What’s up doc? A brief look into Parliament Report on PRESIDE and the mismanagement of COVID-I9 funds in the Republic

I like the unfortunate phenomenon of western countries halting exportation of the COVID19 vaccine until all their citizens are fully vaccinated. This will enable Africans to wake up and manufacture their own medicines. I like the bad things because Africans sleep too much, I have never believed in dependency. This selfishness in the world is bad but it’s a shame that the whole of the African continent is asleep waiting to be saved by others… In the short run, we shall see who can sell COVID19 vaccines to us. As far as Uganda is concerned, I assure you, we will never again be in such a situation, we are making our own vaccine” – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (27.06.2021).

Another day, another Parliament Report exposing the rot of the Government. A government that isn’t follow the laws, codes and protocols of the republic. Direct Presidential Directives which have no barring and to ambition to be achieved. Neither was there anywhere close to be legit research or able to fulfil it’s mission.

The State House and Ministries clearly miscalculated their abilities and the promise of the project. Neither did it have the scientists or the manpower to do it. There was not enough time or enough research spaces to make it happen. The budgets was to slim and there was also spending unaccounted for. A sort of troubling project, which is meant to fail. A spending spree without any accountability or transparency. A money pit without without any sort of proof of value for money. The PRESIDE and associated projects was bound to fail. The Parliamentary reports published today is called: “REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION ON COVID-19 RELATED RESEARCH FOR FY 2019/20 TO FY 202/22”.

This report is a story of how a President and the State House directs, implement and execute without proper planning or direction for that matter. It is just headache and shows what sort of enterprise the whole COVID-19 vaccine programme PRESIDE was and that’s why the quotes of this report is so explicit.

It is a total utter failure and the President is implicated it, as it is his directive and run directly from the State House. This wasn’t a Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MOFPED) or Ministry of Health. No, this was an affair out of the State House and shows how it goes. Done without being bound by law or done correctly. That’s why this was bound to fail, which it did.

Just read these quotes from the report to get the gist:

In his statement, he indicated that up to UGX. 20bn had been drawn from the consolidated fund for scientists under PRESIDE to manufacture a COVID-I9 vaccine and an additional UGX. 50bn was drawn on 2021 for PRESIDE, and yet supervising Ministry (Ministry of Science, Technolory and Innovation) had been disbanded. He further questioned the legality of the Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE), queried its staffing, operations and whether its premises in Ntinda that had no laboratories would be able to produce a vaccine” (May 2022 report).

Overall funding for COVID- 19 research was as follows:

– UGX. 5.3bn for PRESIDE FY 2019/20

– UGX. 31.03bn for projects under PRESIDE, UGX. 3.35bn for PRESIDE secretariat operations, and UGX. 2.74bn under NRIP in FY2020/2l

– UGX. 25bn for project operations, a supplementary request of UGX. 50.4bn for a manufacturing plant and UGX. 27bn for additional operational funds for PRESIDE projects in FY 2021/22” (May 2022 report).

A total of (seventeen) 17 projects (Project l-17) was presented before Parliament with a total budget of UGX. 25bn, for implementation in FY2021/22. When additional funds of UGX. 27bn became available through a supplementary budget, the total number of projects raised to 27, where 10 new projects (Projects 18-27) were introduced and two of the already approved projects i.e. (projects 6 (Immune Therapy – Convalescent plasma). and 14 (Herbal Products for Management of COVID-19) were dropped. The Committee found that the two projects should have been given funds for implementation whether there was a supplementary or not since their budgets had already been approved by Parliament in the Ministerial Policy Statement. No reasons were given for their exclusion” (May 2022 report).

The Committee while interacting with the petitioner was informed that PRESIDE was a company formed by Dr. Monica Musenero and some of her family members including her husband. These allegations were disputed by Hon. Musenero, who informed the Committee that PRESIDE is neither an organtzation nor a company but a project under State House” (…) However, the Committee noted that the establishment of PRESIDE violates governance rules, as it has no legal status. The initiative has not been incorporated in accordance with the laws of Uganda. Therefore it is not a legal entity. The Committee also observed from the concerned officials that no steps had been taken to have it legally established” (May 2022 report).

Although PRESIDE was established with a visionary mandate, to be a vehicle to spear the pathogen economy, it has been mired with mismanagement, poor accountability practices and overall poor planning. At its inception, Government failed to define its legality, failed to analyze and optimize the structures that were already in place and build on these as a way of driving the pathogen economy forward. This went against the current government policy on rationalization and improvement of efficiencies within MDAs. The role of UNHRO, MoSTI, UNCST as regulators was usurped and replaced with PRESIDE which had a temporary supervisory framework in form of a MoU. With the expiry of the MoU, PRESIDE as a project remained operational yet not supervised because its Chairperson is the Minister responsible for the docket of STI and also the Special Presidential Advisor on Epidemics” (May 2022 report).

Reading a report like this is shattering. It just shows how the state is mismanaging funds and how the State House isn’t preparing things ahead. The whole PRESIDE shows how a Presidential Directive is put into life, but never able to implement, because the state doesn’t have the funds, manpower or the facilities to do it. The PRESIDE is an utter failure…

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) was all talk, but no business. They can start-up organizations and projects, but they have no plans of the implementation or protocols to ensure it is successful. PRESIDE is a proof on how not to run a project… as it has had no plan or any sort of proof that it would actually manage the mission from the on-set.

The ones that believes the NRM would be able to produce a COVID-19 vaccine was day-dreaming, because the whole PRESIDE can be seen as a nightmare. The ones running it should be ashamed and it was a waste of government funding. Nothing to show for it and only a name-tag, which runs back to the State House and the Presidential Directive. A

All of it is a waste … the President should be held to account as he ushered it in and it did nothing. They will fault everyone, but if it wasn’t for him… this mess wouldn’t exist and the report wouldn’t have been published either.

The PRESIDE should be lectured at Makerere University or something in how not to run things and be a case-study in bad-governance. This is a proof of how not to govern and nothing was done correctly. That’s why it deserve to be acknowledged and used as a learning experience. Since, the next government could do another properly and actually achieve something worthwhile. Peace.

Federation for Uganda Medical Interns (FUMI): Suspension of Medical Interns’ Sit-Down Strike (22.12.2021)

Uganda: Press Release by Uganda Nurses and Midwives’ Union – Medical Interns Allowances for Nurses and Midwives (21.12.2021)

The Medical Interns strike is a self-made crisis… and the state has the the tools to resolve it…

This is what empty promises and sending love letters between the bureaucratic institutions. The state and the government have promised a relief and added salary for the medical interns. This is going back to the first strike this year in June 2021 and the promises of the President and his letter to the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Economic Development (MoFPED) in July 2021.

Now, we are in mid-December 2021 and nothing has happened. The Federation for Uganda Medical Interns (FUMI) have rights to fight for their members and for the ones who is on the front-line. For a President who defends and wants to pay scientists. It is really weak that he cannot find the funds or allocate funds to fix this. Alas, this isn’t an priority.

That’s why on the 10th December 2021 the Ministry of Health has sent out an letter and said the medical interns can be evicted and vacate the Hospitals within a week to pave way for new ones in January 2022. This shows that the state was never interested in paying a fair salary and the covering their basic needs. As these are the future of the Ministry of Health and the ones who can become the Health Care professionals the MoH needs.

This government clearly doesn’t care about the Ministry of Health or the ones working there. They don’t prioritize it or have any concerns, because there is always an Non-Governmental Organization or United Nations Organizations covering the shortfalls. If not, the high ranking officials is taking trips abroad to get healing. The medical tourism of the big-men and the patronage is the reason for not valuing the hospitals and health centres.

When the President knows perfectly well the problems. He has even written a letter directing the MoFPED in July 2021. There is all the reasons to listen to the grievances and needs of the medical interns. This is if the government or the National Resistance Movement (NRM) even values the scientists or the ones who combat a pandemic. The NRM thinks they can assault and silence the ones who cannot even feed themselves.

On the 10th December 2021, the same day as the MoH went after the Medical Interns. “The Uganda Dental Association (UDA) hereby informs the general public that we will be joining the ongoing industrial action organized by the Uganda Medical Association. We sincerely apologize for any and all inconveniences caused” (UDA, 10.12.2021). They are joining the Uganda Medical Association, which is on their 5th week of industrial action and that’s all because the state cannot live up to their own promises. This is neglecting their mission and good governance, which is proving how bad the state is at governing at this current time.

Association of Graduate Nurses and Midwives of Uganda wrote yesterday a press release. Where the AGNMU states the importance of the medical interns. They are not only condemning, but stating that it’s a dangerous decision by the MoH, which will affect the 2022 cohort. Secondly, which was interesting was this line from the

AGNMU: “Ministry of health should pay medical interns as per the presidential directive. Why should a mother starve her children? Medical interns deserve to be paid for their great work they contribute to health care in Uganda” (AGNMU – ‘Press Release on Medical Interns Strike’ 11.12.2021).

It is clear, that the President, MoFPED and MoH have no plans of honouring their promises. This has been going on for too long and they have no plans of changing it. The state shows that with initially firing the interns and wanting to hire others. Which is not respecting or honouring the ideals of a strike. They are making the workers and the medical professionals into a commodity they can easily transfer or change. So, if these sorts of actions causes a brain-drain. The state created this by themselves and gave no incentives for the ones trying to be come a nurse, midwife or doctor to stay in the Republic. Since, the state doesn’t value your eduction or your profession anyway. That’s the message here and they been saying that with the inaction for months. Peace.

Federation for Uganda Medical Interns (FUMI): Sit Down Strike of all Medical Interns in Uganda (10.05.2021)

Uganda: Ministry of Health – Response to Allegations made by the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (06.05.2021)

Getafix of Kampala: The launch of UBV-01N

In April 2020 Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina launched his herbal and natural remedy to the Coronavirus or COVID-19. That wasn’t clinically tested or proven to have any effects towards the virus. I wouldn’t mind if it did work. It had some natural components, which is known to have effect in concern to malaria, but to this day… there haven’t been any study or anything that proved that the Madagascar herbal tea had any substantial remedy towards it.

So, why do I mention this today? Well, today … President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni launches UBV-01N from the Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE). It will now be clinically tested. However, I smell the same as Yester-year and I wish it wasn’t so. Not that I don’t want remedies or drugs working against the virus. However, this sort of play seems like a game of propaganda.

It is like we are supposed to forget about the Tambvy filled with herbal remedies of Stevia and Artemesia, Artemesia Annua, which didn’t work. So, what sort of herbal mixture does the Ugandans have that the Madagascar scientists didn’t have? I wonder, because they are so numb to the vital factors of the pills or potion. We don’t know that and there is no list of ingredients. I don’t expect to get a fixed list like when you make a pizza margarita, but I do expect to know at least the two main components of the remedy. Because, there are medical and pharmaceutical books where they explain the usage of certain plants and other traditional herbal remedies. Therefore, if they are scientifically doing this. Then, they should be transparent about that.

This is a natural product and means another herbal medicine. The ones calling this a vaccine is wrong. That is another type of medication and shouldn’t get it twisted. The UBV-01N will help the virus from spreading and hopefully help you cope with the virus. Maybe even strengthening your immune-system, but it will not fully cure you from it. A herbal medicine will strengthen your body and help your system to handle the disease, but not “kill it”.

By all means the President wants this to be successful. Just like the counterpart in Madagascar wanted in 2020. We are seeing similar efforts. Soon in Pan-African spirit someone will praise this and by this in bulk. Even when there is no proof, because this is an answer to Western medicine. Western medicine is based on not only scientific practices, but also on remedies made by plants and such. So, I just hope it won’t be biased. Every sort of effort to help the global pandemic is cool and a good in itself. However, I lack trust to the ideals and the possible effects. Especially, when they are not dropping the basics even.

There should be some authorities and associations who should study the components of the medicine itself. Where they release the important factors and what its made off, which is vital. Because, if we know what is components. Then we can check what the herbs have been used against before and what scientific research on these. This would direct us and show what direction the Ugandan scientists have in this manner.

So, as long as I cannot check the vital parts of the remedy. I have a hard time trusting the usage or the promotion of the clinical test of it. The studies of this herbal or natural drug should be released. The sheet of ingredients. That would prove the values and the ones studying it could verify it. Just like I could do with Tambwy of Madagascar. There you could check the two main components and could question the use of it against COVID-19.

The same is needed with UBV-01N. Peace.

Opinion: Brig. Deus Sande follows a long line partisan army commanders

“They will not hand over power to ideologically bankrupt Politicians” – Brig. Deus Sande

There been so many National Resistance Army (NRA) Generals who has dismissed the opposition. That Sande is going after the National Unity Platform (NUP) and Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.

The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) is supposed to be non-partisan. However, they tend to usually sway in favour of the National Resistance Movement (NRM). The army is working for the ruling regime and the President. That the will never hand over to anyone who they doesn’t deem fit. Usually they dismiss the opposition in a heart beat.

The Army Commanders and Officers also intimidate and say they will ensure the continuation of the Republic. The UPDF will never leave the Presidency to a doctor or a colonel. This they used to say about Dr. Kizza Besigye. He was never enough or good enough. He was an upstart and not even a good medic. A person who would never be the commander-in-chief of the army.

When they do that Besiye. How do you expect they react to a musician like Bobi Wine? Expect them to just give way and not speak out. These people are used to it and has done so for over a generation.

That is why there been countless of high ranking officials within the UPDF who has dismissed the opposition and their leaders over the years. The same with former Generals who are serving in the Cabinet and who are “elected” Members of Parliament (MP), which are there too. They are all doing the same as Sande.

It is not like his alone in this and speaking out like he did. No, his one out of plenty. There been so many saying these things. That it’s not shocking anymore, but more ordinary fashion from the NRA Historicals, UPDF Commanders and retired army commanders appointed to high ranking roles within the NRM. They are always throwing shade and saying they would never accept a civilian or somebody who is not anointed by them.

Now they are going after Bobi Wine and NUP. In the past it would be the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Besigye. However, we are in 2020 and Bobi Wine is the main target. Peace.

Uganda: Nationwide analysis finds Gulu, Jinja, Kasese worst affected by hunger during lockdown (07.10.2020)

For the rest of the year, Gulu and Kasese are expected to remain at Crisis levels even while their markets are supplied with harvests.

KAMPALA, Uganda, October 7, 2020 – Ugandans in nine urban areas were at Crisis levels of food insecurity or worse for months leading to August because of negative impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown. The worst affected of were Gulu, Jinja and Kasese where nearly one in three people struggled to find nutritious food on a regular basis.

For the rest of the year, Gulu and Kasese are expected to remain at Crisis levels even while their markets are supplied with harvests.

These were some of the findings of the most comprehensive Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis conducted in Uganda to date, covering Kampala and other urban areas, the Karamoja region and refugee settlements and host communities for the first time.

The analysis was carried out by the Government of Uganda and three UN agencies and measures food insecurity from June through August and projected from September to December. It was informed in part by real-time data gathered by remote telephone monitoring of households in 13 urban areas, refugee hosting districts and Karamoja region in the northeast. It is the first time, real-time data informed the IPC on urban areas.

The IPC attributed Crisis food insecurity to the loss of livelihoods in the informal sector, tourism, the travel and events industry and the education sector, reduced remittances and reduced commercial networks due to the closure of borders.

Releasing the results of the analysis, the Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Eng. Hillary Onek, said that the Government is committed to ensuring food and nutrition security and well-being for all people in Uganda, including those in urban areas.

Speaking while releasing the results of the analysis, the Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Eng. Hillary Onek, said Government is committed to ensuring food and nutrition security and well-being for all people in the country, including those in urban areas.

“With these new findings, we now know, reliably, who the most food-insecure people are in Uganda, where they are and what we can do to save lives and preserve livelihoods. Such knowledge is critical before we take any decisions,” Mr Onek said.

“We thank our partners for working with us to come up with this very important analysis. We now must continue to work together to find solutions to the issues raised in the study,” Mr Onek added.

Currently, through a collaboration with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the United Nations makes 10,000 calls a month to monitor food security in refugee areas, 12 urban areas and Karamoja region.

Using the real-time and other data, the IPC found that refugees in all 13 settlements in Uganda along with more than 1.3 million Ugandans in refugee-hosting districts and Karamoja region experienced Crisis or worse levels of hunger between June and August.

In Karamoja, all districts had worrying levels of malnutrition among young children and pregnant and nursing women, with malnutrition above emergency levels in Moroto and Napak.

The IPC attributed the high levels of food insecurity in refugee hosting districts and Karamoja to WFP’s ration cuts for refugees, the lockdown, floods and subsequent food losses, animal and human diseases, insecurity in some parts of Karamoja and reduced remittances as key contributors to the situation.

“Ration cuts for refugees will remain in place until we secure sufficient funding. To be able to provide full rations for refugees in the settlements until the end of 2020, WFP needs nearly US$15.3 million immediately,” said WFP Uganda Country Director, Mr El-Khidir Daloum.

FAO’s Deputy Representative, Ms Priya Gujadhur said “As part of the UN Uganda’s Emergency Appeal launched earlier this year, FAO has appealed for USD 7.8 million for food security, nutrition and livelihoods interventions. This will allow FAO to provide agricultural livelihood support and training in climate smart agricultural practices to help up to 10,000 of the most vulnerable households produce for their own consumption and diversify income sources through value chain development, thereby strengthening their resilience.”

Even with coming harvests this year, it is expected households will continue to struggle with food shortages partly because of lost incomes during the lockdown. All refugee settlements are expected to remain at Crisis level at best. Food security should improve in nine out of 12 worst-affected refugee-hosting districts. Malnutrition is expected to decline in two districts in Karamoja in the coming months.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, the Ministry for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Kampala Capital City Authority, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and WFP participated in the IPC analysis. The European Union, World Bank and UK Aid funded the exercise

Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF): Operation to pursue escapees from Singila Government Prison in Moroto (17.09.2020)

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