On March 23, 2020 President Yoweri Museveni embarked on a task to personally teach Ugandans the basics of how to avoid contracting the novel Corona virus. By then, the global pandemic which to-date is killing thousands around the world, had reached its peak in the developed countries.
The President announced a response plan for the country to ensure that the spread of the virus was contained in Uganda. Ugandans listened to the President as he announced a nationwide lockdown, asking the people to adopt a war-like approach.
“We don’t want to make your life difficult, but this is a matter of life and death. We are not talking about convenience, we are talking about survival,” Museveni told Ugandans, adding that he was confident the country would win the war against the virus.
By winning the trust of the citizens, who believed this approach would save their lives, President Museveni has to-date done what many countries across the globe have failed to do. In fact, Uganda was ranked among the top five countries that have contained to virus in the world. Mr Museveni fetches his wisdom in dealing with scenarios such as a fast-spreading global virus from his experience dating back to the early 80s when he had just become president of the country.
Fresh from liberating Uganda from a dictatorship, in the early 1990s, President Museveni adopted a similar military approach to stemming the spread of HIV, which was hitting very hard on Ugandans. He became the first African President to openly speak out and adopt measures to stop the spread. Ugandans lived in fear, witnessing thousands drop dead from a disease that had baffled scientists.
Graves littered across the country and young children were left orphans, many aged as young as five, having to deal fend for their siblings. It was the openness and military approach adopted by President Museveni that brought hope to the people. The country began to deal with stigma, many came out to test and change behavior, while those already infected took on treatment.
Years before 1986, Ugandans were in a state of hopelessness. Thousands of people had been killed by dictatorial leaders, the country’s economy was in shambles with inflation hitting the roof.
The firmness of the president, who had just liberated the country from the hands of dictators, restored confidence while creating a sense of security among Ugandans. Since 2009, Ugandans in the North, especially Gulu have had total peace after more than 20 years of war reigned on them by the Joseph Kony-led Lords Resistance Army which sent more than two million people into camps, more than 60,000 children were abducted and turned into child soldiers and sex slaves.
It was the decisive action of President Museveni, who commanded his army in several operations that sent the rebel outfit into hiding in Central African Republic. Today, Gulu and indeed the entire northern Uganda is booming as a business hub. While there was skeptics about whether the war had been completely dealt with, today Ugandans in the north live in total peace.
Kony was not the only rebel outfit, others like Alice Lakwena’s Holy Spirit Movement, Jamil Mukulu’s Allied Democratice Forces, among others have all been decisively dealt with and Ugandans have for more than two decades experienced total peace.
Since the coming to power of President Museveni’s government, Uganda has not experienced any external invasions despite having trouble with countries such as Sudan, led by Omar al-Bashir, who sponsored rebel activity as well as terrorist action in the country. Save for the twin bombings in Kyadondo and Kabalagala in 2010, Mr Museveni’s decisiveness has kept the country safe from terror attacks that continue to keep the world on tenterhooks.