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Museveni Explains Plan to Import Cuban Doctors

Museveni: Why I Want to Import Cuban Doctors

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Uganda’s three-decade president Yoweri Museveni has spoken out a government plan to import Cuban doctors, accusing Ugandan medics of indiscipline, selfishness and unprofessional conduct.

On Tuesday, Museveni used the Labour Day Celebrations in Sembabule district, about 160km outside the capital Kampala, to explain government decision to hire Cuban doctors.

For a month now, the issue of importing Cuban doctors has constituted part of media debate since public service minister Muruli Mukasa revealed the government plan last month.

According to Mukasa, government would hire some 200 Cuban specialist doctors for deployment in regional referral hospitals. 


“I wanted to bring Cuban doctors because our own doctors behaved very badly and unprofessionally,” said Museveni.

“They tried to incite doctors to abandon patients, so that patients die.”

Museveni used also laughed at the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) for wanting “create a crisis” in the health sector in 2017.

“Fortunately, the doctors refused to abandon the patients, and I congratulate them.”

Museveni said “only the bad doctors boycotted their patients, thinking that they would create a crisis for Uganda but they failed”. 

Museveni described UMA’s plan to put down their tools as blackmail

“When we were under that blackmail, I said ‘No, I cannot be blackmailed’,” said Museveni.

“‘if necessary I will import doctors to bring discipline to this crooked behaviour of people who say they are doctors when they behave as if they are not doctors.”

Museveni also hinted on the attack on UMA leader Dr Ekwaro Obuku.

The president wondered why Obuku and UMA were pushing for a boycott yet they too needed health services.

“And then when they were involved in that ‘fujjo’ (chaos), one of them I think got involved in an accident, and he was rushed to a doctor to help him to recover,” recalled Museveni. 

“Now what would have happened if the doctors had not helped him?”

Museveni was not yet done with castigating doctors.

“They are selfish people,” he said. “We can not tolerate them.”


He dded that striking doctors were enemies of the people, vowing to deal with them the way he deals with enemies.

“A doctor who goes on strike is not a doctor; he is an enemy of our people and we shall treat him as such,” said Museveni.

“In fact I wanted to go back to the bush but I was restrained.”

Museveni reminded the doctors of the sacrifices the him and his army have made in the past. 

“We fought for no pay for many years and when we got victory, we were working for low pay,” said the president.

“These soldiers have been fighting and working for either no pay or low pay; why do they never go on strike?” 

“I am the president of Uganda but I get a low pay: Shs 3.6m. This I accepted in 1996 because the MPs tricked me. I was getting Shs150,000 before,” further explained the presidnt.

“Authority does not depend on salary; I have authority even with the low pay. Don’t bring those nonsensical arguments.”

Museveni’s government plans to pay Cuban doctors over Shs 5m, more than what the president earns.


National Organisation of Trade Unions chairman Usher Wilson Owere told Museveni to increase Ugandan doctors’ salaries instead of importing Cuban medics.

“Why don’t we pay that Shs 5m to Ugandan health workers?” asked Uhser Wilson Owere.

“These people in government are looking for kickbacks and not improving service delivery. “

Owere prayed that Museveni “won’t be misled” and called for the reprimanding of “stubborn specialists other than importing Cuban doctors”.

In response, Museveni said: “Owere is saying that I should stop making roads and give people salary, I am telling him that we don’t have that money yet.”

The president further spoke about government’s move to increase salaries of science doctors, an increment that will see them earn more than head teachers.

“We are not against paying the others but if we don’t have enough money now, should we say that we pay no body?” asked Museveni.

“Or if we have some money whom do we start with.”

He added: “We chose science people because it is very difficult to retain them.”

“The 40,000 people employed under public service are 1% of total Ugandan population that requires government support to ensure inclusive development through Commercial Agriculture, Services, ICT and Manufacturing (industries).” — Museveni.
Additional Reporting: Courtesy

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