The unfolding fracas in the fight against Coronavirus has prompted Dr. Kiza Besigye to pose the question: “What’s wrong with our leaders?” Besigye’s loss of patience and subsequent outcry came after two particularly disturbing headlines in the media: MPs awarding themselves 10b from the COVID-19 budget and COVID-19 frontline medical practitioners going without pay.
The embattled former presidential candidate Besigye’s question was fundamentally rhetoric, because he has known Museveni and his cronies to be corrupt to the core. However, for Museveni and his cronies in Parliament to be stealing funds meant for fighting a global pandemic is simply insane.
And to think that elsewhere, senior leaders are busy making policies aimed at cushioning the most vulnerable – the hand-to-mouth earners whose lives have been practically shutdown during the Coronavirus lockdown, while other like in Rwanda, Kenya and Ghana have even forfeited their monthly salaries or part of it.
Ugandans have waited in vain for Museveni’s pronouncement to the effect of him leading the way to make a personal contribution towards the COVID-19 relief fund, which would in effect see other leaders in his government follow suit. But several televised addresses and one lockdown extension later, the gesture is yet to come. And judging by the greedy and disgraceful move by Parliament of awarding themselves a hefty allowance, the announcement might never come at all.
“We started off on a brutal note when security forces descended on innocent Ugandans and clobbered them indiscriminately, in the name of enforcing Museveni’s Coronavirus control measures. For leaders to add insult to injury and take the little funds that would have ensured that vulnerable Ugandans don’t starve in their houses, is beyond comprehension,” said Jane Agaba, a resident of Kiwatule, adding that it is hard to expect much from Museveni’s leadership.
Anyone who still accorded any benefit of doubt to Museveni’s kleptocratic rule, they will have totally given up after we emerge on the other end of the Coronavirus Pandemic.