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By Mulengera Reporters

There was extreme panic at the start of the Monday cabinet meeting in Entebbe after Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda communicated the anxiety the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic had caused to the President. “It’s something that has caused him great concern and let’s avoid coming near him or passing over to him any official letters or correspondences. Let me also be clear on this too. Today there will be nobody allowed to chase after him after cabinet,” announced Rugunda moments before a pensive-looking Museveni walked into the room. The practice has always been that after cabinet meeting, Ministers who have burning issues to confide into the President in confidence secure Rugunda’s permission to do so after the conclusion of the day’s Cabinet session. But for this Monday, Rugunda made it clear no such private moments would be accepted. He stressed this is part of the very elaborate precautionary personal measures the President had chosen to take to mitigate any COVID-19-related risk to his person. 

And on walking in, Museveni corroborated Rugunda’s concerns and read out two names of female Ministers he said he had personally rung pleading with them to stay way for their own safety, his and the rest of cabinet members. The two ill-fated cabinet Ministers are Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi (for Youths & Children Affairs) and Sarah Opendi (State for Mineral Devt). “I have intelligence that the boyfriend of Hon Sarah Opendi [Atkins Katushabe] returned from one of the high-risk countries and refused to be quarantined. That is why I have requested her to stay away from cabinet meetings.” Museveni then disclosed he had imposed similar restrictions on Nakiwala Kiyingi because her husband Deo Kiyingi (Bukomansimbi of DP) too had just returned from one of the high-risk countries and circumvented the quarantine.


Some of the latest from the ongoing session at Parliament

It was at that point that Molly Kamukama Nawe (Minister Economic Monitoring) volunteered information corroborating the big man’s concerns that COVID-19 was a very serious situation requiring everyone to realize it can’t be business as usual any more. Kamukama, the immediate former PPS to Museveni (and is facing Gen Geoffrey Muhesi’s wife for the Kazo woman MP Seat), disclosed that her children had just returned from Canada and because she couldn’t take chances, she had spent personal money to have them quarantined at Sudanese investor-owned Emin Pasha near Sam Kutesa’s home in Nakasero for the next 14 days as it has been required of everyone by workaholic Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng. A tearful Kamukama implored colleagues to have her in prayers as the family waits for the results. It was everybody’s wish that the results turn out negative. 


Quoting from what he said was his confidential intelligence brief, Museveni then unleash anger at three other elderly Ministers who he said would pay heavily should Coronavirus turn Uganda into Italy. He furiously said he has credible information that the three Ministers used their political might and forced the screening authorities in Entebbe to allow in their close family relatives who were returning from high-risk countries. That the Ministers ensured their relatives weren’t subjected to any testing on top of not being subjected to any quarantine. The three Ministers include two short bulky males from Western Uganda and one elderly female from Central region. Museveni read out their names and directed they shouldn’t come to cabinet anymore until they get comprehensive clearance from Jane Ruth Aceng’s teams whose original orders their relatives defied while entering into the country through Entebbe Airport.

 In the subsequent cabinet debate or discussion, Ministers directed a lot of fury at the three obstinate Ministers arguing that their indifference was the reason all the good progress Aceng and her patriotic teams had made, keeping Uganda safe, was now not going to amount to anything. The much-praised Aceng made matters even worse when she revealed that the indifference of some of these Ministers had instigated the hitherto very patriotic screening teams to also resort to soliciting and accepting gratifications and in the process 417 travelers from the high-risk countries were let into the country without being subjected to any quarantine. 

This corroborates the great story Sunday Vision published indicating the screening teams had been infiltrated by kawukumi and let whoever paid the $100 (barely Shs400,000) bribe into the country without the mandatory quarantining. Poor Aceng cannot readily account for these 417 returnees, a revelation that sparked extreme fears among Cabinet ministers during the Monday session. “We can’t assume being safe anymore and you should have been in that room to see the nervousness on the faces of majority ministers. The HE has called another cabinet meeting tomorrow [Wednesday] to discuss budget issues but I’m telling you majority of us are going to feign sickness because we can’t walk into that place to sit with colleagues whose family members only returned recently from high-risk countries and declined mandatory quarantining,” says one of the credible cabinet sources Mulengera News spoke to for this article.  “In all this we are unanimous that should any cabinet member ever test positive and succumbs to Coronavirus, those three colleagues whose relatives skipped mandatory quarantining will be the ones to blame.” There are also proposals that all the Ministers first undergo mandatory quarantine and testing before any subsequent cabinet sessions can be convened. It’s a proposal Museveni is unlikely to buy into fearing the extent to which such could escalate panic and nervousness in the population.

Some Ministers are saying time has come for all government business that Museveni wants them to execute in this Coronavirus era to be executed via skype, video and conference calling. That the government should provide the necessary facilitation for all the subsequent cabinet meetings to be conducted this way. “The truth is we can pretend to be okay but the truth is majority cabinet members are now very scared and the idea is to each be confined in their respective homes,” said a cabinet minister vowing to dodge all the subsequent cabinet meetings until the situation normalizes again. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at 












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