The Leader of Opposition in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga has told the Minister of Information, Communication Technology and National Guidance Chris Baryomunsi that government will need a witch doctor to convince Ugandans that they need pickup trucks more than ambulances.
Mpuuga was responding to Baryomunsi’s statement that recently government decided to buy pickups instead of ambulances because the former are important for surveillance and monitoring in the current Covid-19 situation.
“I hear Mpuuga saying the public is not happy with government. Covid-19 was not brought by government. It is time we put our heads together to bring a solution,” Baryomunsi said.
“…. The pickups are important for surveillance and monitoring,” the minister added.
Baryomunsi made the claim while on NBS TV’s Frontline show on Thursday where he had appeared alongside with Mpuuga, Democratic Party president Norbert Mao and government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo.
In response, Mpuuga who is also the Nyendo Mukungwe legislator said Baryomunsi together with government will need the work of a witch doctor to convince people that indeed the pickups are needed more than ambulances in dealing with the pandemic.
“You will need a witch doctor to convince people that we need pickups more than ambulances. We are dealing with a virus and the government is working like a virus,”Mpuuga said.
Last week, the Ministry of Health displayed part of the 282 double Cabin pick-ups from Toyota bought using the Shs23bn donated last year by the public to help government fight the Covid-19.
However, the public was not happy with the ministry’s decision of purchasing pick-ups instead of ambulances that would transport patients.
On Wednesday during a Parliamentary plenary, Dokolo Woman Member of Parliament Cecilia Ogwal asked Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng to explain why the ministry decided to purchase pick-ups yet Parliament had instructed them to buy ambulances.
“Parliament took a decision that every district must first be given a priority.Therefore every district was supposed to get an ambulance from that appropriated money. Secondly, it was decided that even hard-to-reach areas will have to get ambulances to ease movements. We want to know whether the decision Parliament took is being implemented or not?” Ogwal asked.
In response, Dr. Aceng said that at first, that was also the ministry’s wish, however, President Yoweri Museveni ordered that the solicited money should be used to buy Pick-ups so that districts, Municipalities and Cities will be able to cunduct surveillance and also transport Covid-19 frontline workers.
She added that the audience was given to the national taskforce committee that received the money whose chairperson was Emmanuel Katongole and it was agreed upon that out of the Shs29bn which was collected, Shs23bn will be used to buy pick-ups. Dr. Aceng emphasized that her ministry took no decision but they just implemented what was agreed between the President and the committee.
“The money was banked and later alone taken to consolidated fund, the team members sat with the President and allocated Shs23bn towards the purchase of pick-ups. This was the vision of His Excellency to ensure that every district can comfortably carry out surveillance, transport samples and carry out other activities in the Covid response,” Dr Aceng said.
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