Uganda Peoples Congress

UPC External Bureau Victoria, British Columbia

AIDS in Uganda

Kicking dust into the faces of the suffering

07 February 2006

Exploitation of people at a disadvantage is a heinous crime. We say this because we feel that the monetary aid (grants) being given to Uganda is not reaching the majority of AIDS sufferers. We also feel that the numbers of people being infected is being manipulated to present a picture of a success story, when in fact the reality might be different.

In spite of the dire warnings of the dangers of AIDS, the younger population of Ugandans have become even more inventive in diversifying their sexual practices. Today there are more men and women demanding or administering oral sex than there were 15 years ago. Not only that, young girls have become more aggressive than the boys in terms of seeking various pleasures.

A young girl who sees a boy she likes will take any opportunity, when it is availed, to fall down on her knees, unzip a boy's pants and go after the crown jewels - orally, without hesitation. On the contrary, twenty years ago, a man needed crow-bars to get to the pearl in the oyster shell. The boys are not innocent either. They too are chasing around, and according to one youth, having sex with a condom is like eating ripe bananas with the skin on.

These emerging trends show that the priority on continuing aggressive education is not over. In fact some of us believe the rate of infection is still on increase. Therefore, UPC should never let-up on the struggle to defeat AIDS. The real numbers will only be known when liars are eliminated from positions of influence.

The UN lobby to make retroviral drugs available to poorer people (headed by Dr. Steven Lewis) is working in terms of facilitating and funding availability of drugs. However, the stories on the ground are different.

Even in fairly well-established cities such as Kampala, donors have built drop-in clinics for patients to come to receive the drugs, but the clinics are not resourced! Some of them lack adequate staff to administer drugs and follow-up to ensure that the recipients are actually taking the drugs as prescribed. The drugs have to be consumed at regular intervals. Failure to do so may results in the viruses and bacteria building tolerance to the drugs thus defeating the purpose of their use.

Given the rate of unemployment in Uganda, it is difficult to believe that established clinics would be under-staffed. Some of the work involved, i.e., to check on the patients to see if they are taking the drugs regularly, does not require specialised training or technical knowledge. The grant money to facilitate the work is definitely coming in. The NGOs are building the clinics. The government is given grant money to run them. So where is the money going?

Before AIDS devastated Uganda, the population in the country was growing at the rate of 3% per year. This means that the Population of Uganda in 1979, which was 14 million would have doubled in 24 years (or by 2003). The formula for computing this is to divide the number 72 by the rate of population increase (3&percent;).

If we assume that 2 million people have died pre-maturely, between 1979 and 2003 due to AIDS and wars, this would have reduced the projected population of 28 million in 2003, by 2 million bringing the total population to 26 million. If we also assume that the pandemic actual slowed the population growth down from 3% growth rate to 2%, the 1979 population would double in 2015! This means that Uganda's population today is around 24 to 25 million people. In view of the well-know infection rate and devastation caused by the disease, it is difficult to justify the astronomical population growth.

Why would a government want to inflate the population? The Answer is election fraud of course! In this case the fraud is so massive; a correct census would be able to prove it. There are possibly 3 to 4 million ghost voters in the system. This is one of many reasons why the NRM is reluctant to relinquish power. A through census would prove it and the culprits would be accountable.

The lack of service at the clinics and the inflation of the census values for personal gain all add up to diabolical exploitation of disadvantaged people. This is not acceptable in modern society, and should be checked by all people who claim to be civilised.

The UPC should watch the polling stations carefully. The newly invented stations will just add to the problem. It will be impossible to catch the 3 to 4 million ghosts if ballot boxes are moved from the polling stations. Please don't let the ballot boxes out of your sight! Any ballots coming from mysterious boxes should be declared invalid.

Peace to the suffering Ugandans. Long live Mama Miria Obote. Long live UPC