KAMPALA – The People Power Movement has announced a halt to all their political activities in the face of the coronavirus epidemic and tasked government to institute necessary economic measures to help the ordinary Ugandans survive through the situation.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, People Power Movement leader Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, said the suspension of their activities is in solidarity with the country and the rest of the world in the battle the deadly Coronavirus disease.
“All People Power Movement activities have been halted for the time being. Our offices are closed to the general public. We shall however continue to use the available online platforms to communicate with the people of Uganda. We pay tribute to healthcare professionals in Uganda and around the world who are doing their best under strenuous circumstances to carry out tests, help the sick and ensure that the disease does not spread further,” Mr Kyagulanyi said.
Nevertheless, he proposed that Ugandans should stop paying fees to be quarantined.
“The conditions in isolation centers must also be improved. We call upon the people of Uganda to adhere to the restrictions put in place by the Ministry of Health as long as they are applied fairly and uniformly,” he said
Bobi Wine also said the National Water & Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) should in the meantime stop disconnecting people from water supply on account of failure or delay to pay dues.
“In order to enable our people avoid cash transactions which aid in the transmission of #COVID19, government should scrap taxes on mobile money transactions so as to encourage the use of cashless transactions. The government of Uganda should also scrap the daily tax on the Internet in order to facilitate exchange of information, enable citizens receive updates from the Ministry of Health and WHO, etc. People should be encouraged to interact more online as opposed to meeting physically.”
Bobi Wine also said government should negotiate with commercial banks so as to initiate loan concessions “for individuals as well as small and medium enterprises, as is being done in other countries.”
“We propose that a four month loan repayment holiday is initiated so as to ease the burden on individual debtors as well as small businesses in Uganda. In that period, interests on loans should also be suspended,” he said.
He also asked Government to suspend taxes on essential commodities such as food and healthcare essentials including soap, toilet paper, sanitizers, etc, to enable the common people afford them even in these critical times.
“The Ministry of Trade and Industry should discuss with traders to ensure that prices of essential commodities do not continue skyrocketing,” Bobi Wine said.
He said Government should ensure that individuals, companies, NGOs, and other private entities do not terminate employment of workers as a result of the effects of COVID19. While fully aware that employers are also being adversely affected, government should consider tax breaks, interest free loans or grants to enable employers pay salaries, Bobi Wine said.
He said Government should begin stocking relief items at district level, especially food and medicine to ensure that if the disease spreads further, there are enough supplies for vulnerable communities.
The move comes after eight (8) new cases were confirmed by the Ministry of Health, bringing the total to nine (9).
“We continue to appeal to the People of Uganda to do everything possible to stop the spread of the virus. We must all follow the advice of medical experts. Washing hands regularly, social distancing, keeping in our homes if possible, as well as reporting any suspected cases to the Ministry of Health are some of the key steps we must take now. Call 0800-100-066 or 0800-203-033 to report suspected cases. We have also been advised to adopt healthy lifestyle options including eating healthy food, drinking lots of water and exercising,” Bobi Wine said.