DP holds the Inaugural NEC meeting
Democratic Party held her inaugural National Executive Committee meeting last Friday the 30th day of July, 2021 via Zoom, Though being with the will power and wish to hold meetings of Party Organs, since the National Delegates Conference in Gulu last year, the prevailing circumstances of the Pandemic couldn’t allow our desire to materialise until we bypassed it by use of zoom.
The members of the National Executive Committee took Oath and pledged to work unison to build a strong and robust Democratic Party. Unlike the previous NEC that was marred with divisionism, bad blood and slander the current members of the National Executive Committee are united and determined to build the Party, we shall build Democratic Party.
Details of this meeting can be found in the second issue the Party biweekly Newsletter the Egumire, this Newsletter can be downloaded from our Online Newspaper Egumire.com.
Management of COVID-19 pandemic
The government moved to lift the lockdown by 50% but before establishing structures to encumber the spread of the pandemic so that the country is not taken into another lockdown.
It should be noted that, lockdowns are meant for countries to buy time and lay down structures for management of the pandemic, we have opened by half but rather unfortunately, there is no adequately established structures to keep the cases down as we wait for vaccination, we insist that the government has failed on that which implies that Ugandans should be prepared for several of lockdowns.
These structures can be constructed by firstly, ensuring that the health workers have enough personal protective equipments, this is not currently so, the health workers continue to work under circumstances of lack in terms of PPEs and allowances and yet other departments of government are busy misallocating, misusing and swindling COVID-19 money.
Upon that, we demand that government punishes the culprits involved in the mismanagement of the COVID-19 funds short of that, Democratic Party is prepared to begin a campaign dubbed Name and Shame the thief, we shall dog the thieves, expose them and mobilize Ugandans to blacklist them.
Secondly, the government should establish community Isolation centers and COVID-19 Community team to manage the pandemic at a community level.
Therefore, Democratic Party strongly believes that in the Management of COVID-19 pandemic, participation of community members is very key as such government should involve opinion leaders in various communities. This pandemic trades beyond our societal stratification, this has birthed our considered view that government decentralize the Management of the pandemic to include other stakeholders.
There is absolutely no reason why we should not adopt a bottom – top approach in dealing with this conundrum, we see no justification for government’s indifference to involve local leaders both political and apolitical in the management process of the pandemic, why would for instance police storm a community with batons beating everybody under the pretext of enforcing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a community when there is a village Executive Committee? So what happens when the police leaves, we need to use smooth strategies to empower the population to stand strong against the pandemic.
COVID-19 community teams should be established and empowered to manage the pandemic in their localities, these teams should have members including VHTs, Religious leaders, members of the civil society and such other persons construed to be the opinion leaders in these communities, this will without doubt allow for smooth reception of the messages about management of COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic is here with us, therefore life must go on though not normally but sectors that are controllable should be opened to an extent for instance, as primary schools still keep home let secondary schools and Institutions of Higher learning be opened after all it has been demonstrated through Institutions like the prisons, police and military barracks that have the same set up with schools that it is possible to operate but without fatalities to the students.
Democratic Party believes, and strongly so that the education sector should not treat educational institutions as being at the same level in enforcjng Standard Operating Procedures, it is easy for these SOPs to be enforced in secondary schools and institutions of higher learning than it is in primary schools therefore the former should be left to operate.
It is a good idea to earmark money that will jump-start some businesses, the hard question however is that does government have the records of all businesses in Uganda, this, I doubt! How will the beneficiaries be identified then? It is unfortunate that whenever government talks of business owners, they consider the property developers in Kampala Metropolitan, just the other day Akamweesi was given a lot of money under pretext of jumpstarting him. The government forgets about the fact that even in the periphery of the capital city there are businesses. The government should therefore prioritize SMEs countrgwide while identifying businesses to be supported with stimulus packages, the other thing is that this money should be increased from shillings 200 billion to one trillion (1 trn).
Lastly, the government through Bank of Uganda should facilitate and cause the restructuring of loan agreements between commercial banks and business owners especially in the private sector as this would allow for time to enable prompt payment of the loans, it will also reduce on the number of non performing loans which without doubt affects the operation of commercial Banks thus impacting on the way these banks conduct business with their customers, who are basically businessmen and women in the private sector. This is the time for Bank of Uganda to intervene
Bank of Uganda should come up with intervening strategy to save the operation of businesses, it should be made compulsory for the commercial banks to open renegotiation of the terms of payment of loans with the business owners.
Okoler Opio Lo Amanu
0700727704 / 0775107003