President Museveni made the long-awaited pronouncement while addressing the nation at State House Nakasero on Sunday night. The head of state also ruled out another lockdown saying that those who behave recklessly, will “reap” what they would have “sowed”. He also asked Ugandan entrepreneurs: Stop crying over spilt milk, look for how to survive in the new atmosphere
Read his statement below
By President Yoweri Museveni
In the Book of Galatians Chapter 6:7-8, it says that whatever a man sows, that is what he will.
The exact quotation goes as follows: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to the ﬂesh will of the ﬂesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life”.
Similarly, in this case by sowing negligence and disobedience, we are now harvesting more sickness and even more deaths; yet God had shielded us from the deaths until the 21st of July, 2020.
Today, the total sickness with Covid-19, the positive cases, are now 6,287, those who have recovered are 2,616; and those who have died are now 63.
Nevertheless, we cannot reverse the relaxation measures themselves; but we should put emphasis on the observance of the respective SOPs, activity by activity.
The increasing number of the people dying from the corona, should, by now, have convinced the skeptical, that this is no joke. Our sensitization should now shift to the individual to look after his/her health.
Given this avoidability vis a vis the virus, provided the SOPs are strictly followed at the group and personal levels, the virus could and can be contained.
Therefore, my job today is to, again, emphasize the two tasks: for group behavior and for individual behavior.
With this emphasis, it is now time to, further, relax the restrictions as follows:
We have decided to re-open schools for the candidate classes of P-7, S-4, S-6, ﬁnalists in tertiary colleges and ﬁnalists in Universities. Each group of ﬁnalists will have bigger space for socialdistancing – whether they are in day schools or boarding schools. If they follow the SOPs, they will be safe.
Moreover, the cost of waiting any further, is quite high. Why? It is because of the jam that will be created in terms of the usual transition from the Primary School, Lower Secondary schools, Higher Secondary Schools, tertiary colleges and Universities, respectively.
If the batch of 2020 do not move on, what will happen to the batch of 2021? Can we afford to have two batches in 2021? The answer is a clear: “no”. Fortunately, it can be done safely if people follow the SOPs. A solution for the non ﬁnalist learners will be found by January 2021.
We are aware of the dilemma of the Private Schools that were operating on money from Banks etc.
We shall continue to study and see how the Government can affordably, further, support these Ugandans – the teachers. The schools will now open in the limited way pointed out above. If for some reasons, there are private schools that cannot re-open on account of the obvious disruption of the business of the Private Schools, the Ministry of Education is already directed to expand the number of secondary schools.
The Government already has 1,267 Secondary Schools and we are planning to build 374 new ones. I direct the Ministry of Education to study the number of community schools that the Government can take over in the areas that do not have Government Secondary Schools.
If the worst came to the worst, the Government should have the capacity to absorb into Government schools all the learners and even teachers that are shed off by Private Schools on account of the ﬁnancial difﬁculties facing private schools, precipitated by the Covid-19 crisis.
The Minister of Finance should also meet the owners of the Private Schools and see how the Government could come to their aid. The Government should not only think of rescuing the learners and the teachers and remain oblivious of the plight of those Ugandan entrepreneurs that invested in private schools
Airport and Land borders now open for tourists
The International Airport and Land borders will now be opened for tourists, coming in and going out, provided they tested negative 72 hours before arrival in Uganda and provided the tour operators ensure that the tourists do not mix with the Ugandans. How will this be done? The tourists will be driven straight from the Airport to their destinations or to designated transit hotels that are set aside for that purpose. Business delegations should also be handled in the same way by the Local Partners.
Restrictions on movements on border districts are hereby lifted.
Curfew, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., will be maintained; but for the boda bodas, their movements must always end at 6 p.m.
Places of worship, should open
The places of worship, should open with the following precautions:
Individual prayers or confessions with priests or counseling with the necessary SOPs.
Prayers and fellowships whose numbers do not exceed 70 and by observing all the other SOPs.
Night prayers and transnights are not allowed. The regular large gatherings of prayers and preachings of Sundays and Fridays will be considered at a later stage, depending on how the disease will be evolving; but the rule of the number of 70 and not more can be used on the Fridays and Sundays.
There should be no Sunday school for children.
Open air activities of sports will re-open provided there are no spectators and the players are tested for Covid-19, 72 hours before. This test will expire in 14 days.
Hence, the Sportsmen will have to repeat the test.
Casinos, gaming centres and cinemas remain closed. Why? It is because those activities are in enclosed spaces and are not compatible with social distancing.
Bars, night clubs
Bars shall remain closed. Why? It is because bars, apart from many of them being in enclosed spaces, which phenomenon favours the rapid spread of the virus, are not known for sobriety and lack of sobriety is not compatible with health safety through the observance of the health SOPs.
We cannot and should not remain in lockdown indeﬁnitely. Why? It is because the economy must grow; otherwise, bigger problems may show up. Besides, in many cases, lockdown is not necessary. Why not? It is because we have already shown you how to be safe.
Therefore, those who behave recklessly, will “reap” what they would have “sowed”. We would, therefore, like to appeal to everybody, to be your own health worker.
Again, I totally reject the logic of those that complain about the effects of lockdown as if it is the Government that caused the virus.
Look at the picture of the Air-crafts that are parked with no business. [Photo by Bloomberg]
Somebody told me that the shops that used to sell textiles in the USA and much of the West, have gone bankrupt. Clothes are now sold on line – through the internet.
This is the way to go, Ugandan entrepreneurs. Stop crying over spilt milk. Look for how to survive in the new atmosphere of tonsemberera (social-distancing). Business People in Uganda need to be very cautious.
Let us take Public transporters. If it turns out that People are being infected because of crowding in the Public transport vehicles, that will be the end of that business whether Government lifts restrictions on Public transport or not.
People will simply not come. That will be the end of that business. The time of self-deception is over.
Let us be serious
Our Scientists are also working on the 3 lines of: our own diagnostics; our own vaccines; and our own therapeutics. Stay tuned, there may be pleasant news in the coming months. We have given all the necessary funding.
Editor’s note: A heavily edited speech by president Museveni. Read full statement here