Former Aruu County Member of Parliament Samuel Odonga-Otto has urged the 11th Parliament to begin considering enacting a law that regulates the declaration of sickness, health, and death of a sitting President.
Odonga-Otto claims that his proposal is necessitated following President Yoweri Museveni’s self-isolation at State House Nakasero after he tested positive for the pandemic Corona Virus Disease – COVID-19 last week on Wednesday 6th June 2023.
The four-time legislator drew his perspective from a report conducted by Dr. Jean-Benoît Falisse of the Centre of African Studies in the United Kingdom – UK that ‘between 6 February 2020 and 6 February 2021, COVID-19 claimed the lives of at least 24 national ministers and heads of state’.
The study shows that African leaders are at a comparatively very high risk of dying from Covid-19. 17 out of the 24 deaths are from the African continent, putting the COVID-19 death rate at 1.33% among national ministers and heads of state – seven times above estimates of the world’s average for a demographic profile of similar sex and age average for the same period.
The report also noted that the deaths have an important symbolic value and have been associated with shifts in COVID-19 policies in some countries, and are also likely to result in some reconfiguration of the political space.
Now, Odonga-Otto says Museveni may not have contracted COVID, quoting a tweet from a close member of the First Family that “our enemies tried to attack us, and God will not accept” which culminated in the ‘Get Well Soon’ campaign by the regime sympathizers.
According to Odonga-Otto, it’s a mystery for the first time in 38 years for the President to announce his sickness and thus isolated himself since 1986. In order to solve such a mystery, he called for an enactment of a law to safeguard the public interest and avoid the manipulation of information by selfish individuals within the corridor of power.
But on Sunday, the President took to his official Twitter handle @KagutaMuseveni and updated Ugandans on his Corona status after five days of being in isolation. “Last night, I slept very well up to the 10th hour of the night. This time, the dull headache was not there, nor was the mild throbbing on top of the head.” Museveni twitted.
In his tweet, the President explained that the soreness of muscles has now gone and some roughness in the throat, adding that a corona test was conducted on Sunday but the result was still positive and would wait a few more days to check again.
He rebuked individuals who always write negative information in the media with a proverb that cursing a buffalo does not break its leg neither does a kite get killed by the noises made by hens. n“The spokesmen of the parasites that are always writing negatively in the Monitor Newspaper can continue deceiving themselves but Uganda is moving!”
On Monday, National Resistance Movement – NRM party loyalists thronged the gate of State House Nakasero where they placed flowers, prayed, and signed on a banner displayed on the wall fence wishing President Museveni quick recovery.
Dr. Kenneth Omona, the Principal Private Secretary – PPS to the president while addressing the NRM supporters after being denied entrance to State House assured Ugandans that Museveni “is in good spirits and recovering steadily” from the Covid-19 illness.
Dr. Omona added that the President is feeling much better with the ability to update Ugandans about his health through his social media platforms.
Under the Constitution of Uganda, the president is the executive head of state. The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. In the event of a vacancy, the vice president serves as acting president.
Article 109 stipulates that if the President dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the Vice President shall assume the office of President until fresh elections are held. According to article 103(8), the (newly elected) elected President assumes office within six months after the President’s death, resignation, or removal.