President Yoweri Museveni has taken time to read out names of companies, organisations and institutions that have heeded his call to contribute to Covid19 efforts.
Some people even proposed that Museveni should let his ministers do the reading.
But the President has insisted on reading the names of contributors after his lengthy speeches that go on for over two hours.
Those close to the president can testify to how thorough the head of state can be, and want things to be done his way.
Apart from wanting to encourage more contributors by honouring them with mentions, some observers say the President is using this as a way of ensuring that dishonest officials at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and Ministry of Health (MoH) do not think he is unaware of what and how much was contributed and go ahead to steal the monetary and material contributions made by Ugandans.
Given corruption and theft reports that have been reported over the years, President Museveni has learnt to do things he deems vital for himself or appoint trusted cadres like Lt Col Edith Nakalema to be his ‘eyes’ where he is suspicious of the IGG.
But that is one side of the story. The second one being advanced by political analysts is that the donations are largely political.
Those advancing this particular theory argue that Museveni is using the donation drive to check which companies and organisations support him and believe in him as President of Uganda.
This therefore is an allegiance test that institutions must pass if they hope to keep doing business with government.
What the President is basically doing, analysts further argue, is doing a roll call to hear who will answer in the affirmative or negative to his plea.
Assessing allegiance doesn’t come at a better time than months to a presidential election. Uganda is heading to the polls in early 2021 and the president’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) party seems to have no other candidate than the man who has been president since 1986.
Institution leaders therefore know that refusing to heed to the president’s call would be equivalent to an outright refusal to endorse his candidate.
Imagine companies and institutions refusing to donate to the Covid taskforce! That would be a slap in the face of the president, and a clear vote of no confidence in his leadership.
Museveni can, therefore, boast of having support from almost all the companies and institutions that have heeded his call.
With industrialists whose wars for land acquisition and tax exemptions the president has fought, Museveni must so far be contented that the people he helped have not forgotten him or got ‘diverted’ by the political opposition.
He must also be pleased that some members of the opposition like his newest political challenger Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine and the Democratic Party (DP) contributed to Covid19 efforts. Politically, while these political donors might deny it in public, they well know they blindly paid allegiance to the man they oppose.
However, pro-government analysts insist that there is nothing much in the Covid19 donations besides President Museveni’s attempts to unite Ugandans to fight Covid19 and help those who are vulnerable live dignified lives during the Covid19 crisis.
They argue that the money will be accounted for and is not meant for the president’s campaign but to help the MoH and the vulnerable poor.
And while the debate on why Museveni is keen on the donations, the Covid19 Fund Committee has called on Ugandans to emulate the President and donate part of their salaries for the Coronavirus fight.
“Our appeal now is that we emulate the President’s example and contribute part of our salary as a donation to the Covid-19 Fund. This appeal goes out to all salary earners, civil servants, business people and those in the private sector,” said National Covid-19 Response Fund Committee Chairman Emmanuel Katongole.
“We call upon all citizens to participate including; Cabinet Ministers of the Government of Uganda, Members of Parliament, Members of the Judiciary, Permanent Secretaries, Undersecretaries, Directors, Commissioners and all Senior Civil servants and All leaders in the local Government structures.”
And the ministers recently brought their contribution in response to Katongole’s calls.
The anti-Museveni critics will continue to argue that the president is using the taskforce to expand the sample of people whose allegiance he wants to test while the pro-Museveni group will keep dismissing the president’s detractors, insisting the money is meant for a good cause.