Uganda's NRM and FDC parties take bad blood to a new low

Wednesday March 14 2018

With shortage of blood in the national blood bank, the life giving liquid cannot be collected for fear of the donors’ colour preference and of course party affiliation. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGAH | NMG

With shortage of blood in the national blood bank, the life giving liquid cannot be collected for fear of the donors’ colour preference and of course party affiliation. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGAH | NMG 

By JOACHIM BUWEMBO
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The blood of most human beings is red (or crimson, depending on how much oxygen it contains). But many Ugandans now seem to think that their blood is either yellow or blue, depending on their political persuasion.

And it is not figurative speech like was the case around Independence when popular jokes had that Uganda People's Congress party members’ blood was red while that of Democratic Party members was green.

Today it is actual blood which we are talking about. There has in recent weeks been a shortage of blood for transfusion in hospitals because the national blood bank has run dry.

Unlike a currency bank that can keep cash deposits for months and years, blood at current technological capabilities cannot be kept for more than 30 days. So the blood bank must keep collecting blood from donors and pass it on to hospitals for use before it becomes unusable.

The national blood bank at Nakasero, in the heart of Kampala city, has been appealing for blood since the beginning of the year, citing different reasons for the shortfall being experienced ranging from high demand during the festive season which is associated with accidents, to low budget allocation. So the public got ready to donate blood.

The biggest opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change whose colour is blue, called people to its headquarters on Entebbe Road and invited the blood bank personnel to come and get blood from volunteers.

They obliged and set off from Nakasero to the FDC headquarters about 10 kilometres away, where a crowd of donors was gathered. Ten hours later, the blood collection team had not arrived.

It was claimed by FDC leaders that they had been stopped and diverted to the headquarters of the ruling National Resistance Movement on the same Nakasero Hill to collect blood from NRM supporters. Of course the NRM dismissed the FDC claims and the blood bank officials also gave some other reasons.

The NRM party colour is yellow. A couple of weeks later, a government department that had mobilised to hold a blood donation exercise at its offices called it off after learning that supporters of the opposition FDC party had plotted to turn up, of course dressed in their official party colour blue. So with shortage of blood in the national blood bank, the life giving liquid cannot be collected for fear of the donors’ colour preference and of course party affiliation.

In school, elementary biology students learning about species are given proof why all human beings are the same species. For example, different looking people like a South Sudanese man and a Korean woman can conceive and produce a healthy baby as easily as a man and woman from the same ethnicity in Uganda. But a goat and a dog cannot reproduce however closely they might resemble, because they are different species.

The basics of genetics were discovered by a priest called Gregor Mendel nearly two centuries ago, but Ugandans seem to be rewriting biology in the 21st century, to show that blood from an FDC supporter if transfused into a NRM supporter would cause shock, followed by a comma and eventually death.

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