Opinion: Prayers alone will not save the Republic from COVID-19

Today, the President hold the 4th National Prayer Session since the start of the Global Pandemic in concern with the Coronavirus or COVID-19. This isn’t the first, but the fourth and a proclaimed holiday as well. The prayer is done during the recently announced lockdown, which is in full effect at the moment.

President Yoweri Tibuhurwa Kaguta Museveni and his ruling regime isn’t winning the battle. The hospitals isn’t working, the health care system wasn’t prepared and neither was his state apparatus. That is all to blame on himself and his close associates. They had all the time in the world to invest, prepare and ensure the Ministry of Health was up to scratch. The whole government have had agencies, multi-national organizations and others supporting the health care industry over the years.

The President and his party have really very few excuses here. They have been in-charge since 1986. If someone had the time or the ability to invest, develop or create a working system. The bureaucrats in combination of thrifty politicians should have made that possible. As well, as a former donor friendly government and new breed leadership should have secured the footing of the expensive expansion. However, that was never the priority.

That is why the hospitals and health care centres aren’t up to par. They are never prepared and there was never an intention for it. The government supported system is failing and that was even before the pandemic hit it. There been so many stories of lacking equipment, dilapidated units and no concern of the lack of educated staff. This is why the COVID-19 is showing the distress and the disturbing fact of how the state has run this over the years.

The state could in ordinary times run away from it. They could misuse funds, spend on confidential expenditure, vast military budget and other various of post. While neglect the Ministry of Health. Forget the hospitals and their needs. Just like it never invested in machinery or procured the cancer machine for Mulago Hospital. That is just a proof of how dire and how problematic this field was.

The virus just reveal this at a large scale. It isn’t just one field of the medicine that’s hit. No, the whole system gets a pinch. The lack of ventilators, oxygen and PPE equipment. The lack of procurement of vaccines and in general negligence is a proven now.

What is tragic is that the citizens are paying the price for the lack of ICU beds. The citizens are paying a huge price for the treatments, the beds and the possible second grade treatment in the hospitals. As they are running out of needed healing remedies. The people on the streets are hawking unlicensed treatments in COVIDEX and cannot find shelter or hope. They are seeing loved ones are dying and suffering, because the state never even tried to prepare.

The state was busy buying suits, SUVs and other luxurious perks for the elites. Paying no mind on the lost ones today. They were living large on the misfortunate. That is the tragic reality here. The elite and the President lived a life of grandeur and still does. They can still flee as medical tourists elsewhere. However, the average citizens is footing a bill they cannot commit too and possible for a tale of more pain before things better.

That’s why a fourth day of prayers is really insulting. The President praying is a fine symbol. It is a tribute and a way of showing care. However, it is really shallow, when you know he has had over three decades and COVID-19 isn’t the first pandemic and neither last to hit on a global scale. The President could have together will all stakeholders prepared the hospitals and everything in connection a lot better.

The President could have road-maps and possible plans in case of a pandemic. The state could have mechanisms and funds for procurement of vaccines in emergency. However, that seems like a far-fetched idea. As the state only has rich wealth for tear-gas and paying security of the VIPs. That is how things seems …

That his praying now is a bit hopeless. Instead of using all these COVID-19 loans from IMF and World Bank to any good. Nevertheless, it seems like he has sullied the Republic and hoping nobody mind. Peace.

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