Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga has questioned the costs of COVID-19 tests at national events.
Mpuuga’s call came hours before the President’s State of the Nation Address at the Kololo Independence Grounds in the capital, Kampala on Wednesday. According to Mpuuga, President Yoweri Museveni continues to waste public resources on COVID tests whenever he meets people both at his home and in other parts of the country.
He is concerned that the State of the Nation Address is expected to attract at least 20,000 people including MPs, heads of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, security officers, and journalists among others, who were all subjected to ‘useless’ tests.
It is estimated that the State of the Nation Address event will cost at least three billion Shillings of taxpayers’ money, yet the Budget Speech, which is taking place a week later will cost the taxpayer another three billion Shillings in mandatory COVID-19 tests.
Mpuuga’s criticism is hinged on the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an end to COVID-19 as a global health emergency. He added that subjecting people to such tests is a human rights abuse amid the exorbitant cost of testing for COVID-19.
The Shadow Cabinet resolved that subjecting people to the costly COVID-19 tests for the sole purpose of meeting Museveni must stop, and accordingly, directed Members of the Opposition not to test for COVID-19 and to stay away from the State of the Nation Address and the Budget Speech.
In order to save taxpayers money in the wake of the biting economic hard times, the shadow cabinet proposed that Museveni and the first family should take COVID-19 booster doses to boost their immunity as recommended by the WHO to lessen their anxiety over the covid-19 threats to their lives.
The Shadow Cabinet also advised the President to increase the social distance he observes while meeting people in the country as recommended by WHO and make the decision to not meet people physically and instead use technology (zoom) as he did during the covid-19 pandemic.
In accordance with Article 101 (1) of the Constitution of Uganda, the Speaker of Parliament is mandated annually to invite the President to address Parliament on the socio-economic and political state of the nation.