Full Text: UPC’s Akena issues statement, Make 2023 more prosperous

Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) President Jimmy Akena who also doubles as Lira Municipality MP has today in a presser issued a statement regarding the festival seasons. #WhisperEyeNews

Uganda will join the rest of the world in celebrating Christmas and New Year days that are celebrated worldwide among Christian faith countries.

The year, 2022 is coming to an end and the festivities for Christmas and New Year are upon us. UPC joins the country and the rest of the world in celebration the first since the return to near normalcy but arriving on the back of the COVID driven economic contraction and heavily impacted by current high global commodity prices and inflationary pressures, “a statement from Akena first-reads

Full Statement

As a Party, we acknowledge that any meaningful celebration should take stock of the achievement and shortfalls made in the country with a focus on the betterment of the future.

At a Party level, a lot of ground has been covered in the development of Strategic plans; reviewing and updating Party Charters; and the formulation of Party policies. We have developed the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan; updated the Youth League Charter and Women League Charter; produced the Youth League Strategic Plan; Human Resource and Administrative Manual; Financial and Accounting Policy; Code of Conduct; the Rules and Procedures of the Disciplinary Committee; a Gender Policy; and a Policy Against Sexual Harassment as well as working on other documents which will be tabled for approval by the National Council and followed by implementation by the various Party structures.

The Party has also embarked on country-wide consultations spearheaded by the Vice President Mutenderwa Fahad Kinyiri focusing on strategic meetings with sub regional and district leaders ahead of the implementation of the Strategic Plan after its adoption by the National Council. This will help in providing a cohesive direction by taking cognisance of the leaders’ views such that they can be included during the implementation. So far, the following sub regions have been covered; Busoga, Bukedi, Bugisu, Sebei, Greater Mukono, Greater Kampala, Greater Luwero, and Greater Masaka. I applaud and thank my Vice President and his team for this great work which is still ongoing.

Throughout this past period, the Party has sought to improve the quality of leadership and expertise on national matters amongst its leaders, youth, women, and membership and therefore to this end participated in a number of workshops, conferences and seminars geared towards qualitative improvement. A better future lies in having competent leaders and knowledgeable cadres. We greatly appreciate the support of our development partners who have and continue to make it possible creating such opportunities for our members.

Uganda and the rest of the world are yet to recover fully from the effects of Covid-19 lockdown effects. Apart from the fatal deaths registered, the admission cost for Covid-19 patients proved to be very expensive and the acute shortage of oxygen made matters much worse! Some people had to sell off their properties to meet hospital bills while others are still heavily indebted. UPC noted with serious concern that our health system lacked the necessary facilities to save the lives, right from the lack of sufficient ICU/HDU beds to the means of moving patients within the hospitals where even elevators were at times non-functional, lack of oxygen gas cylinders and protective gears among others. This calls for building of more HDU/ICU capacity, research centres, training of more medical workers and putting in place all the medical in-puts needed. This goes hand in hand with making priorities right and budget allocation.
UPC notes that much more needs to be done to help spur the much needed economic recovery and growth.

Uganda has yet again witnessed an outbreak of Ebola in the country, the containment of which had Mubende and Kassanda Districts to be placed under lockdown. Appreciation goes to those who led the fight against this disease but unfortunately, we lost some lives and witnessed others fully recovered. The information relating to the Ebola outbreak should have been better managed as it had a devastating impact on the rapidly recovering tourism sector.

UPC would want to see a permanent multi-sectoral National Task Force which can help a country to have preparedness in case of such abrupt outbreaks and mitigate on other adverse consequences. We need to borrow a leaf from Cuba that has even a team of volunteers to rescue those who are affected across the globe. Despite the severe economic restrictions, Cuba has had a preparedness and personnel readily available, something which should be looked at by the Government strategically.
UPC welcomes the lifting of the travel ban on Kassanda and Mubende districts, and encourages the public not to lower the guard. Let vigilance continue and follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as we hold our festive season activities.

The recent attacks on Police stations and the deliberate targeting of security personnel is something that cannot bring comfort to the citizens of Uganda.
The reaction of merging Police posts, to reduce vulnerabilities, may significantly reduce the loss of firearms but leaves the citizens at a loss when they themselves will need a rapid response from the Police when attacked by criminals! Furthermore, the concerted attacks on electricity transmission lines are of great concern to the UPC. More so when it is noted that the electricity pylons are key long lasting infrastructure and that these are being erected using borrowed funds which will be repaid by the Ugandan taxpayer. Ultimately these alarming trends will need concerted efforts for the Police and Security personnel to be regarded and accepted as in place to protect the lives and property of the citizen (not just the Government in place) and that we all have a stake in the Public infrastructure. Increasing access electricity may mitigate the lesser damage to the pylons caused by scrap metal foragers.

Throughout the year, a number of Party members have been bed ridden with various ailments, some have made recoveries, and others have regrettably succumbed to death! As the country was laying Supreme Court Justice Opio Aweri’s body to its final resting place, a Party Mobiliser and an ardent sportsman Thomas Wilkinson Okae died during a motocross competition at Akii Bua Stadium in Lira on Friday 16th December 2022. Earlier on, the former Party National Treasurer (1980 – 2005) and Minister for Rehabilitation in UPC II Government of 1980 – 85 Hon. Patrick Masette Kuuya occurred on the 22nd of November 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Party collaborated with the family to give him (Masette) a befitting final send-off. As for Wilkinson Okae, will be buried on Thursday 22nd December 2022. On behalf of the Party and my own behalf, I convey our heartfelt condolences and sympathise with all the respective families affected. I also wish a quick recovery to those who are still sick.

In the same spirit, the Party condoles with the family of Hon. Patrick Okabe the Member of Parliament for Serere County who died in a road accident with his wife on Monday morning, 19th December 2022, and to the family of Mr. Moses Olemukan the LC V Chairperson for Bukedea District who succumbed to Cancer at Mulago Cancer Institute on Saturday 17th December 2022 and all those who lost their loved ones in deferent circumstances throughout the year.
May God rest the souls of the deceased in eternal peace!
I wish you a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year 2023.
For God and My Country
J. Akena MP

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