During the just concluded COVID-19 national address, His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni called upon all of us to stand up and take up personal responsibility in the fight against COVID-19.
The President’s call comes at a time when Uganda has transitioned into a phase of widespread community infections.
This phase means that the virus is spreading widely and almost impossible to trace the source of new infections.
As a country, we take pride in the leadership of our country, the Ministry of health and the National Task force that have done a good job in delaying the onset of this phase.
Many countries in the region and elsewhere quickly transitioned into this phase immediately after the first cases were detected.
However, for Uganda, we have had almost 7 months of strong preventive and awareness measures.
After the first case in March, the country acted quickly and implemented a number of serious measures such as the lockdown that have enabled us to buy time as we prepare for the more dangerous phase.
I therefore want to assure all Ugandans that our country has done all the right things when it comes to managing the epidemic.
Now that Uganda has entered this critical phase, the Ministry of health is preparing to announce a series of measures that the country will follow in order to keep safe.
As we wait for guidance from Ministry of Health, I want to call upon everyone to take seriously, what we have learnt on preventing the virus.
Your goal should be avoiding getting the virus because it is going to be impossible to have everyone tested or even treated.
You the individual and community at large have the power to control the spread of the virus.
With all the awareness and hard work that has been done since March, we all have to put into practice what we have been taught.
Everyone must know that the facemask is a good way of preventing the disease.
Please ensure that you have your facemask on all the time whenever you are in a group of people; this could be at home or in public.
Washing of hands with soap and using any other approved sanitiser should be observed all the time.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as per the guidance by his Excellency during the routine briefings.
During this critical stage, I want to call upon everyone to take seriously the issue of compliance to the standard operating procedures.
The stage has also coincided with the opening up of schools and churches and the elections.
However, despite all the risks associated with the above, government decided that another lockdown was not the right way to go.
All the guidance by scientists indicates that the right thing to do now is to focus on individual protection.
I therefore want to call upon all of us to play our part in ensuring that we bring down the new infections.
I call upon everyone to take a personal decision today and ensure that you will not be among those who are going to catch the virus.
This can easily be achieved by following all the guidelines that are in place now.
Let us all enforce the guidance on churches, the guidance on schools, public transport and all those other sectors that are operational.
I would like thank those religious leaders and individuals who have adhered to the directive of 70 people.
I know some are saying that this number is so little but I believe it can be reviewed with time if we all demonstrate compliance.
Regarding the resumption of schools especially the candidate classes, I call upon everyone to support our children to ensure that they are able to resume properly come October 15th.
Government will be giving ongoing guidance to schools on what they need to do to keep our children safe.
In a special way, I want to call upon all those continuing students in other classes to take home schooling seriously.
Remember there will be no dead year so come October 15th, all students including those at home will embark on their second term until December.
Third term will be January to April and then children will be assessed and promoted.
Let us therefore take seriously the revised education calendar and work towards ensuring that our children remain safe while learning until the end of the term.
I also want to remind the country that activities relating to the national elections are continuing. Nomination for chairpersons, councilors at different local government positions started last week and will end on 1st October.
There have also been some concerns regarding the age limit for chairpersons at some levels such as Municipal City division, Sub County levels and towns.
Whereas the 2017 constitutional amendment removed the age limit for the President and District chairpersons, it did not apply to other offices.
However, Parliament together with other legislative bodies have started a discussion to see how to harmonise this matter.
For now let us continue operating within the law that puts a minimum age limit of 30 years and a maximum of 75 years for chairpersons at sub county and municipal levels.
The Electoral Commission will also be giving more guidance on this matter.
Finally, on behalf of government, I want to send our condolences to the family of the Late Al Hajj Nasser Ntege Ssebagala.
We shall always remember his contribution to the country in all the different capacities he served as Mayor of Kampala and within the Moslem fraternity.
Let us everyone play their part in bringing down infections.
For God and My Country
Hon Judith Nabakooba (MP)
Min for ICT and National Guidance