The Leader of Opposition (LOP), Hon. Mathias Mpuuga, is secretly calling for a countrywide pre-medical intern protest over the government’s failure to deploy and remunerate their internship.
In a statement by Mpuuga, dated June 8, 2023, he urged the government to immediately find resources for the deployment of pre-medical interns without delay. The LOP also called for a press conference on June 16, 2023, in which one of the leaders of the medical interns, who declined to be quoted, revealed that Mpuuga called for violent protests countrywide.
According to the medical intern leader, Mpuuga said that the essence of the action is to stand in solidarity with pre-medical interns who have spent almost a full year idling and losing precious time since they cannot practice their professions without the mandatory requirement.
“We shall have a countrywide protest in solidarity with our brothers, sisters, and children who decided to take on a medical profession next week to remind the leadership of this country that their concerns need urgent answers,” Mpuuga announced to the interns in a secret meeting at the LOP board meeting.
This also comes during this financial year’s budget reading, in which the LOP says the budget does not cater to the current needs of these intern doctors. However, Hon. Min. Matia Kasaija, in reading the National Budget on 15th June, 2023, said that medical intern issues are being taken care of as government has provided Shs 22.6 billion for the remuneration of medical interns and senior house officers before the end of the financial year 2023.
Sources close to Mpuuga and the medical interns said they are being facilitated to strike countrywide regardless of the efforts being made by the government.
One of the medical interns who was present in the secret meeting with the LOP said that Mpuuga advised them to sell off medical equipment if the government did not pay them. This follows the scandal of the alleged missing CT scan machine, which was suspected to have been stolen from Mulago but later turned out to be misinformation from pro Mpuuga medical interns.
In a press release on June 9, 2023, by the Health Ministry’s PRO, Emmanuel Aineobyona, calling for applications from pre-medical interns who are willing to pay for their own internship to apply online, Mpuuga said such is discriminatory and a blatant violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and encouraged the interns to riot.
Gilbert Olanya, Kilak County Member of Parliament, also supported the call of the LOP, insisting that the government’s silence will demoralize the science students that the government has been advocating for.
He suggested that all members of parliament join the move to the ministry of health headquarters, where both Minister Ruth Aceng Acero, and Permanent Secretary Dr. Diana Atwine sit, for their concerns to be responded to.
However, despite medical interns being on strike for a long time, the government, through the ministry of health, has promised to settle all their grievances in the next financial year, and the permanent secretary of the ministry of health, Dr. Diana Atwine, said that medical interns should return to duty as the ministry waits for communication from the ministry of finance on the availability of funds.
Meanwhile, Mpuuga is continuously holding press conferences in his board room over his country-wide visits, which a section of people have identified as a strategy to use all methods to advance his presidential ambitions.