BY NELLY OTTO
WHEN one of Germany’s most prominent pathologists and statesman Rudolf Virchow says “…medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale…”, little did he know that the message would inspire hundreds of thousands of health experts to dive into the political arena without fear or favor.
True to the statement, renowned Ugandan medical officer Dr Samuel Oledo Odongo now says he wants to contest as the ruling NRM’s First National Vice President for which automatically makes him a member of National Executive Council (NEC), the standing committee of the NRM Conference.
This bold move is going to be a litmus test for the ruling party which boasts of promoting democracy owing to the fact that the position has for decades been ring fenced for Al Hajji Moses Kigongo.
It’s also a loud and clear message from the zealous NRM young turks who feel they should be integrated into the party top slots to take up the leadership mantle from the elders.
“… medicine, as a social science, as the science of human beings, has the obligation to point out problems and attempt their theoretical solution: the politician, the practical anthropologist must find the means for their actual solutions…”Dr Oledo explains with apparent reference to Rudolf’s assertion.
Sounding a Pan Africanist, the 38 year old surgeon refers to himself as the voice of a generation and the hope of the continent of Africa who once elected will consolidate the attributes of the NRM cross generationally.
“…as a surgeon, it is imperative for me to identify the physiological and anatomical degeneration that humanity undergoes with advancement of age and have its predictions for individuals for the prolongation of life especially for our dear loved ones…”he justifies.
Asked for a comment over this article whether being partisan with an open lineage to NRM party will not affect his profession, Dr Oledo who is also a known fan of Manchester United FC in the European Premier League responded in the affirmative.
“… We all have parties we are affiliated to and my belonging to the NRM has never been under the mat, no, I have always treated my patients with integrity and respect without discrimination and segregation…”, he said.
As a surgeon, Dr Oledo who was the president Uganda Medical Association (UMA) vows to continue upholding the etiquette of service even in the responsibilities of his party as he serves humanity.
Information available indicates that it’s only Dr Oledo who has openly expressed interest to challenge the aging Kigongo who commands a lot of respect in Buganda and in other parts of the country.
Who is Dr Samuel Oledo Odongo?
Born at Nyakibale Hospital in the western Rukungiri district, Dr Oledo who hails from Alebtong district in Lango is currently a PhD fellow in medicine profession. Happily married with an unspecified number of children, Dr Oledo is a surgeon who obtained his first degree in medicine from Kampala International University (KIU) before going for a master’s degree in General Surgery from KIU while his master’s degree in Public Health was obtained from Kabale University.
Although he declined to comment on this, credible sources have intimated to us that Dr Oledo is son to a senior UPDF Brig Gen John Patrick Otong who at one time served in western Uganda, explaining the reason Dr Samuel Oledo was born in Rukungiri district.
His political appetite can be traced to some years up to the time when he expressed interest in the position of Regional Vice chairman in the last NRM primary elections but lost to the former Omoro County MP Jacob Oulanyah (RIP).
He also served as the chairperson Youth of his home place Aloi sub county in Alebtong district where his political and leadership rhythm germinated at quite a tender age.
Dr Samuel Oledo Odongo also served as President Uganda Medical Association (UMA) when both the mainstream and social media platforms almost got torn down where he became the subject of debates after leading a section of medical doctors clad in clinical coats to kneel down urging President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to contest for the 2026 presidential elections.
This action generated debates from a cross section of the medical fraternity and the general public who claimed it was against their ethical code of conduct for any of them to engage in partisan politics, while others argued it was just a gesture of respect.
As to whether the dynamic young specialist in general surgery will be allowed to challenge Hajji Kigongo whose historical contributions and connections are synonymous with the ruling NRM is something party leaders and members are waiting for.
What you need to know about NEC:
NEC consists of about 20 people including the National Chairman, First Vice chairperson, Second National Vice Chairperson (female0, and six vice chairpersons representing the regions of Uganda, namely East, Central, North, West, Kampala and Karamoja.
The regional offices are currently being occupied by the following top officials: Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga (second Vice chairperson female), Singh Katongole (Vice chairperson Kampala), Godfrey Ssuubi Kiwanda (Vice chairperson Buganda), Flt Capt Mike Mukula (Vice chairperson Eastern), Dr Chris Baryomunsi (Vice chairperson Western) and Simon Peter Aleper is for Karamoja while Northern Region position remains vacant following the death of Jacob Oulanyah.
The list also includes the secretary General, National Treasurer, NRM MPs, NRM Flag bearers and others, plus those eminent elders nominated by the Chairperson who attend as observers.
According to the NRM website, the functions of NEC is to initiate policy and other measures to be considered by the National Conference, dealing with policy matters on behalf of the National Conference, monitoring and evaluation of the party programme performance and to recommend to the National Conference persons competing for key party positions including the presidency.
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