The new Prime Minister of Uganda Robinah Nabbanja has made her first public appearance at Kalerwe market where she officiated at the distribution of mosquito nets to vendors who sleep in the markets.
Nabbanja’s interaction with vendors was filled with laughter as she made requests and then amended them to orders upon ‘remembering’ that she is now a Prime Minister. “I am requesting… No. I was told now I can make orders, I am ordering you” said Nabbanja while directing the Executive director of Kampala Capital City Authority Dorothy Kisaka to construct a better market at Kalerwe.
Nabbanja says she worked in the informal sector as a market vendor for long and wants to uplift lives of such workers.
Kalerwe is where Nabbanja has been buying food stuffs for years, she told the people.
To demonstrate that, she invited one of the vendors identified as Nalongo to whom she is a longtime customer.
She gave her the first mosquito net and donated one million Shillings to her and another one million Shillings to another vendor who was chosen randomly to receive the second mosquito net.
Nabbanja, the former State Minister of Health also used the event to talk about her new role and her style of leadership. First, she told vendors that she is a common person and that has not changed with her new appointment.
She said after her appointment, some people asked her to reallocate to Kololo which is known as a high class residential area but she declined insisting on staying in Kawempe division. Infact, she said she had already ordered the construction of a road at Makerere Kavule where she stays so that people there can enjoy being Ugandan.
“You know now I am the one who gives orders, I have already ordered that that road be constructed, they will start work next week,” she said amidst cheers from the audience.
Nabbanja told vendors that she won’t be an office leader. She says her week will be divided between desk and field days. She says she will directly get involved in delivering services to the people to avoid cases of money swindling.
Nabbanja says a number of market women can develop with a little financial assistance but money allocated to them by government has often been mismanaged.
At the event, one of the vendors asked Nabbanja to send the monetary relief as promised by government. When the president instituted the 42 days lockdown, he ordered the office of the Prime Minister to identify vulnerable Ugandans and extend to them social relief.
Last year when government instituted the lockdown, they distributed food to the needy. Nabbanja says they would rather give people money to buy what they want after all the process of government purchasing food is more expensive.
She says cabinet will sit on Monday to agree on the budget for the relief fund and also the means of distribution.
Nabbanja says distributing money shall solve challenges registered in 2020 where people complained of being given rotten food and distributors selling the food among others.
For people without phones, she says experts are exploring options including using vouchers that can be cashed at the bank or mobile money shops.
She says this method gives people a chance to buy the food they desire not that dictated by government.
Nabbanja also thanked vendors for abiding by the presidential directive to vendors to sleep in markets and asked them to continue observing standard operating procedures.
She told them how the government is aware of the effects of the lockdown to the economy but that it is better to make economic losses than lose life.
She says government has done a good job sensitizing people about COVID-19 and put the ball in hands of Ugandans.
She praised President Museveni for the good leadership through the pandemic and laughed at those who despised government.
A total of 620 mosquito nets were given to the vendors.
Nabbanja says government shall issue nets to vendors who are sleeping in the markets across the country.