As it happened: Museveni's address on COVID-19, security

Nov 29, 2020

In his latest address to the nation, President Yoweri Museveni castigates "impunity of lawlessness" by some actors in the country.


Live reporting by Joseph Kizza



And that is it!

President Museveni ends his address to the nation.



On the economy

Wrapping up his address by touching on the economy, President Museveni paints a picture of optimism for Uganda's economic outlook.

In fact, it is a reiteration of part of his Independence Day speech, where he talked of the resiliance of Uganda's economy.

"Uganda's economy has transformed to a level where the country wil be self-sufficient and achieve   sustainable economic growth and job creation," he said then.

"As a result of diversification of our economy and expanding our export base, our economy has been able to withstand the potential negative impact of COVID-19.  Our economy, last Financial Year, grew by 3.2 percent per annum, compared to negative growth rates in many other countries in Africa and around the world.   If COVID-19 had not  disrupted   our economic activities, our   economy would have achieved a growth rate of about 7% per annum last Financial Year."



On security personnel hitting back

On the direction of the President, footage is played showing security personnel shooting "as if at people" during the recent riots.

He says one incident happened in Nsangi, where a Police officer named Kidega was injured by rioters and that one of the white pickups seen in footage with personnel shooting "at rioters" was evacuating the injured officer.

The other incident apparently happened in Mukono on the junction with Kayunga, and Museveni says they are going to investigate what exactly happened.

The President says some rioters were seen destroying CCTV cameras. "We have cameras everywhere, but why would you want to destroy one?"



On stray bullets

Considering that some people lost their lives after being hit by stray bullets during the recent riots, President Museveni recommends that "the Police should audit the phenomenon of stray bullets".

He says in such a scenario, Police personnel deployed in a riot situation should first "fire in the air to warn off the rioters", because the reasoning is that once such bullets fired in the air land back earthwards, they would have lost their lethal power.

"Stray bullets only come in play when shooting at the attacker but then some bullets miss the attacker and catch some other people," he explains.



'Impunity of lawlessness'

The President talks of three separate incidents that happened on November 20, 21 and 23 that illustrate what he calls that impunity of lawlessnss.

He says it involved personnel of the counter-terrorism unit who had gone for patrol in the "so-called no go areas for law enforcement".

The first, he says, happened in Makerere Kivulu. "They were attacked by iron bar thugs. Two criminals were shot dead and the third succumbed to his injuries later".

In Katwe area, an attacker was shot dead after attacking the personnel.

In Nakivubo, "one thug threw stones at the security officers. He was shot dead."

Again alluding to the incident where a female police officer was attacked by a hammer-wielding man, President Museveni vows that "this will never happen again. Nobody will ever attack a person wearing the uniform of the NRM".

"You have no right to undress Ugandans, to stone Ugandans and to destroy property", adds Museveni.

Condoling the families of the victims of the "senseless riots", the President says "the Government will compensate all those who were not rioters but lost their lives and lost property if it can be verified".

Regarding the arrest of Kyagulanyi in Luuka, Museveni weighs in thus: "The Police should have warned the supporters and instead concentrated on Honourable Kyagulanyi".



'Impunity of lawlessness'

The President yet again preaches the gospel of social distance, especially during this heavily political season.

Being one of the 11 presidential candidates, Museveni, who is the NRM flagbearer, says he cannot stand through the sunroof of his car along the campaign trail. He castigates leaders who do so.

The President then talks about the recent riots that erupted in some parts of the country following the arrest of NUP flagbearer Robert Kyagulanyi.

He says some political actors, "acting with impunity" have been vowing to "render Ugandans ungovernable" and points out how some people, backed by foreign actors, attacked ordinary Ugandans, created illegal blockades in roads and vandalised many.

With footage of some of these activities of "impunity of lawlessness" shown playing on a screen, Museveni delivers some whiff of sarcasm, saying that is what some people term as democracy.

"That was democracy Opposition style in Kampala," he says.

As many as 54 people died in the chaos, with 32 being rioters - killed during confrontation with Police. says Museveni. "Some were hit by stray bullets while two victims were knocked by a vehicle after the driver was hit by a stone and lost control of the vehicle."

According to a report he received, the five people who died in Nansana were rioters who had attacked Police, adds the President.



Local coronavirus drug trials to begin on December 15

President Museveni says he has received "happy news" from the scientists.

He says, scientists have developed seven wonderful products, with six already under trial and the seventh already tested and been found effective.

"The first three [substances of the already used drug] are all anti-virals. Dozens of people have been healed by these substances," he says.

Patients, who will be confined in one place, will have these medicines tried on them starting December 15, adds Museveni, who says he will not provide details due to the probable presence of "spies".

"Within 40 days, I think from December 15, enough patients will have been tested to convince other people that the drug works. The first three substances deal with the virus. The fourth is a bronchial dilator - a drug that will keep your airways open biochemically without using a ventilator.

The President adds that the scientists have developed two diagnostic tests - one of them using saliva and can give results in half an hour (30 minutes).



Bailing out Ugandans

In his opening comments in his address tonight, President Museveni re-echoes the standard operating procedures that were instituted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including the wearing of masks, washing of hands with soap and water and observing social distance.

He underlines that if Ugandans are obedient to these measures, "we shall not share the losses other parts of the world experience".

Almost immediately, he strikes a note of optimism.

"The world is about to get out of this nightmare by getting a vaccine or a cure. In Uganda, we are working on getting both - especially the cure looks promising," adds Museveni.

"The NRM will work out a bail-out package for the categories that were affected business-wise most." These include those in the hospitality industry, street vendors, the people in the entertainment industry, etc.




President Yoweri Museveni is addressing the nation from the State Lodge in Mbale. This is in eastern Uganda.

Having last addressed the nation on September 29, he starts off by providing an update on Uganda's current COVID-19 situation. He goes on to reiterate his message on the preventive measures, saying that "even today, we should not relax".



Still waiting

I feel I should let you know that the much anticipated presidential address has yet to begin. Will definitely let you know when it gets under way.

So you can as well get that dinner - or evening tea for some - ready in the meantime.



Challenges in policing campaigns

Recently, Police spokesperson Fred Enanga addressed the media on the security situation in the country, highlighting the challenges the Police faced during the course of the previous week as regards policing the campaigns.

Here is part of what he said:

"We have candidates who up to now are not observing the campaign limit of 6pm because they are not planning their activities very well. Others are driving at a slow pace, causing build-up of traffic along major roads and highways to create an impression.

We have a challenge with a number of venues that are not harmonised. Sometimes, we face challenges of candidates diverting from the agreed routes with their campaign agents.

Then we have conflict over campaign activities like radio talk shows.

Despite these challenges, we are still steadfast and committe to ensuring the safety and security of all candidates, their agents and the wider public.

We have also sent our evidence-gathering teams to obtain videos of the conduct of respective candidates along these political campaigns that we shall get to bring up to the authorities at the Electoral Commission.

Therefore, we would like to urge all candidates balance their support for the political campaigns with warnings about the public health risks or public gatherings. The desire to go against the EC guidelines is high, but they have to work within those provisions and conduct safe campaigns.

The major reasons bringing conflict between candidates and the joint taskforce are: not following the scheduled campaign programme from EC, including time and venue; not following SOPs and protocols and not respecting time limits and the countrywide curfew."



Arrested for flouting electoral guidelines

The same day - November 18 - Police released another statement detailing the arrest of National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu while on the campaign trail in Luuka district.

"We would like to inform the public that the Joint Security Task Force in Busoga North, today arrested the NUP Presidential candidate, Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert, for his continued violations of the Electoral Commission and Ministry of Health guidelines, during the political campaigns. He was arrested together with Pastor Muwanguzi Andrew at around 11:30am, at the Ssaza Grounds, Luuka Town Council in Luuka District," read the statement.

"The two were actively involved in the massive mobilization of unauthorised assemblies and processions amidst the threat of COVID-19 in Uganda. The majority of the participants had no safeguards of facemasks, physical distancing and proper hygiene. They were immediately transferred to Nalufenya Police Station, where they were being interrogated on charges of negligent conduct likely to spread an infectious disease, obstruction, incitement to violence and holding unauthorized assemblies."

Two days later, Kyagulanyi, charged with doing an act likely to spread infectious diseases under Section 171 of the Penal Code Act, appeared before the Iganga Chief Magistrates Court, which granted him bail, allowing him to resume his campaigns.

Robert Kyagulanyi's arrest sparked off "incidents of violent demonstrations especially in the areas of Masaka, Jinja , Kampala city and its suburbs of Bwaise, Kyaliwajjala, Nabweru, Kalerwe, Nansana and Mukono", Police said in its statement.

Deaths and injuries were recorded during the clashes.



A political season

'Tis the season when Uganda's political temperature rises by several degrees. The political campaigns for presidential, parliamentary and local government positions are going on in earnest, with candidates trying to convince the electorate to vote them into various offices in the 2021 general elections.

A couple of days into the campaigns, Police came out to deliver an emphatic message to candidates and their respective camps on adherance to electoral guidelines, especially in the context of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the adoption of "a tougher approach to preserve the integrity of the electoral process" woven into the detailed statement.

"Although the guidelines issued by the Electoral Commission are clear, we continue to witness candidates and their agents holding unauthorized rallies, processions and assemblies," Police said in a November 18 statement by the Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola.

"Unlike the elections of  2016, this time we are faced with a pandemic that can only be controlled if we adhere to Ministry of Health guidelines, with regulated gatherings of not more than  200 people and the use of new media (online media), to help safeguard the health and safety of all Ugandans and visitors to the country," the statement added.

"While we understand the right to freedom of expression as a very important part of democracy, unauthorized assemblies are currently prohibited under the Electoral Commission and Ministry of Health guidelines. As a result, the safety and security of all candidates, their agents and the successful conduct of the political campaigns remains a top priority. Fortunately, all candidates are aware of these guidelines."

Here it is in full.



Uganda's latest COVID-19 report

Uganda has recorded 201 new cases of coronavirus, from 823 samples tested on Saturday, November 28, 2020, according to the health ministry. No new death was recorded. This means that Uganda's cumulative confirmed coronavirus cases stands at 20,145.

Here is a breakdown of the new cases, who included contacts and alerts:

Kampala (123), Wakiso (19), Kalungu (13), Masaka (10), Kasese (9), Soroti (5), Kiryandongo (4), Mukono (3), Kabarole (3), Kagadi (3), Iganga (2), Buikwe (1), Kaabong (1) and Kisoro (5).

Meanwhile, Uganda's cumulative number of deaths to-date is 201, with cumulative recoveries standing at 8,989 (including 45 new recoveries).

According to the health ministry, Uganda has tested a total of 623,977 samples for COVID-19 to-date.

The ministry is continuing to push the message of wearing a mask, washing hands and keeping a social distance to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.



'It is about our collective health and safety'

On October 11, President Yoweri Museveni apologised to NRM supporters who had stood by the roadside, wanting him to address them, as he returned from Wakiso district the day before.

He was from flagging off key value addition equipment, including maize mills, at Namalere Agricultural Referral Mechanization Centre in Wakiso.

Museveni said a large number of people, "our supporters", gathered along the road, wanting "me to stop and talk to them" in a video he posted on social media of him explaining why he could not do so then.

"First of all, I need to apologise to them to say I did not stop or get out of the car - even where I stopped, I did not get out of the car - because it is very dangerous with this virus, even for you. So, don't think that I ignored you - that I didn't want to greet you. I would have wanted to greet you but we cannot do that until we have solved the issue of the corona.

"Secondly, even for yourselves, it would be good - even if you want to stand and show support - you could do it in a distanced way. Tonsemberera. But when people are close together, some of them without masks, it is very dangerous and I would really appeal to you to remember that this problem [COVID-19 pandemic] is still there."

Here is the video:



Welcome everyone

Hello, glad you could join us here for today's live text commentary of President Yoweri Museveni's address this evening on matters of security and the coronavirus pandemic.

His address, which will be aired on all local TVs and radio stations, as well as online, is scheduled to start at 7pm Ugandan time.

For now, let's lay some foundation for the President's address with some bit of buildup, shall we?

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