Police Foils Demonstration Over Kilembe Mines Hospital, Arrest Mayor, Division Chairperson

Police have foiled a demonstration by residents of Bulembia division and surrounding places in Kasese Municipality. The residents rose up this morning protesting the decision by the Ministry of Health to withdraw the credit line for medical supplies to Kilembe Mines Hospital.  

However, the Police intercepted the residents as they planned to march from the hospital gate to the office of Kasese Chief Administrative Officer-CAO in Rukoki. They subsequently arrested the Kasese municipality mayor, Chance Kahindo, the Bulembia division LC III chairperson, Richard Bomera, and two other people. Police used tear gas to disperse residents who attempted to proceed with the planned demonstration.    

Julius Baguma Bwambale,  one of the residents said they wanted to get a detailed explanation on why the Ministry of Health took the decision to withdraw drugs from Kilembe mines hospital yet it’s the only large facility in the area serving over eight sub-counties. He added that the president pledged 2 billion Shillings for the reconstruction of the facility but they have never recieved any update on the whereabouts of this money.    

Joyce Maloba from road barrier cell criticizes the ministry of health for acting without coming to the ground to establish the health needs of the local community.  John Lihinda, the Bulembia Division LC III Vice Chairperson, said they have been frustrated by the RDC’s office whenever they go there to seek information regarding issues of Kilembe mines hospital and it’s a reason they wanted to engage the CAO. 

The Rwenzori East Regional Police Commander-RPC, Godfrey Achiria said, they had to intervene because the RDC and the area member of parliament had planned a meeting with the permanent secretary in the ministry of health and there was no justification for the residents to hold a demonstration. He also faulted the members for failing to write to the police about their planned demonstration.     

The Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Diana Atwine wrote to the Executive Director of Joint Medical Stores on December 2, 2022, asking for the deactivation of Kilembe Mines Hospital from the list of facilities that qualify for essential medicines and health supplies.

According to the communication, the hospital had failed to utilize funds for essential medicines and health supplies during the first quarter of the financial year 2022/23 covering the period between July and September 2022. 

The facility has been getting an annual allocation of about 354 million Shillings. The Ministry directed that the money should be reallocated to other facilities at HC III, HC IV, and hospital levels in both in Kasese district and Kasese municipality, a decision which has sparked angry reactions from different stakeholders.

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