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Public reacts to senior doctor 'begging' Museveni to return for seventh term

A video surfaced showing a group of doctors, led by Uganda Medical Association President Dr. Samuel Odongo Oledo, kneeling down before President Yoweri Museveni. Dr. Odongo invited his colleagues to kneel, thanking the President for his leadership and pleading with him to run for a seventh term. It has stirred up a storm in a section of the public and on social media.

Public reacts to senior doctor 'begging' Museveni to return for seventh term

The spectacle occured on Saturday, during the Patriotism For Youth and Investment Symposium, at Kololo Independence Grounds. In a speech, on behalf of his colleagues, Odongo said that Museveni has transformed the health sector and welfare of medical workers. After which he asked the group to join him on the ground to express their gratitude.

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”We have upgraded regional referrals hospitals. General hospitals are being upgraded to the standard of regional referral hospitals. Our people can receive services in their specific areas. Your Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, you have been the engine behind the improved welfare of health workers. Right now, the least paid health worker earns Shs.1.4 million from UGX 600,000,” he said.

According Luboyera Charles Grace, the act was a betrayal and the ease with which the doctor cast away the dignity of his profession was shocking.

"Seeing someone I have interated with and held them with value as a senior in profession joining a meal card assembly is hurting. People are not what we think they are."

However, some were not shocked by Odongo's actions citing that for him, the line between his political aspirations and his profession is blurred. Odongo has been criticised for allegedly ambushing his colleagues into kneeling down due to his influence with them, for selfish reasons.

An activist, Wafula Oguttu, denounced the allegedly deteriorating professionalism in the country for financial benefits.

One Akenda Joshua sided with the doctors saying that the unemployment in the country, even after completing school, would drive anyone to put aside their pride.

Another person tweeted saying that the doctors have sealed their fate in the eyes of the public. That in the past, they had gained public sympathy in their protests for financial support and increased payment. However, they will not be getting this treatment after the display.

The Uganda Medical Association rushed to defend the gesture saying that Odongo acted autonomously.

”Uganda Medical Association has always engaged with the President Kaguta Museveni through formal, professional ways including appreciating him through our Annual Awards. The act of kneeling by Dr. Oledo and the team doesn’t represent Modus Operandi of the Association.” UMA said on Twitter.

In 2014, the Future Privatisation Minister Evelyn Anite, knelt at National Leadership Institute (NALI) asking President Museveni to run in 2016. However, Museveni has wondered at the custom of kneeling before elders and influential people. He said that he would not engage in the act.

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