President Yoweri Museveni has threatened to run Daily Monitor newspaper bankrupt over a recent story indicating that his inner circle had received jabs of China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, months ahead of health workers and other vulnerable groups.
The Daily Monitor reported the story on 23rd February basing on an American newspaper, Wall Street Journal which said that Museveni’s inner circle were offered vaccines from China state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm and that this move by China to promote its vaccines had also been reported in Peru and the Philippines. Uganda only received its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines last week and is set to begin vaccinations this week starting with the health workers.
"In the meantime, am going to get from Monitor - money for my party because they said I had hidden and vaccinated myself secretly with my wife. Ha, they are going to get me some money for my party. I have already taken the case in the court, Monitor, I will make them bankrupt unless they apologise and lie down and say sorry..sorry sorry. If they don’t am really going to go for them. That I am a selfish man who hid with my wife and we got injected when other Ugandans were at risk. That is not Ssabalwanyi, Ssabalwanyi doesn’t behave like that," Museveni said.
Museveni made the statement at State House during the commemoration of the International Women’s Day 2020. On the coronavirus, Museveni said the country is making tremendous progress in fight against the pandemic noting that statistics indicate that the virus spread is going down, but nevertheless the scientists are continuing to make Ugandan vaccine for the new strain.
“We don’t want to depend on others, it took us a little bit of time because when we were looking for things to use, they said…you Africans what are you looking the vaccine for.. you wait we shall get it and send you...Africans don’t look for vaccines, that’s what we were told,” Museveni reported.
Museveni attributed the decreasing Covid infections to good analysis, taking time to understand the characteristics of the disease and the ability by majority of Ugandans to listen to advise by health workers.
There is a significant decrease in the reported positive cases of Covid-19 and also the absence of patients receiving care at Covid-19 wards. However, health experts have warned that the reduction in Covid-19 cases is a sign that the country has completed its first wave and that a second might be on the way. They say this should not be taken as a sign that all is well.
"I think because the majority of our people are young, they recover - like in our household we had like 10 children - these workers of ours who got infected but they recovered all them. Nobody died, they also didn’t infect us because I think because when they come to work in the house, the house is spacious and not squeezed. So they would come and it was going to affect my campaign time because the first ones who got infected I was in Mbale. The children who were in the press team, they are ones who first got infected, then by the time I got to Rukungiri even the ones I had in the house had been infected. They all recovered," said Museveni.
Meanwhile, the president blamed violence in homesteads on poverty. According to a police report, a total of 16,242 cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) were reported between January and June 2020.
“The family is not earning, those people are fighting over poverty, they are not earning," he said. "Not long ago, the 2014 Census said that 68 per cent of homesteads are working for the stomach,” he said.
According to Museveni, there is need to ensure that people earn a comfortable living and that this is the only way calls for respect of different rights will yield. He said that social economic transformation should be key if Ugandan women are to transform totally. According to Museveni, everybody should be engaged in four sectors of the economy that the government is focusing on which are commercial agriculture, small factories (Industry), services or Information Communication and Technology.
"60% of the families are not earning an income, you can talk for ages about this right about that right, I don’t think we’re going to move. So let them first [earn] and it can be done. It just a matter of educating people because I did when I was a student leader. I was not MP, I was able to educate those people in the early 1960s and recently when I came back I resumed 1986 and they changed. There are there their address is well known," added Museveni.