By Rhoda Kalema
I am full of shock and great agony after reading the report in the New Vision of September 7: “Ministry of Heath gives MPs 24,000 free condoms... The condoms were delivered to Parliament by the Health State Minister, Sarah Opendi…. Received by the Committee’s Health and HIV/AIDS Chairperson Sarah Kayagi and Dr. Kenneth Omona…” The report explains clearly …. “She urged them to use the condoms faithfully…”
Indeed last week, I watched on one of the TV stations minister Opendi delivering and defending the condoms, and I asked myself, “Do we really have a Parliament with worthy men and women while many of them are parents? And in addition we are informed there is so much they get free like the sh103m (2012) motor vehicles. Yet the citizens know well of the MPs constant absenteeism in the House while they sign as present. Can the current Parliament, where so much of the country‘s resources are spent, take care of our mother-land?”
The Parliament we have, constituted by the 1995 Constitution came at a great cost and after serious considerations after 25years of an absent parliament in Uganda. The parliament was meant to rebuild the country afresh on an even stronger foundation.
My point is: While there is so much loud outcry about bad morals, especially, murders, drug abuse, defilement and rape and HIV/AIDS prevalence, in addition to ‘sick health’ and ‘sick education’ services, all over the country, we are told “it is all due to lack of money to equip the institutions and to pay health workers and teachers, of all cadres, a living wage.” How then could a minister of health offer ‘free condoms to MPs,’ of all essential needs? You would think the issue is about stationery or any crucially needed item for MPs to aid them carryout their Parliamentary national duty. Yet they are also due to obtain, or have already obtained free Ipads, so we read in the media.
Why this information is very sad and absurd.
Condoms should be a private affair for married people.
The engagement by the Government in this exercise sends a message of free license to absolute promiscuity, to the country, worse still to the young people and students in their early lives and thus, consequently it is bound to create frustrated lives for them in the near and far future. And here I thank Deputy Speaker Olanyah who, in the New Vision of September 10, stressed “self-control, zero-grazing as the only strategy to reduce the spread of HIV. Let him continue to do and say what is right. Indeed the Governments and all relevant agencies are fighting a losing battle by propagating for condoms. Rather it is discipline, sports, positive recreation, which are some of the answers to the problem, but, of course encouraged by personal spiritual standards.
But then, granted that MOH wish to fight HIV/AIDS, now if one public servant who earns over sh20m from the Government, needs an offer of ‘free condoms’ from MOH, who should not need it? Besides, “MPs should be in Parliament for what they can give and not what they can get” (Gordon Brown to Labour Party Conference 2009).
I call upon everyone who wishes good for Uganda to condemn minister Opendi and all MPs on this issue. Further also the message of ‘empowering girls’, now so common on TVs and all media, is very misleading and destructive. May I quote Zig Ziglar: “Our children (youth) are our hope for the future, but we are their only hope for the present and their future.” Please take in another quote for the sake of our country’s survival: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” Edward Burke (1729-1797).
Lastly, my free offer to you Madam Opendi and the Uganda MPs is a Bible text from Apostle Paul’s Letter in Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, honourable,… just,…pure,…lovely…, and of good report, if there be any excellence and praise, think about these things. And the Parliament of Uganda will make laws that will build this country.
The writer is former NRCM/MP1989-1996