Doctors who knelt before president committed no crime

For many years, the opposition has harassed and exerted pressure on anybody who comes up openly to support President Museveni and the party in power.
It actually takes confidence and courage for someone to express their support for the NRM these days. Whereas the constitution gives every citizen a right to belong to any political formation of their choice, the opposition thinks it’s criminal for anybody to belong to NRM.
This is why the doctors who knelt before the president requesting him to run again in 2026 are being trolled on different social media platforms. I’m even told their leader was forced to step aside. I don’t know for what reason because I haven’t read through his resignation letter. Those criticizing him and throwing insults at him should have first tried to find out if there’s any law that he breached both in the constitution and in the standing orders that govern public servants. 

In Uganda, we have medical doctors, who have joined politics and openly opposed President Museveni and the NRM government,  some of them have contested on the tickets of different opposition political parties and won the elections, and they’re serving as members of parliament.
I have never heard the Uganda Medical Association requesting them to apologize but rather they praise them. Kneeling is a cultural norm of showing respect to someone older or any person you hold in high esteem. 
What crime did the doctors commit for them to be harassed to extent of forcing their leader to resign? This kind of biased politicking should stop. We should allow Ugandans to express themselves irrespective of the profession they belong to. I think that’s what democracy and human rights are all about.
It is in President Museveni’s era that scientists have been recognized and considered as priority. This has actually brought disagreements between the scientists and the artists. The president has been very consistent in supporting the scientists to be innovative and also supporting our health system.
Recently while addressing the teachers, the president made it clear that he was not going to accept any kind of intimidation, he also said that he was not going to listen to anybody who has no respect for prioritisation. Also, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the president followed all the guidance from the ministry of Health and that is why we were able to fight Covid-19 as a country.
Even now when we are struggling with the Ebola virus, the president is so much relying on the advice and guidance of medical practitioners. He would have chosen to use his military skills and ignore all this advice. He would have chosen to lead the country the way he thinks is right without the guidance of anybody and I’m sure this would make the work of the medical practitioners very difficult, if not impossible.
So why shouldn’t the doctors kneel before the president in gratitude? Why shouldn’t they beg him to run again as the president if he has promised to have their remuneration raised and has fulfilled it? How come we no longer have the sit-down strikes of doctors? How come the scientists are paid better than the artists and yet the president is an artist?
He would have chosen to ignore the scientists! Such a person deserves appreciation. Asking him to run again is also in order because we can’t be sure of who is coming to replace him, what if that person changes all the policies that have been put in place by the heroic president who has shown tremendous support for the medical doctors of Uganda.
It was actually a culture for most of the doctors to run to the neighbouring countries for work where they said they would get enough pay, now they’re working from Uganda.
It is true that in some areas, the working conditions are bad and even what to use in the health facilities isn’t available but we’ve come from a worse situation. It is also a fact that we can’t fulfil or accomplish all our needs at once. Obviously, as a developing country, we have challenges of funds.
There are some other crucial things that need attention, like, for instance, the stability of the country, whatever we are proud of and wherever we are arguing about wouldn’t be possible if the country was having security challenges, nobody would ask for a pay rise in a country where the war is taking place.
The writer is a deputy RDC Sheema district

Source: The Observer

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