By Keefa Nuwahereza
The government, through the minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and National Guidance, Judith Nabakooba, has warned politicians to desist from campaigning when it is not yet time for conducting political campaigns.
Minister Nabakooba, who is also the Mityana District Woman member of Parliament, issued the warning in a statement released Sunday October 18, 2020, in which she also warned journalists to watch out for their lives, because chances of contracting Coronavirus (COVID-19) during this political season are high are cases of infection are increasing among the media fraternity.
Here below is the Minister’s statement in part;
“The Ministry of ICT and National guidance is mandated to keep the public informed about all the major issues happening in country.
I therefore want to thank members of the Press for your support in this effort.
I would like to congratulate all those individuals that got nominated for the various leadership positions.
In a special way, I would like to thank those candidates that managed to abide with the existing COVID-19 guidelines especially regarding crowd control.
However we have observed that some of those who got nominated immediately took to the campaign trail addressing crowds and holding processions.
First I would like to inform all candidates and the general public that it is not yet time for campaigning.
The Electoral Commission is currently working on a campaign road map that will act as a guide for all candidates.
The campaign road map is expected to be released soon and candidates are therefore advised to wait for guidance from Electoral Commission.
Secondary, we are all aware that these elections are being guided by the existing COVID-19 guidelines.
The guidelines strictly outlaw any activity that brings together crowds.
Most of the activities such as open public campaigns and processions are not acceptable.
I therefore want to call upon all leaders to lead by example and avoid situations that put people’s lives at risk.
We must all understand that Uganda has surpassed the 10,000 mark in terms of confirmed cases.
Currently our total stands at 10,334 cases and 96 deaths. I therefore want to call upon everyone today to take a personal decision and say no to COVID-19.
Let us keep safe and be responsible citizens as we wait for the Electoral Commission to officially announce the campaign dates and program.
In a special way, I would like to single out my colleagues in the media industry.
The Ministry of Health recently raised concern over the COVID-19 positivity rate among journalists.
Information by the Ministry of Health reveals that over 50 journalists have so far tested positive for COVID-19.
As frontline workers, journalists expose themselves everyday while carrying out their duties of searching for news.
It is the responsibility of every journalist to ensure that they are well protected with a masks or any other protective wear while on duty.
I also call upon all media houses, to abide by the regulations issued by Uganda Communications Communication and ensure that all your employees remain protected.
Turning to HIV or AIDS, yesterday, October 17, is the day Uganda takes off time to celebrate the Life of Philly Bongole Lutaya.
Philly Lutaya will always be remembered for his selfless efforts in fighting HIV.
As we celebrate his life, I would like to highlight the tireless efforts of all partners and People Living with HIV in our national response.
In a special way I would like to thank Ministry of Health, Office of the President and Uganda AIDS Commission for hard work in ending AIDS.
Despite the challenges associated with COVID-19, Uganda has remained on course to ending AIDS as a major threat by 2030.
Just like HIV, success against COVID-19 is going to require individual responsibility when it comes to the preventive guidelines.
Like Philly Bongole Lutaya, I would like to salute some of the individuals who have come out to share their personal experiences and struggles with COVID-19.
These personal experiences help us put a human face to the pandemic and enable us fight stigma.
If you suspect that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, reach out to any health center for support and advice.
Finally I want to thank all the parents and guardians who have worked hard to ensure that the candidate students report back to school.
As government we know that these have been challenging times for everyone.
I want to thank all the schools that have worked hard to ensure that they put in place all the standard operating procedures provided by Ministry of Education.
I call upon all school authorities and students not to get tired of following the guidelines.
Let us work hard together and bring down the number of COVID-19 cases to zero.
Do not forget to wear your mask all the time when going out in public.
For God and my Country.”