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Lukyamuzi could be an enemy of Ugandans

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th July 2006 03:00 AM

KEN Lukyamuzi has taken his anti-DDT campaign further, this time round calling on his supporters to cut anybody who comes knocking at their doors with the insecticide meant to control mosquitoes.

Fiona Kobusingye

KEN Lukyamuzi has taken his anti-DDT campaign further, this time round calling on his supporters to cut anybody who comes knocking at their doors with the insecticide meant to control mosquitoes.

This self-proclaimed environmentalist seems not to know the toll malaria takes daily in Uganda. Malaria kills 320 Ugandans per day, and places a huge burden on the country. When Sir Winston Churchill visited Uganda, before malaria became a problem, he called it the “Pearl of Africa”. Malaria has devastated its potential. We, the people of Uganda, who have lost our loved ones to this deadly disease, and who continue to suffer its wrath, find it hard to see why people like Lukyamuzi and his financiers deny us this affordable, effective pesticide. How can a reasonable man deny our people the opportunity to rid themselves of this disease? How could he deny children their lives?

Lukyamuzi, among others, claims that DDT is deeply harmful even in small quantities. This is contradicted by our research. DDT has not proven harmful to humans, especially when compared with other pesticides. It can be applied directly to clothes and used in soap, with no significant ill effects. In fact, DDT has been administered orally as a treatment for barbiturate poisoning.

How, then, can Lukyamuzi claim that DDT kills? If DDT kills, as Lukyamuzi wants us to believe, then the people of South Africa who recently used DDT as an indoor residual spray are in serious peril. But news from South Africa tells us the opposite: no health problems have been reported, and malaria cases have been slashed by 75%.

Malaria causes untold numbers of deaths each year, irrecoverable losses of human resources. Lukyamuzi allows vague environmental concerns to eclipse, in his mind, the immense toll of human suffering malaria takes. DDT prevents malaria, affordably and effectively. Without it, the destitute populace of Uganda must continue to scramble for ineffective medicines they cannot afford.

Recently, on national radio, Lukyamuzi called for attacks on DDT advocates, users and government-deployed sprayers with pangas. While advocates of DDT fight to save lives, Lukyamuzi calls for their violent deaths. With this statement, and with his opposition of DDT, Lukyamuzi has declared himself an enemy of Ugandans; he threatens those who exercise their rights to free speech, who try to save their children with the best available means. This is a criminal act, one that cannot be ignored.

The writer is the Coordinator of CORE-Uganda

Lukyamuzi could be an enemy of Ugandans

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