Uganda Police on Wednesday deployed heavily at Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] offices in Najjanankumbi to block a donation exercise.
“Police and Uganda Blood Transfusion Services [UBTS] have blocked our blood donation exercise that was announced to take place on Valentine’s Day,” the party said in a social media statement.
It added: “It is very unfortunate that our blood donation drive can be blocked at a time when the national blood bank is empty.”
FDC started the drive to save lives of Ugandans after Members of Parliament tasked the Ministry of Health to urgently address the shortage of blood in the country.
The MPs cited an incident broadcast on television, in which a man was shown slitting the throat of a guinea pig and draining its blood.
He then mixed the blood with an unknown substance and gave a 4 year-old child to drink as a substitute for human blood.
Running under the hashtag #YouTooCan, FDC asked Ugandans to help save life following a similar successful drive by Kampala Capital City Authority [KCCA] in partnership with the Uganda Blood Transfusion Service.
Ronald Muhinda, an aide of Kizza Besigye, accuses police chief Kale Kayihura of conspiring with (UBTS) conspire to block the blood donation exercise.
“It’s not only that but Banyankole state operatives who have chosen to conspire to see vulnerable citizens die due to blood shortage,” Muhinda went a little sectarian.
He said in three separate meetings held between FDC youths and UBTS officials Mugisha William (Program officer) and Mukundane (PRO) at UBTS boardroom in Nakasero, there was consensus that UBTS will collect blood at FDC offices on 14/02/2018.
Mugisha and Mukundane confirmed they were reporting directly to UBTS Director Dorothy Byabazaire. “At every stage, there was a munyankole to make decision.”
They only asked FDC to provide lunch for UBTS staff, Public Address System and refreshments for blood donors. UBTS provided to FDC posters with a date on which they will collect blood, Muhinda explained.
On Wednesday, people assembled at FDC offices with red roses ready to donate blood but police had surrounded the area.
After waiting for hours, organisers started calling Blood Bank officials who kept saying they are coming until they didn’t show up.
“Officials at Blood Bank intimated that President Museveni through state House officials had issued orders that they will not entertain “that nonsense of FDC donating blood” to Uganda,” Muhinda narrated.
“An order was passed on to Kayihura who ordered for deployment. They don’t care whether there is blood or not in the country; they don’t care whether people die or not.”
He went on: “We are often told FDC is against Museveni but certainly FDC is not anti-Ugandans. No. FDC wishes to have One Uganda for One People. That is why I believe in it. I last donated blood in 1999 but an accident in 2000 forced me to make considerations about blood donation. FDC called me and I responded. I was willing to donate blood.”
But Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigire, denies the accusation saying police did not block anyone from donating blood.
Not the first time
Mulindwa Walid Lubega, the FDC National Youth League Vice Chairman, said a similar incident happened when Besigye organised walk-2-work protests.
Opposition invited the Nakasero Blood bank to come to a blood donation campaign and “those people said they had enough blood and they do not need more”.
“At that time I thought maybe it’s because of the venue chosen by the opposition at city square so I gave the organisation a benefit of the doubt but yesterday surely, why did they not come to Najjanankumbi to collect blood even when we agreed with them in the first place? The tragedy of our Heath sector is allowing the regime play dirty politics in even the lives of Ugandans,” Mulindwa said.
“We were shocked to hear from UBTS that they will not come to FDC offices to collect blood…that their coming to Najjanankumbi will be perceived “political” their last minute cancellation of our event angered us alot.”
He said UBTS has ever been to Plot 10 Kyadondo Road – NRM Secretariat to collect blood from NRM People.
“We wonder whether our blood is blue that it wouldn’t be of use to UBTS. Or when it is NRM its normal for them to donate, when it comes to FDC headquarters, it becomes political.”