Four-time presidential runner-up Dr Kizza Besigye has questioned the government’s reopening plan for the whole economy as the country recovers from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

President Yoweri Museveni, who has not reopened some sectors of the economy since the first lockdown was effected in March 2020, told the nation in an address on Thursday last week that he plans to make a full reopening of the economy in January 2022.

In his televised envelope, the President tagged the reopening plan, which affects the entertainment sector, bars and schools, on the vaccination of at least 12 million Ugandans by end of December 2021.

While appearing on NBS TVs Morning Breeze Show under the Topical Discussion Segment on Monday morning, Dr Besigye wondered whether the government has packed an all-inclusive economic recovery plan ahead of the January reopening of the whole economy.

“What is the plan for opening up the peoples’ livelihoods? You have heard that the government put a lot of money in UDB (Uganda Development Bank) but you saw how MPs discovered that 3 billion shillings was allocated to Serena Hotel and other money went to building shopping malls,” Dr Besigye said.

Responding to show host Simon Kaggwa Njala’s question on whether the President’s decisions are really informed by scientific advice, Dr Besigye who has been instrumental in issuing out medical guidance on issues of Covid-19, insisted that Mr Museveni is inadvisable.

“Anybody who has lived in the country for one day knows Mr Museveni is inadvisable. There are hundreds of advisors who earn millions of money and have soldiers guarding them. You can talk to them, some he doesn’t know them,” he stated.

Dr Besigye, who is currently leading the Peoples’ Front for Transition (PFT), a new pressure group aimed at removing the government from power under the Red Card jargon, faulted the government for failing to reduce its expenditures.

Fresh from seeing treason charges dropped by the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Dr Besigye wondered why the government increased the number of Councilors at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) instead of recruiting more medical workers to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. He alleged that the KCCA Councilors earn double what doctors receive monthly.

Discussing the possibility of vaccinating 12 million Ugandans before the full reopening in January, Dr Besigye showed skepticism over whether the Ministry of Health will be able to procure the required number of vaccine doses. 

“I know that Uganda placed an order with this COVAX facility and that order was cancelled by our people and nobody is in jail. This is factual, verifiable. So, to me the first priority post Covid, one would expect is recovering of the livelihoods,” added the former president of the opposition party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).

Currently, the government is putting vaccination emphasis on the frontline workers, teaching and non teaching staff in institutions of learning, the elderly and students as well.

With night curfew still firmly implemented, the government is reopening for physical learning at the Higher Institutions of Learning this month while places of worship have been allowed a minimum of 200 attendees.

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