Speaker of Parliament Anita Annet Among wants Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II’s Buganda Kingdom-owned CBS FM radio to produce a recording of Rubaga North MP Abubaker Kawalya of the main opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) to help in the investigations into claims that the youthful MP uttered statements that could negatively affect the country’s efforts to fight the Sudan strain of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
Uganda confirmed the outbreak of Ebola in mid-September 2022 in the district of Mubende. But a total of eight districts have now confirmed cases of the deadly viral haemorrhagic disease. (See Details Here).
Efforts to fight Ebola in Uganda have been hampered by misinformation, among other challenges. For example, some people believe that the declaration of the outbreak of the viral haemorrhagic disease was a hoax reportedly meant to help officials at Dr Jane Ruth Aceng’s Ministry of Health mint money from government and donors. Yet Ebola remains real and has killed some people in a number of districts where it has been confirmed.
Other groups of people claim that there is no Ebola but rather some kind of ‘witchcraft outbreak’ and that the witchcraft can only be sorted out by witchdoctors. Weeks ago, a man who ran to a witchdoctor in a Luweero shrine later succumbed of Ebola and infected over 10 fellow villagers, all of whom have since died of Ebola — in just one village. (Read Details Here).
It is against this background that Margaret Muhanga, the Minister of State for Health in charge of Primary Health Care, accused Rubaga North MP Kawalya of going on a Buganda Kingdom radio station, CBS, and reportedly claiming that there was no Ebola in the country. Minister Muhanga sought Speaker Among’s orders to compel Kawalya to apologize.
Kawalya was given a chance to defend himself before his colleagues in the House on Thursday, November 03, 2022. In his personal statement, the MP, who served as the first Kampala Capital City Council Speaker, denied the allegations by Minister Muhanga, saying that the allegation is that he made the statement on Ebola at the beginning of September yet the disease outbreak was confirmed about three weeks later. He also said there was no way he could claim there was no Ebola in Uganda yet some of his constituents had succumbed to the viral haemorrhagic disease.
“Hon Margaret Muhanga said that I made the statement on CBS FM Radio on September 01 and yet the disease was declared on 20 September 2022… I could not have made that statement when I have lost two people to the disease,” Kawalya defended himself.
The Rubaga North MP further emphasized that the allegations made against him were false. He even demanded that the minister apologizes to him before the House. MP Kawalya also asked the speaker to order that the allegation should be expunged from the record of the House.
In response, Speaker Anita Among informed Kawalya he was being probed over this statement and that investigations were still ongoing. She also revealed plans to compel CBS FM to produce the recording of the legislator’s statement. “We shall retrieve the recordings from the radio station and ascertain whether the member made the alleged statements. We shall then take a decision on whether apologies should be tended or not,” ruled Among.
Meanwhile, the other practice that is now affecting the fight against Ebola is the exhumation of bodies of people who have died of Ebola. Some locals are said to use the cover of the night to exhume bodies of Ebola victims so as to perform cultural and religious rituals in the night.
In one village, hours after a specialized burial team had buried an Ebola victim, locals used the cover of darkness to exhume the body, perform rituals on it and re-bury it. Of those who attended this careless and unsafe burial, over 20 have tested positive for Ebola, and three have already died of the disease. (Read full story Here).