Besigye speaks out on Museveni order for compulsory Covid19 testing of 2021 election candidates

Besigye and Museveni.

Main opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye has criticized President Yoweri Museveni for his directive to Ministry of Health (MoH) to test all 2021 election candidates and political parties’ staff for Covid19.

On August 01, ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) secretary general Justine Kasule Lumumba revealed that Museveni had ordered compulsory Covid19 tests for all political players.

The order came after Museveni got a Covid19 scare but tested negative for the respiratory disease.

Also, two staff at the NRM secretariat — a senior official and a data entrant — had tested positive for Covid19.

Read: Museveni orders all political parties’ staff, flag bearers, independents to take Covid19 tests


But Dr Besigye, a trained medical doctor who once served as Museveni’s personal physician, has opposed the move.

“Why should “Sole Candidate” Museveni order his (MoH) officials to test all his political opponents?” wondered Besigye.

“What’s the scientific justification — to protect the ‘candidates’ or the people?”

Besigye reminded Museveni and health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng that “private facilities are vital in Uganda’s political Covid19 control.”

Recently, minister Aceng warned Rubaga Hospital, other health facilities and laboratories against testing samples for coronavirus and treating Covid19 patients.

The hospital had set up an isolation center after a patient it admitted later succumbed to Covid19 complications.

“I want to appreciate Rubaga Hospital for taking the step but I want to remind Rubaga that procedures have to be followed,” Aceng said in her latest coronavirus update.

“For laboratories, we have an accreditation committee that is chaired by Prof Pontiano Kaleebu. As long as they are not accredited and we have not standardized their laboratories, we cannot encourage people to go there.”

Uganda currently has 14 health facilities offering Covid19 treatment and care. These include  Entebbe Hospital, Masaka, Gulu, Lira, Arua, Mbale, Jinja, Naguru, Mbarara, Hoima, Fort Portal, Soroti, Kabale and Moroto regional referral hospitals and the Mulago National Referral Hospital.

The country also has six testing centres: Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) at Butabika, Tororo General Hospital, Mutukula border, Adjumani Hospital and Makerere University College of Health Sciences Laboratory at Mulago.

Some 12 more laboratories – three private, three public and six research-based – had been cleared to start Covid19 testing.

They include MBN on Plot 28, Nakasero Road, Lancet on Plot 99/101 Buganda Road and Medipal International Hospital on Plot 1-A, Lower Kololo Terrace, where tests will be carried out at a fee.

Read: Nakulabye woman becomes fourth Ugandan to die of Covid19

Museveni’s four-time challenger for the country’s top seat, Besigye predicted that “soon, opponents of NRM/Museveni Junta will be on their way to Covid19 institutional quarantine for indefinite stay.”

“Uganda will now squarely contend with the partisan Covid19 management that we were concerned about from pandemic onset — National task force under [Office of the Prime Minister] OPM, district teams under RDCs; and Health Minister now Lira NRM Candidate!”

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