On April 19, a member of the parliament of Uganda was allegedly tortured by police officers after he was found distributing food to his constituents. The state says that Mr Zaake violated social distancing guidelines that were spelt out by the government to control the spread of COVID-19. The president, Mr Museveni, has on several occasions warned politicians who “want cheap popularity” by distributing food to stop and instead bring their contributions to the National Coronavirus Taskforce.
Mr Zaake’s health continued to deteriorate as the state continues to pursue charges against him. Yesterday he was brought to court, swollen, screaming in pain, and with short breaths. Dressed only in a pair of shorts and nothing else, he was laid supine on a bench in the courtroom! The judge could not read the charges against him because of the condition he was in.
However, several legislators belonging to the ruling party (National Resistance Movement) have managed to distribute food to their constituents without interference from the government. In fact, they’re given security and manpower from the national coronavirus taskforce to do it. According to the government, Mr. Zaake, an opposition politician, was doing something illegal and consequently exposing his constituents to the risk of coronavirus.
Anyone who goes against any of the presidential directives risks being charged with attempted murder in the courts of law. This has discouraged very many people from donating food and money to the vulnerable people since they don’t trust government officials due to corruption. At a critical time like this when we need each other most, we’re being distracted by selfishness, greed, and politics. That’s how the devil fights those who are called to do the work of God.
Billions of Uganda shillings, vehicles, and many other items and food have been collected by the taskforce from individuals, businesses, and organizations. There’s no known plan of how that money will or is being spent. With the next presidential campaigns coming soon, Ugandans speculate that this money will be used in Museveni’s campaign. If he wins next term, he will have successfully amassed 40 years of leadership over the country (just for you to know).
The process of distributing food in the central part of the country has been too slow to the extent that hundreds of thousands of families in the targeted areas have not received anything. The president stated that people in villages are not affected by coronavirus and will continue to eat from their gardens. While this has a substantial amount of truth, it is important to know that a big number of people live on small scale businesses which have been greatly affected by the lockdown.
The president is expected to address the country on television tonight at 8:00pm and Ugandans are anticipating an ease on the lockdown that is remaining with 7 days. Ugandans, like the rest of the world, are going to face tough economic outcomes in the coming months.
There’s no schooling at all even for tertiary institutions and universities because many students do not have access to internet for online studies. TV stations have tried to broadcast lessons especially for secondary and primary school students, but still this is a luxury for the smallest percentage of all students. Of all our project beneficiaries, I know not more than 5 families who have TVs in their homes. And even those few have no time for the studies because there’s a lot of other things to do. Home schooling by parents, especially those in rural areas, is out of question because parents are not educated and the environment doesn’t favor anything like that. There’s a family I know where the mother and her 5 children are ever in the garden, if not making bricks.
So the impact of coronavirus on education this year is tremendous. But we will continue to focus on God for He knows the plans He has for us. Today I read this scripture from Psalm 103 and it encouraged me so much.
“Bless the Lord , O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord , O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalms 103:1-5 NKJV)
I hope that scripture blesses you too. We will continue to rejoice in the Lord because no matter what we go through, we have victory in Him.