The National Unity Platform-NUP President Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has asked the government to reopen schools as soon as possible to avert what he called a waiting catastrophe.
Speaking on Friday at his party’s headquarters to remember the lives of his supporters who have died in the last three years of his political activism, Kyagulanyi said it’s possible to reopen schools without putting the lives of the learners at the mercy of Covid-19. He said the rate at which students are getting pregnant is testimony that schools must be reopened.
Kyagulanyi’s comments come a day after President Museveni said that schools will only be reopened if the majority of Ugandans have been vaccinated.
Speaking at Kololo ceremonial grounds on the International Youth Day, Museveni said his government’s priority now is to protect people’s lives. He said although it would be important for learners to go back to school now, the Covid-19 situation is not yet conducive for this to happen.
“The argument of Besigye would work if all schools were boarding. If the teachers are immunized even if the students are not immunized they can manage to defeat Covid-19 because they are young, although that is not the case. After all, I have heard some children die. But the problem is that most of the schools are day schools. So, the children study and go back home and when they go back home, they kill all their parents. Is that what Besigye wanted or he had not remembered this,” Museveni said.
Like Kyagulanyi, Besigye criticized the government for having no plan for reopening schools. The government proposal to reopen schools based on vaccinating majority Ugandans is most likely going to see schools remain closed for a long time because of the rate at which vaccination is moving.
Six months after the vaccination exercise started, less than two million Ugandans have been vaccinated out of the 21million that are targeted. The country is also still grappling with procuring vaccines that can vaccinate 21million people as all the vaccines so far received and used have been donations from well-wishers.
Meanwhile, Kyagulanyi has called upon the government to be more transparent in managing the Covid-19 pandemic. Kyagulanyi said allegations of corruption in the procurements related to Covid-19 and the lack of prioritization are sending a wrong signal that government is not interested in seeing the end of Covid.
David Lewis Rubongoya, the Secretary-General NUP called upon the government to come clear on the whereabouts of blogger, Fred Lumbuye. Rubongoya said although as a party they don’t agree with everything that Lumbuye says, they will nevertheless continue to push for the protection of his rights.