Moroccan-American hip hop recording artist, Karim Kharbouch, better known by his stage name French Montana, has called on President Yoweri Museveni and Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, to commit some funds for uplifting the country’s health status.
Montana is famed for thrusting Ugandan Triplets Ghetto Kids onto the world scene by featuring with them in an unforgettable performance at the Los Angeles Black Entertainment Awards this year.
The kids have since toured Hollywood, appeared on Ellen Degeneres show, been published in Vibe Magazine, given a star role in a cartoon series ‘Lazy Town’ and put on the list of those to perform at US Grammies awards 2018.
Montana, one of the most popular artists in hip-hop (he currently has eight songs charting on the Billboard Hot 100), just released his latest song, Jungle Rules, a sophomore record, follow-up to his 2013 debut Excuse My French.
The singer on August 21, 2017 reached out to Uganda’s leaders on his official twitter handle, urging them to save lives by stepping up and committing at least 15% of the country’s resources every year to fund the health sector.
“Hey @KagutaMuseveni @RebeccaKadaga UG was #UNFORGETTABLE but need help to save more lives! Will Uganda step up & commit 15% a year to fund health?”
— French Montana (@FrencHMonTanA) August 21, 2017
Museveni and Kadaga have seen gone mute as mules. Not even a retweet or alike from the two leaders.
It was tweeps who tried to enlighten the rapper on how things work in Uganda.
Kabanda Denis [@kabandawhat]: “Ma nigga u are preaching to the wrong congregation unless u are talking roads and dams @KagutaMuseveni won’t respond to that plea.”
Ma nigga u are preaching to the wrong congregation unless u are talking roads and dams @KagutaMuseveni won’t respond to that plea
— kabanda denis (@kabandawhat) August 23, 2017
Kabut [paul @kabzpaul]: “@KagutaMuseveni @RebeccaKadaga, someone needs tell Montana that Ugandan leaders are corrupt, only do lip service.”
— kabut [paul (@kabzpaul) August 23, 2017
Gaiuswayne [@Gaiuswayne01]: “@FrencHMonTanA, those [@KagutaMuseveni @RebeccaKadaga] are like the most selfish people in Uganda. If they do it then it will be just because u asked it on twitter.”
Those are like the most selfish people in Uganda. If they do it then it will be just because u asked it on twitter 😁
— Gaiuswayne (@Gaiuswayne01) August 23, 2017
This came at a time President Museveni had written himself off the list of African presidents who fall sick and go abroad for treatment.
Speaking in Budaka district, Museveni declared that he has not fallen sick for all the time he has been the president of Uganda.
“Have you ever heard that Museveni has fallen sick and my legs hanged in hospital, for the last 31 years? This is because I observe some of these health tips [practices] which have eventually helped me to prevent some of these diseases. Many of the diseases are preventable,” Museveni is quoted by Daily Monitor as saying.
In 2015, Robert Shaka aka Maverick Blutaski, was arrested after being mistaken with the most elusive social media critic, Tom Voltaire Okwalinga aka TVO, for mentioning Museveni’s sickness.
We have asked for the same for over 30 years, these people refused!
— GRACE66 (@mukasagrace6) August 22, 2017
In September that year, Uganda’s leading tabloid, Red Pepper, serialised stories of Museveni’s “sick hand” saying his finger was “rotting and being eaten away by cancer”.
The president came out publically and declared that he was not seriously sick; saying that it was only a fractured finger bone he was nursing.
@ghettokids_tfug He put the ghetto kids out there and he sure will make health an issue in Uganda thank you Franch.
— Mvtt 🦍 (@MattSoLit) August 23, 2017
The trouble with Uganda’s health policies
Journalist Andrew Mwenda, in his recent health sector analysis, says Uganda is a very poor country with public spending per capita of only $170 per person this financial year compared to USA which is budgeting $21,265 per person.
Dear @FrencHMonTanA Uganda is too broke to remember you, what’s your name again.
— MozerTheeGuy (@Atuha3) August 22, 2017
Simply put, Mwenda wrote, even with the best intentions, Uganda cannot afford to provide a large basket of public goods and services to all her citizens to the quantity and quality we demand or desire. Health spending this financial year is about $12 per person. That is pea nuts.
“Therefore our government needs to prioritize its health spending on those areas where it can get the highest impact on the largest number of citizens. The biggest cause of death in our country is malaria and anaemia due to malaria among children under five years. The others are communicable diseases such as diarrhoea, cough, TB etc. and pneumonia,” the journalist explained.
According to Mwenda, Uganda has a low life expectancy at 64 years in very large part because of high infant and child mortality. Given the reality above, the most cost effective solution to our health problems and one that can have the most impact on the largest number of our citizens lies in public health (prevention measures), not curative (clinical) medicine which prioritizes hospitals and doctors.
Okay Mr. French welcome to the Parliament of Uganda. Beware of corruption our big baby.
— Flower (@Sophiiflower) August 22, 2017
“We need to focus most of our energies investing in improved sanitation, access to clean water, better hygiene, better nutrition and vector control such as eradicating mosquitoes plus immunization and vaccination. There we would save a lot of lives.”
So why is public debate in Uganda obsessed with cancer treatment when it is not among even the top ten killers of our people? The answer is simple: public (democratic) debate in Uganda is dominated by elites who cannot be killed by malaria but can be killed by cancer, he wondered.
Good msg unfortunately those pipo who have the mandate to fund health are of an old generation which doesnt even know montana
— Andrew Ssenyonga (@assenyonga) August 24, 2017
He said the noise they make on social and traditional media, in parliament and civil society forums is to make public policy towards health serve their interests at the expense of the interests of the poor whose children die in large numbers due to these simple diseases.
“This is not to say the poor don’t suffer from cancer but rather to acknowledge that cancer is not a leading killer in our country. Ours is democracy for the few educated and well off elites, not the poor majority.”