to contain the pandemic. We believed that Government would handle the pandemic competently, in a transparent and neutral manner. With time, Government has irredeemably squandered our trust. It squandered it the moment it hid behind Covid-19 to settle political scores.
It squandered it the moment it started publishing questionable statistics of casualties. It squandered it the moment regime officials started acting as if they’re immune from the virus. Museveni should not use me as a scapegoat when he squandered the opportunity Covid-19 had given him to earn people’s trust again.
The enemy of the people is he who closed their businesses and sent them home into a total lockdown without a coherent plan on how they would sustain their families thereafter, not Zaake. The enemy of the people is he who falsely promised citizens food and masks, not Zaake who was tortured for trying to help them.
The enemy of the people is he who has been looking on as his soldiers murder pregnant women for ‘violating’ Covid-19 health guidelines, not Zaake. The enemy of the people is he who has refused to account for resources put at his disposal to fight the virus, not Zaake. The enemy of the people is he who lets his Ministers violate Covid-19 guidelines with impunity while punishing his opponents for allegedly doing the same, not Zaake.
I am simply amplifying the voices of several Ugandans out there who feel that something doesn’t add up. If you Mr. Museveni are going to arrest and kill me this time round after letting your men torture me on 4 previous occasions, I am ready to pay the price. You are not beyond criticism. You are not God.