The Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje, has criticised government's decision to give the Shs100,000 Covid-19 relief cash to vulnerable Ugandans to survive in the 42-day lockdown that was imposed to curb the rising infections and deaths.
The Mufti, in his Idd ul-Aduha message at Old Kampala Mosque, reasoned that the cash relief that targeted 501,107 of vulnerable people in 42 cities and municipalities had a very minimal impact.
"We thank the government for putting up measures to assist the vulnerable by giving them cash this time. But the cash has not impacted our needy people on the ground. It is our desire that this is reversed; let's take food door-to-door to the vulnerable as army and police did in the first lockdown," Sheikh Mubajje said.
He added: "The impact was there when people got food and nobody denied that they didn't receive the assistance. But this time, only a few people admit to have received the cash. We appeal to the government to deploy UPDF and police to distribute food door to door and also allow the other private companies who wish to feed the vulnerable do so."
Last year, when government imposed the first lockdown, the Office of the Prime Minister with support from security agencies distributed food relief (posh, beans and powered milk for expectant mothers) door to door, mainly in the Kampala Metropolitan area.
This approach, according to Sheikh Mubajje, was more effective compared to the current method of disbursing the Shs100,000 cash.
The relief cash approach, championed by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, has been severally criticised across different sectors of the population.
On Sunday, government through the ICT and National Guidance minister, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, revealed that security had embarked on verification of the 170,000 Covid-19 cash beneficiaries who had not yet received their share.
At Kibuli in Kampala, the titular head of the Muslim community, Prince Kassim Nakibinge, advised state agencies charged with land administration to use dialogue in resolving the pronounced evictions and other related land problems, instead of amending the land law.
"These are issues we can solve on a round table. They don't need new legislation because whatever issues we are having, it has to do with people who are using force to force people off land," Prince Nakibinge said.
His remarks come barely two months after President Museveni during the celebrations to mark the National Heroes Day, renewed his fight against Mailo land tenure system.
Prince Nakibenge reasoned that government has to instead focus on addressing individuals that forcefully evict people off their land as opposed to faulting the Mailo as the major cause of the land problem in the country, especially in the central region.
"To say that Mailo [land system] is the problem is to miss the picture because even those who have freehold also force people off these lands. To say that these people got free land, I think is none issue," he said.
Prince Nakibinge also urged the security to be humane and allow politicians and other kind-hearted Ugandans to donate food stuffs to vulnerable hungry Ugandans instead of clobbering them.
"People are hungry and desperate but there are also some good Ugandans who are extending a hand of charity. They should not stop them, just sit with them and guide them on how they should be able to distribute these items," he said.
He added: "They should not also be high-handed when they are implementing these guidelines. We are all human and there is a lot of suffering."
Eid al-Adha is an annual celebration by Muslims as they remember the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as act of obedience to Allah's command. The celebrations are mainly characterised by the slaughtering of animals such as goats, cows, and sheep.
The Acholi Muslim Kadhi, Sheikh Musa Khalil, used yesterday's Idd cerebrations to urge the faithful to pray for Prof Patrick Ogwang and Dr Alice Lamwaka for their unwavering efforts to find remedies for treatment of the deadly Covid-19 virus.
More than a month ago, Prof Ogwang and a team of scientists from Mbarara University created Covidex, a herbal drug being used as supportive treatment for Covid-19. Likewise, a team of scientists from Gulu University led by Dr Lamwaka discovered Covilyce-1, a herbal drug said to be a supportive drug for treatment of Covid-19.
In his sermon on a local radio in Gulu City on Tuesday morning, Sheikh Khalil asked that the two scientists deserved to be prayed for due to their discoveries that will go a long way in saving people's lives.
Ntungamo District Kadhi Sheikh Swaleh Kashangirwe, in his Idd message, called for inclusive discipline in observation of prevention measures against Covid-19 if the pandemic is to end.
In Fort Portal City and Kabarole District, he faithful complied with Covid-19 prevention measures and had their Idd prayers in their homes, and all mosques remained closed.
Hajj Bashir Kayondo, the information and communication coordinator for Bunyoro and Tooro Muslim regions, said they followed the presidential directives on Covid-19 not to allow Muslims to conduct prayers in the mosques.
In a related development, Muslims from Tooro and Rwenzori regions were blessed with 200 head of cattle donated to them by Turkiye Diyanet Foundation which they slaughtered at Kigarama, in Kiko Town Council, Kabarole District.
In Kamuli District, the municipality mayor, Mr Aziz Luwano, used the days leading up to Idd celebrations to to rid the town of garbage that had become a health risk.
"Islam requires that we live in a clean environment and my campaign promise was to work on garbage. The remaining challenge is for you residents to maintain it through proper disposal and management," Mr Luwano said.
In the same vein, Kamuli District Woman MP Baroda Kayanga Watongola used the celebrations to call upon her electorate to strictly observe Covid-19 SOPs before warning that health is all about everybody's collective responsibility and vigilance.
In Jinja, the 3rd Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Lukia Nakadama Naisanga, who led the slaughtering of more than 5,000 cows at Jinja City Abattoir, cautioned the public to always observe Covid-19 measures if they are to stay alive.
The cows were donated by the Turkish community, who have made it an annual practice. Also, Nile Humanitarians Development Agency in Jinja donated 300 cows for the celebrations.
Low sales at abattoir
Meanwhile, traders operating from Lufula City Abattoir in Kampala decried making financial losses due to the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown that saw a few head of cattle slaughtered.
By midday, beef at the biggest city abattoir was finished.
In an interview with Daily Monitor, Ms Jesca Nakalema, the chairperson of female traders at the abattoir, said last year, they slaughtered more than1,000 cattle as opposed to the 500 for yesterday.
"We used to sell a kilo of beef at Shs10,000 but due to its scarcity this time, we were forced to sell it at between Shs12,000 and Shs13,000," Ms Nakalema said.
Compiled by Arthur Arnold Wadero, Damali Mukhaye, Alex Pithua, Perez Rumanzi, Isaac Otwii, Alex Ashaba, Stephen Otage, Moses Ndhaye, Sam Caleb Opio, Benson Tumusiime, Joseph Kiggundu & Denis Edema