US ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac has called on government to protect the basic needs of the citizens.
She was addressing a packed house of students at Africana Hotel on democracy and governance last evening.
“We understand any governments need to provide security, but every government has responsibility to protect basic freedoms of citizens,” she told the students.
She said a country that does not respect the rights and freedoms of its own people can never be truly secure.
“We believe Ugandan people deserve to live in a country where every voice is heard and matters. That can only happen when citizens have say in how country governed, when government held accountable.”
Malac said US relationship with the government of Uganda must be based on shared respect for democratic values. “That is only way it can grow”.
She told the audience that US will not walk away from Ugandan people and will continue to work with youth to help them build country they want to see.
“A stronger democracy, and a government accountable to its people, will create an environment where all Ugandans can thrive.”
She told the youth that there are countless ways to make Uganda more democratic or prosperous, but must take responsibility to make things happen.
She urged youth to reject calls to violence, which has no place in a democratic society.
“Without democracy, we cannot have lasting economic prosperity and security, but democracy in Uganda does not have to look like democracy in US.”
“It is our hope Uganda will make right choices that guarantee democratic principles and freedoms not just exist, but flourish.”
On Tuesday, Malac met volunteers at Bulamu Health Camp in Buwambo which provides free health education, screening and treatment for preventable diseases.
She said US is proud to support initiatives like this that are vital to health of many Ugandans who can’t access health services.
“Uganda should address serious mismanagement and corruption in the health system in order to consolidate the strides made.”
In her statement on the World Health Day, Malac was concerned about shortages of vital life-saving medicines.
“These shortages, and the lapses in government put hundreds of thousands of Ugandan lives at unnecessary risk from preventable and treatable diseases,” she added.
She noted that through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, more than 466,000 men were circumcised for HIV prevention, 1.6 million pregnant women tested for HIV, and 742,000 HIV-positive Ugandans received lifelong antiretroviral therapy.