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Netizens in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania are not pleased by reports that Uganda Medical Association’s (UMA) president Samuel Oledo led a section of medical practitioners and students to kneel before president Yoweri Museveni, begging him to run for presidency again in 2026.
“Your Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, you have been the engine behind the improved welfare of health workers. Right now, the least paid health worker earns Shs.1.4 million [$378] from UGX 600,000,” Oledo said at Kololo, an upscale neighborhood in the capital Kampala on Dec. 3 during a youth investment symposium.
He claimed that Museveni’s administration has overseen the upgrade of general hospitals to regional referral hospitals, and that means “our people can receive services in their specific areas.”
Uganda Medical Association (UMA) members led by their president, Dr Samuel Odongo Oledo on their knees appreciating president @KagutaMuseveni for his visionary leadership. #NBSUpdates #NilePostNews pic.twitter.com/N513E0gtHH
— 📸 Isaano Francis (@francis_isano) December 3, 2022
Some Ugandans are embarrassed by Oledo’s actions with the UMA publishing a statement signed by vice-president Edith Nakku-Joloba and secretary general Herbert Luswata, distancing itself from his remarks.
Regarding the Kololo event pic.twitter.com/VIi6fuvdl4
— Uganda Medical Association (@TheUMAofficial) December 5, 2022
“This is not our position as UMA. Unfortunately, Oledo is part of this stray group looking for petty favors,” said Mirembe Joel, a member of the association.
Kenyans had a say too in the drama attributing it to political intrigue.
This is for fear of him handing over power to Amin the second, Muhoozi. If he hands over to his son, Uganda will go back to 1978. And yet there are only two options, he continues or installs Amin.
— Joel Shunza Gitali (@JsGitali) December 5, 2022
Muhoozi is Museveni’s son who has been making controversial statements on Twitter, the most provocative one being a threat to capture Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, in October. His father would later fire him from the position of commander of the country’s infantry forces only to promote him to a full general shortly thereafter.
Tanzanians on Twitter also reacted to this apparent sycophancy with one asking, “Who bewitched us Africans? You sit in a medical class for over seven years and yet you can’t make a sober judgement. Is Museveni the only person who can lead Uganda?”
Doctors’ poor pay in Uganda
Various statistics call to question Oledo’s claims that Museveni—a man internationally criticized for his brazen crackdowns on dissent—has transformed Uganda’s health sector for the better.
Ugandan doctors’ pay is one of the lowest in the world, with a medical officer earning less than $300 per month. Senior medical practitioners are paid between $695 and $910 a month. Calls and strikes by medical staff to raise the wages to between $4,000 and $12,840 have been futile.
There have been proposals to raise the salaries of all medical personnel by 100% but that has not come to fruition. Last month, medical interns who were not paid for the months of September and October went on strike.
Doctors have also complained of lack of supplies within public hospitals in the capital Kampala and dispensaries in rural Uganda. Such conditions have seen thousands of doctors flee the country to neighboring countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, and even Africa’s youngest state, South Sudan, in search of better pay.
In June, Museveni, who has been in power for 36 years now, blamed past regimes and colonialists for the economic tribulations Ugandans go through. The Bank of Uganda statistics show that inflation rose to 10.7% in October, with food prices rising by 33.8%.
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