Former Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] president Dr Kizza Besigye has said President Museveni erred by stopping politicians and other well-wishers from donating relief items to those most affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.
In a statement, Besigye, Museveni’s four-time challenger said, instead of banning people from assisting, the government should have improved the exercise to make it safe. Museveni said by calling people for food, the politicians were putting people’s lives in danger as they congregate.
“There are some political leaders who tried to distribute food to some desperate urban dwellers, whose sources of income had been affected by the pandemic, these could have been given guidelines on how to safely distribute the food. Instead, Museveni called them shameless opportunists or enemies of Uganda, who should be charged with a capital offence of attempted murder. Surely, Ugandans know who leads in shamelessly giving political hangouts using taxpayers’ money,” Besigye said.
He added that if there are citizen initiatives to help reduce people’s socioeconomic challenges, the government, should only, proactively, facilitate them to do whatever they’re doing better.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens the survival of all of us, calls for the urgent mobilization of all energy and resources our country can muster to confront it. It shouldn’t be a time for an exclusionist and partisan stance,” Besigye said.
While addressing the nation on Monday and Tuesday, Museveni ordered police to arrest whoever was trying to distribute food to people saying this was endangering them.
“I warn the shameless politicians who want to make a name, by calling people to give them food. The police will arrest you wherever you are and will charge you with attempted murder. It won’t be the usual games of illegal assembly. You are an enemy and we are going to crush you,” Museveni said.
He added that those who want to assist the people should take their relief items or money to the National Taskforce headed by the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.
“Go to the taskforce we shall put you on TV, you can even sleep there but if you don’t, we are going to arrest you and we shall not accept bail [application] because you are going to kill our people,” Museveni said.
However, in his statement Besigye said, they cannot hand over anything to the Prime Minister’s office, which he said is notorious for massive corruption scandals.
“It’s therefore, not likely that ordinary people will turn over their resources to the government to manage during this crisis,” Besigye said.