NYT Uganda coverage

Denise Grady explains how a woman who caught the Marburg virus in Uganda has become a medical celebrity. And Uganda tourism takes another blow. Damn.

“Michelle Barnes never imagined that her vacation to Uganda would make her a medical celebrity.

Ms. Barnes, 44, became ill in January 2008, a few days after returning home to Golden, Colo. At first, she seemed to have a typical case of traveler’s diarrhea, but she soon worsened. She broke out in a rash and developed abdominal pain, terrible fatigue, weakness and confusion. Blood tests found her white-cell count low and her liver and kidneys beginning to fail. She was hospitalized, still deteriorating. Her blood was taking too long to clot, and her pancreas and her muscles were inflamed…”

Not to mention, while demonstrating much concern for the doctors and staff in the US, there is zero discussion of the spread of the virus in Uganda from what I can tell.

Touching a raw nerve

In yesterday’s Sunday Monitor Angelo Izama wrote of widespread concern regarding the potential for electoral violence leading up to the 2011 Uganda national elections. He writes:

“In several interviews including with donor sources Sunday Monitor has confirmed that there are serious concerns about the militarisation of Ugandan society ahead of the next elections. In particular, are the military training course tailored for village level officials allied to the NRM and the issuing of military fatigues and guns to them.”

But exposing the campaign of militarisation of NRM supporters, or “election watchers”, clearly touched a raw nerve in Museveni who immediately phoned the Monitor protesting the article and spoke out publicly in Gulu, saying:

“These people of Monitor, I am going to deal with them if they don’t change their ways,” Mr Museveni later said yesterday afternoon in Gulu while officiating at the consecration of Rt. Rev. Johnson Gakumba as the seventh bishop of the Northern Uganda Anglican Diocese. “They want to scare away investors by such reporting,” Mr Museveni said.

Militarisation of the public + media crackdown = bumpy road ahead. Still, it’s not too late to prevent election violence. And it begins with exposing raw nerves.

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